Democrats Could Retake The Senate. Just Follow The Money Five Republican Senate incumbents are looking increasingly vulnerable, while fundraising reports provide glimpses of Democratic strength.
NPR logo A Senate Takeover Is Very Much A Possibility For Democrats. Just Follow The Money

A Senate Takeover Is Very Much A Possibility For Democrats. Just Follow The Money

Republican Sen. Martha McSally, seen here in 2019, is losing the money race to her challenger in Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Martha McSally, seen here in 2019, is losing the money race to her challenger in Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Updated 11:52 a.m. ET

To take control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats need to net three seats in November if former Vice President Joe Biden wins, and four if President Trump is reelected.

That once looked like a near impossibility, but it's becoming a real possibility.

Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate, with the Democrats' side including two independents who caucus with them.

Five Republican incumbents are looking increasingly vulnerable, with their races labeled as "toss ups" by the Cook Political Report. Meanwhile one Democrat, Doug Jones of Alabama, is seen as being in real jeopardy.

Those five Republicans are Arizona's Martha McSally, Colorado's Cory Gardner, Maine's Susan Collins, Montana's Steve Daines and North Carolina's Thom Tillis.

Fundraising reports from the Federal Election Commission provide glimpses of Democratic strength. In Arizona, for instance, challenger Mark Kelly has so far outraised the Republican incumbent McSally by some $12 million.

In all, there are 11 states that Cook labels as toss-ups or that "lean" toward one party or another. Republicans hold fundraising advantages in six of those states, but in several of those races, the Democrat's latest FEC report is a bit outdated, likely underselling the candidate's money raised. For example, challenger Cal Cunningham in North Carolina announced last week that he raised about $7 million in the second quarter.

So keep that in mind as you look at the how the money race stands in each of those 11 contests:

Democratic Targets:

Arizona (McSally incumbent, toss-up)
- Kelly, D: $31.3 million raised, $19.7 million cash on hand
- McSally, R : $19 million raised, $10.3 million cash on hand

Colorado (Gardner incumbent, toss-up)
- Gardner, R: $15.7 million raised, $9.3 million cash on hand
- John Hickenlooper, D: $12.6 million raised, $5.9 million cash on hand

Maine (Collins incumbent, toss-up)
- Sara Gideon, D: $23 million raised, $5.5 million cash on hand
- Collins, R: $16.3 million raised, $5 million cash on hand

Note: Gideon is the favorite to win Maine's Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Montana (Daines incumbent, toss-up)
- Daines, R: $9.4 million raised, $5.8 million cash on hand
- Steve Bullock, D: $5.9 million raised, $4.1 million cash on hand

Note: Bullock's fundraising report only goes through May 13, while Daines' goes through June 17.

North Carolina (Tillis incumbent, toss-up)
- Tillis, R: $11.7 million raised, $6.5 million cash on hand
- Cunningham, D: $7.7 million raised, $3 million cash on hand

Note: Cunningham's fundraising report only goes through March 31, while Tillis' goes through June 9.

Georgia (Perdue incumbent, lean R)
- David Perdue, R: $13.2 million raised, $9.4 million cash on hand
- Jon Ossoff, D: $4.1 million raised, $1 million cash on hand

Note: Ossoff's fundraising report only goes through May 20, while Perdue's goes through June 20.

Georgia (Loeffler incumbent, lean R)
- Kelly Loeffler, R: $11.7 million raised, $6.1 million cash on hand
- Doug Collins, R: $2.5 million raised, $2.2 million cash on hand
- Raphael Warnock, D: $1.5 million raised, $1.2 million cash on hand

Note: The election in November is a special election and would go to a runoff if no one gets more than 50%. These three candidates led a recent poll of the race.

Iowa (Ernst incumbent, lean R)
- Joni Ernst, R: $12.3 million raised, $7 million cash on hand
- Theresa Greenfield, D: $7.1 million raised, $4.7 million cash on hand

Note: Greenfield's fundraising report only goes through May 13, while Ernst's goes through June 30.

Kansas (open seat with Sen. Pat Roberts retiring, lean R)
- Barbara Bollier*, D: $7 million raised, $4 million cash on hand
- Bob Hamilton, R: $2.2 million raised, $2.2 million cash on hand
- Roger Marshall, R: $2.1 million raised, $1.9 million cash on hand
- Kris Kobach, R: $595,000 raised, $317,000 cash on hand

Note: The state primaries are Aug. 4; *Bollier's numbers were released by the campaign, but not yet officially posted to the FEC.


Republican Targets:

Alabama (Jones incumbent, lean R)
- Doug Jones, D: $11.8 million raised, $8.3 million cash on hand
- Tommy Tuberville, R: $4 million raised, $448,000 cash on hand
- Jeff Sessions, R: $2.2 million raised, $500,000 cash on hand

Note: The Republican runoff election is Tuesday. Jones' fundraising report only goes through March 31.

Michigan (Peters incumbent, lean D)
- Gary Peters, D: $15.8 million raised, $8.8 million cash on hand
- John James, R: $13.1 million raised, $8.6 million cash on hand


4 things to watch this week:

The marquee race is the Alabama Republican Senate runoff, which pits former Sen. Jeff Sessions (seen here) against former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. Vasha Hunt/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Vasha Hunt/AP

The marquee race is the Alabama Republican Senate runoff, which pits former Sen. Jeff Sessions (seen here) against former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Vasha Hunt/AP

1. Alabama Senate matchup to be decided: There are elections in Alabama, Maine and Texas on Tuesday. The marquee race is the Alabama Republican Senate runoff, which pits former Sen. Jeff Sessions against former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. Back in March, Tuberville took the top spot in the GOP primary with 33% of the vote to Sessions' 32%. To win the nomination, a candidate needs more than 50% of the vote. Now, with it a two-man race, Tuberville is seen as the favorite.

Sessions has asked for debates, which Tuberville hasn't agreed to. And despite Sessions being the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump, Trump backed Tuberville and tweeted against Sessions. "Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down," Trump tweeted. All because Sessions recused himself from the Mueller investigation as Trump's attorney general.

2. Coronavirus cases continue to jump...: More than 135,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, and more than 3 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus. And Sunday brought more bad news for Florida, which reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases — the largest single-day increase of any state since the start of the pandemic. And nearly half of Florida's intensive care units are reportedly at least 90% full. Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed last week that Florida's curve was "flatter" than other places, making the virus hang around longer.

3. ...And Trump is passing the buck: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says he hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus in two months and the last time he saw him in the White House was June 2. And yet Trump now is trying to lay blame on him. "Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes," Trump said on Fox News. No matter who the president tries to pass the buck to, Americans are not approving of how he has handled the pandemic. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found just 33% approved of his handling of it, while 67% disapprove. That's a record low, something reflected in an average of the polls as well.

4. Trump tries to push other areas: Trump is pushing for schools to reopen this fall, and there could be new guidelines issued to align with that from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there could also be a series of executive orders coming from Trump, focusing on other areas like immigration, China, manufacturing and even prescription drug pricing. On Wednesday, Trump travels to Atlanta to discuss transportation and infrastructure.

And we'll see if the president announces another rally after canceling his scheduled outdoor one in New Hampshire that was supposed to take place this past weekend. It was canceled due to the threat of a tropical storm. Trump is searching around for anything to stick to get him out of this political hole he's dug for himself.


Quote of the weekend:

"I've never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place."

After months of refusing to wear one, Trump was photographed wearing a mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday. Staffers reportedly had been "pleading" with him to wear one.