Elections 2020: Will GOP Hold the Senate?

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Focus: Senate

Colorado: There had been legal maneuverings and challenges to the state signature requirements, but the Colorado Democratic Senate ballot is now down to two contenders to earn the right to oppose Sen. Cory Gardner (R), in the June 30th primary: former Gov. John Hickenlooper and ex-state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. With the courts finally making definitive rulings, the ballot is set.

Kansas: Public Opinion Strategies released a new Kansas Republican primary survey for the Roger Marshall for Senate campaign (5/10-12; 600 KS likely Republican primary voters) that projects the western district Congressman has taken the lead over former Secretary of State, and 2018 gubernatorial nominee, Kris Kobach.

The ballot test shows Rep. Marshall leading Mr. Kobach and state Senate President Susan Wagle, 33-26-7%, with two minor candidates finishing in single digits. This is a significant change from their March poll that found Mr. Kobach holding a 34-28% advantage over Rep. Marshall. Polling suggests that the normally safe Kansas seat would be vulnerable to Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, a physician and Mission Hills state Senator, if Mr. Kobach were to win the GOP nomination.

Additionally, Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi, who appeared to be Sen. Barbara Bollier’s strongest Democratic primary opponent, has dropped out of the race. She said late this week she will not file as a candidate, thus assuring the nomination for Sen. Bollier, awaiting the Republican primary winner August 4th.

Massachusetts: A report last week showed the latest University of Massachusetts at Lowell survey had U. S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) leading Sen. Ed Markey (D) 44-42%, in a virtual toss-up. An Emerson College (5/5-6; 740 MA registered voters; 620 MA likely Democratic primary voters) survey sees a much different landscape. According to the Emerson data, Rep. Kennedy has a whopping 58-42% lead after voters were pushed to make a choice. The U. Mass Lowell poll is closer to the three others conducted in 2020, which yield only a three-point average Kennedy advantage.

Mississippi: A Mississippi U. S. Senate poll was released from the Impact Management Group (5/4-7; 606 MS likely voters). The data finds first-term incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) with a double-digit lead over her opponent. The candidate in the previous special election, former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D), is returning for a re-match. The ballot test gives the Republican Senator a 58-31% major advantage. This is a significant improvement over Sen. Hyde-Smith’s 54-46% win in 2018, where she was elected to fill the balance of the late Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) final term in office.

Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse (R) was easily re-nominated with a 75% Republican regular primary win against minor opposition. For the Democrats, local Omaha business owner Chris Janicek topped a field of seven candidates in a campaign where no one raised more than $100,000. Sen. Sasse now becomes the prohibitive general election favorite.

North Carolina: The FBI is searching the records of Sen. Richard Burr (R) as it investigates the financial records regarding stock transactions executed after receiving COVID-19 briefings, speculation is buzzing about what would happen to the Senate seat if this eventually leads to a Burr resignation. The Senator next comes before the voters in 2022, but he said even before being re-elected in 2018 that he would not seek further re-election.

North Carolina is one of three states that has a law requiring a Governor to appoint a member of the departing incumbent’s political party should a US Senate vacancy occur. Therefore, in the event of a North Carolina vacancy, for example, the state Republican Party would present Democratic Roy Cooper a list of three replacement potentials of which he must choose one.

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