Democrats Up For Re-election In 2020

In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, there are seats in which a Democratic incumbent is seeking re-election in 2020.
Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, lhan Omar, Sharice Davids, and Lauren Underwood.

Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, lhan Omar, Sharice Davids, and Lauren Underwood.

In 2018, we learned that flipping individual seats can significantly affect the majority make-up of both Congressional bodies. In that respect, every Congressional seat kept or gained in 2020 matters. Democrats will seek to expand Democratic presence in the Senate, and maintain—or expand—control of the House.

Which Senate Democrats Are Up For Re-election in 2020?

There are twelve Democrat-held Senate seats that will be up for election in 2020:

  • Doug Jones, Alabama
  • Chris Coons, Delaware
  • Dick Durbin, Illinois
  • Ed Markey, Massachusetts
  • Gary Peters, Michigan
  • Tina Smith, Minnesota
  • Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire
  • Cory Booker, New Jersey
  • New Mexico (incumbent Tom Udall retiring)
  • Jeff Merkley, Oregon
  • Jack Reed, Rhode Island
  • Mark Warner, Virginia

Which Senate Races Will Be Important to Watch?

Not all of the 12 Democrat-held Senate seats up for election will be in much danger in 2020. Four seats are vulnerable, and will bear keeping an eye on as predicted battleground elections:

Doug Jones, Alabama

Doug Jones of Alabama won his Senate seat in 2017 during a special election against Republican Roy Moore after former incumbent Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General. In 2017, Jones was a long-shot Democratic candidate in a very Republican state (Alabama voted for Trump in 2016). In November 2019, Sessions announced his intention to run for his old Senate seat.

Gary Peters, Michigan

The tricky thing for Peters is that he won his Senate seat for the first time in 2014, and in 2016 Michigan voted for Trump. As of October 2019, Peters had only a narrow lead against his Republican opponent, John James. There is some concern that Peters is not sufficiently well known among Michigan voters.

Tina Smith, Minnesota

Smith took her seat in the Senate in January 2018 as an appointee, after Al Franken (D) resigned due to sexual misconduct allegations. One of her biggest challenges is that she has not held the seat long. She hasn’t had much time to build the kind of record an incumbent usually has. However, her Republican opponent, Jason Lewis, lost his reelection bid after his first term in the House in 2018 during the nationwide Democratic surge. In 2016, Minnesota’s caucuses led to a victory for Hillary Clinton. Forecasters are predicting a likely Democratic win.

Tom Udall, New Mexico (retiring)

Because Udall is retiring, there is no incumbent in his Senate seat in 2020. Two Democrats have announced that they are running for the seat: Ben Ray Lujan, and Giovanni Haqani. Haqani is a little mysterious, having not divulged much about his supporters or funding. Two Republicans have also announced that they are running for Udall’s empty seat: Gavin Clarkson, and Mick Rich. Rich ran for Senate in the general election in 2018 and lost to Democrat Martin Heinrich. Forecasters are predicting a likely Democratic win in this race. New Mexico in 2016 voted for Hillary Clinton.

What Democrat-held Senate Seats Are Predicted To Be Safe In 2020?

In contrast to the predicted battles in Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico, the eight remaining Senate seats with Democratic incumbents seeking reelection are generally deemed to be safe.

These include:

  • Chris Coons, Delaware
  • Dick Durbin, Illinois
  • Ed Markey, Massachusetts
  • Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire
  • Cory Booker, New Jersey
  • Jeff Merkley, Oregon
  • Jack Reed, Rhode Island
  • Mark Warner, Virginia

What House Democrats Are Up For Reelection in 2020?

Representatives in the House serve terms of only two years. That means all 435 House seats are up for re-election in 2020. As of November 2019, 233 of those seats were held by Democrats. Democrats certainly don’t want to lose any, and will definitely go after Republican incumbents they think they have a good chance of beating.

Eight of the 233 Democrat Representatives have announced that they will not be seeking re-election in 2020, leaving their seats vacant. Obviously the aim for Democrats will be to fill these seats with another Democrat.

  • Susan Davis, CA-53 (retiring): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Tulsi Gabbard, HI-02 (seeking Presidency): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Dave Loebsack, IA-02 (retiring): Forecast to be a toss-up
  • Peter Visclosky, IN-01 (retiring): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Joseph Kennedy III, MA-04 (seeking Senate seat): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Ben Ray Lujan, NM-03 (seeking Senate seat): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Jose Serrano, NY-15 (retiring): Solid Democratic forecast
  • Nita Lowey, NY-17 (retiring): Solid Democratic forecast

Which House Races Are Important to Watch?

Iowa, 2nd District

Dave Loebsack leaves an open House seat in an Iowa district that voted for Trump in 2016 (albeit by only 4 percentage points). The vacant seat he leaves behind is apparently fair game for anyone. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is making it a focus. The National Republican Congressional Committee is also targeting the seat. The Congressional Leadership Fund—the Republican Super PAC—has two levels in targeting House seats: more heavily if it is viewed as a “Trump Country” target, less heavily if it is viewed as an “Opportunity District” target. Democratic candidates seeking Iowa’s vacant House seat are Newman Abuissa and Rita Hart. Republican candidates seeking the seat are Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Robert T. Schilling. A toss-up is forecasted for this race.

Maryland, 7th District

There will also be a special election in Maryland to determine who will fill the House seat of the late Elijah Cummings. There are a plethora of candidates and potential candidates to represent MD-07, as of the beginning of November 2019.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (D) is mulling over running for her late husband’s vacant seat. She began a run for governor of Maryland, heading for a 2018 election, but dropped out when her spouse became ill. In 2018 she was elected Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. State Senator Jill Carter (D) is also considering running for the vacant House seat, as is former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D). Kweisi Mfume (D) announced at the end of October 2019 that he will be running for Cummings’s vacant seat, although he has not filed as a formal candidate according to the Maryland Board of Elections. Mfume originally held the congressional seat, but Cummings filled in for him when Mfume left in 1996 to take up the presidency of the NAACP. Mfume has run into some trouble over allegations of sexual misconduct during his tenure at the NAACP.

According to the Maryland Board of Elections, Democrats who have filed to run for Cummings’s vacant seat include Dan Baker, Anthony Carter, Darryl Gonzalez, Mark Gosnell, Michael Higginbotham, Charles Smith, Harry Spikes, and Charles Stokes. Republicans who have filed to run include Ray Bly, Reba Hawkins, and Liz Matory.

Others whose names have been bandied about on either side have until November 20, 2019, to file for the February 2020 primary and April 2020 election. However the primary candidates shake out, the special election is forecast to be solid Democratic.

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What Other House Races Should I Watch?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated over 40 Democratic incumbents as vulnerable and therefore “frontline” candidates. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is targeting 55 Democrat-held seats. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is focusing on those seats it considers vulnerable as a “Trump Country” district or an “Opportunity District.”

In the chart below, the election forecast is designated with a “D” for races predicted to have a solid Democratic result. Races forecast to have a likely Democratic result are designated with “Likely D.” “Lean D” is used for races that are less than likely but still leaning toward a Democratic result. Those races that are predicted to be a toss-up are designated (cleverly enough) as “Toss-Up.”

Name State/District Party Of Previous Incumbent Cook Political Report Forecast
1 Tom O’Halleran AZ-01 D Lean D
2 Ann Kirkpatrick AZ-02 R Likely D
3 Josh Harder CA-10 R Lean D
4 T.J. Cox CA-21 R Lean D
5 Vacant (K. Hill) CA-25 R Lean D
6 Gil Cisneros CA-39 R Lean D
7 Katie Porter CA-45 R Lean D
8 Harley Rouda CA-48 R Lean D
9 Mike Levin CA-49 R Likely D
10 Jason Crow CO-06 R Likely D
11 Steph. Murphy FL-07 D Solid D
12 Charlie Crist FL-13 D Solid D
13 Debbie. Mucarsel-Powell FL-26 R Likely D
14 Donna Shalala FL-27 R Likely D
15 Lucy McBath GA-06 R Toss-Up
16 Abby Finkenauer IA-01 R Toss-Up
17 Cindy Axne IA-03 R Toss-Up
18 Sean Casten IL-06 R Lean D
19 Lauren Underwood IL-14 R Toss-Up
20 Cheri Bustos IL-17 D Likely D
21 Sharice Davids KS-03 R Lean D
22 Jared Golden ME-02 R Toss-Up
23 Elissa Slotkin MI-08 R Toss-Up
24 Haley Stevens MI-11 R Lean D
25 Angie Craig MN-02 R Lean D
26 Dean Phillips MN-03 R Likely D
27 Colin Peterson MN-07 D Toss-Up
28 Susie Lee NV-03 D Lean D
29 Steven Horsford NV-04 D Likely D
30 Chris Pappas NH-01 D Lean D
31 Jeff Van Drew NJ-02 R Lean D
32 Andrew Kim NJ-03 R Toss-Up
33 Josh Gottheimer NJ-05 D Likely D
34 Tom Malinowski NJ-07 R Lean D
35 Mikie Sherrill NJ-11 R Likely D
36 Xochitl Torres Small NM-02 R Toss-Up
37 Max Rose NY-11 R Toss-Up
38 Sean Patrick Maloney NY-18 D Likely D
39 Antonio Delgado NY-19 R Toss-Up
40 Anthony Brindisi NY-22 R Toss-Up
41 Kendra Horn OK-05 R Toss-Up
42 Peter DeFazio OR-04 D Solid D
43 Susan Wild PA-07 R Likely D
44 Matt Cartwright PA-08 D Lean D
45 Conor Lamb PA-17 D/R* Likely D
46 Joe Cunningham SC-01 R Toss-Up
47 Lizzie Pannill Fletcher TX-07 R Lean D
48 Colin Allred TX-32 R Lean D
49 Ben McAdams UT-04 R Toss-Up
50 Elaine Luria VA-02 R Toss-Up
51 Abigail Spanberger VA-07 R Toss-Up
52 Jennifer Wexton VA-10 R Likely D
53 Kim Schrier WA-08 R Likely D
54 Ron Kind WI-03 D Likely D
*Pennsylvania adopted a redistricting plan in 2018, which led PA-17 to have two sitting Representatives campaigning against each other.

So, Which Democrat-held House Seats Are Safe?

Basically, any Democrat-held House seat not listed above as one to watch is predicted to be safe. The information and chart above lists all of the races likely to be competitive. Out of 233 Democrat-held House seats, only leaving out those races that are forecast as toss-ups, approximately 215 Democrat-held House seats are unexpected or unlikely to change hands.

The Rantt Rundown

Predictions are just that: predictions. Nevertheless, the races for Democrat-held Senate and House seats that have been identified as races on which to focus by the DCCC, the NRCC, and respected election forecasters are a pretty good indicator of where the competitive elections will be. You can probably count on at least 8 of 12 Senate races to result in a Democratic win. In the House, only 18 Democrat-held seats are predicted to be toss-ups. Keep in mind that there are also Republican-held seats that may be vulnerable in both the Senate and the House.

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Rantt 101 // 2020 / Congress / Democratic Party / Senate