Thursday, November 5, 2020

Democrats Suddenly Have Path to Win Control of the Senate

..and that path runs through Georgia.

Before the election, the Republicans had control of the U.S. Senate 53-47.   Democrats knocked off incumbent Republicans Martha McSally in Georgia and Cory Gardner in Colorado, but Republicans picked up a seat when it defeated Alabama Senator Doug Jones. 

As things stand, Republicans have a two vote edge in the Senate, 50-48. 

On Election night, it looked like Democrats were going to lose Gary' Peters Senate seat in Michigan and Republican Senator David Perdue would be re-elected with well over 50% of the vote.  Georgia law mandates a run-off election if a candidate does not receive a majority of the vote.  A third party candidate was seen as possibly taking away enough of a share of the vote to deprive the leading candidate the magic 50%.

Minority Leader? Mitch McConnell

Since election night, Peters has since moved into the lead and been declared the winner.  Meanwhile Perdue's plurality share of the vote has continued to sink.  With vote from the Atlanta suburbs now being counted, it appears it will fall below 50%, sending the race to a January 5th run-off between Perdue and his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff.   Meanwhile, the other Georgia Senate seat will also be decided in a run-off, that one featuring Republican Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rafael Warnock, who bested Loeffler in the state's "jungle" primary.  Both Loeffler and Warnock were well below 50%.

So the two incumbent Republican Senators from Georgia, Perdue and Loeffler, could lose their seats in Georgia's run-off election.  If that happens the Senate is tied 50-50 with the tie-breaking vote being whomever is elected Vice-President of the United States, which increasingly is looking like Democrat Kamala Harris. That would mean Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In short, following the Georgia special elections there coudl be a 50-50 Democratic majority (with VP Kamala Harris breaking the tie) or a 51-49 or 52-48 Republican Majority.

However, Donald Trump wins the Presidency, then there would be no path for a Democratic majority, as Vice President Pence would break any tie in the Senate.

Since Georgia is about a 50-50 state, as proven by the 2020 election, it is not clear whether two Democrats would win the state, the two Republican incumbents, the two Democratic challengers, or whether it is a split result.  Here's the possible partisan breakdown of the Senate, pending the Georgia special election results:

OOP's short takes:

  • The stock market appears to be loving the idea of a President Biden restrained by a Congress which has a strong Republican presence, if not outright control of the Senate.  It is up signficantly since the election.
  • Indiana was called for President Trump ahead of Kentucky.  Now, with 99% of the vote in, Trump is shown as winning Indiana by 16.7 points  With 98% of the vote in, Trump is shown as winning Kentucky by 26.9 points.
  • On Election night, Democrats, especially in Congress, were seen as having terribly underperformed.  That assessment has somewhat been tempered some by the count of mail-in ballots which have favored Democrats
  • In the 5th Congressional District, Victoria Spartz was seen as having won a dominating victory.  Now with more vote counted (up to 99%), she won the formerly heavily Republican district with only 50.1% of the vote.  (A Libertarian candidate won 4% of the vote in the district.)  It is pretty clear that the 5th Congressional District will be one of the top targets for Democrats in 2022.


Unknown said...

Reapportionment will change the 5th. My guess is that it will become more favorable to a Republican in 2022

Paul K. Ogden said...

UK, thanks for reminding me of this. You, of course, are right. The Rs will no doubt add in a bunch of Republican area to shore up the numbers. I could see them moving the 7th district to encompass the northern part of Marion County, currently in the 5th, instead of the southern and then replacing the lost Marion County area of the 5th with more rural and Republican area.