Senate election live results: State by state
Democrats are eying another goal this year besides the presidency: retaking the Senate.
Given a favorable map that’s put Republicans on defense, Democrats hope to flip a slew of battleground seats in states including Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina. This year, just 12 Democrats are up for reelection, while 23 Republicans are too.
If Democrats gain Senate control, this shake-up would have significant implications: Under a Joe Biden administration, the upper chamber could make or break lawmakers’ ability to advance ambitious legislative priorities. And if President Donald Trump stays in office, the Senate could serve as another check on his administration.
Currently, Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. That means Democrats will likely have to flip five seats in order to get to 51, factoring in the potential loss of Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, who is widely viewed as vulnerable. (If Biden wins, Democrats could maintain the majority with four seats, since Vice President Kamala Harris can serve as a tiebreaker.)
Due to the surge in mail-in voting this cycle, it could take a while to know exactly who wins in several states, and which party holds Senate control, because of the extra time needed for these ballots to get counted. Here’s how Vox (and other media outlets) will be making calls throughout the night and following days.
The earliest polls start closing at 6 pm ET, while the latest states close at midnight ET (Hawaii and parts of Alaska) and 1 am ET (the rest of Alaska). Vox is carrying live results, powered by our friends at Decision Desk. (You can also follow live results for the presidential race here and House races here.)
Key races to watch
There’s one Democrat-held seat that widely favors Republicans, while there are several more GOP-held seats that Cook has classified as toss-ups or trending toward Democrats. The Democratic seat that’s likely to flip is Alabama, while the Republican ones most in contention are Arizona, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Montana, and South Carolina.
The following races are just a few of the most closely contested ones this cycle:
Alabama: Sen. Doug Jones, the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, is trying to fend off a challenge from former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville — who has aligned himself closely with Trump. Tuberville is widely favored to win given the conservative skew of the state, and the unique circumstances at play in Jones’s special election victory in 2017.
Colorado: Sen. Cory Gardner is up against popular former Gov. John Hickenlooper in a state where Democrats have been making steady inroads for years. Gardner has emphasized his work on bipartisan priorities like funding for land conservation and immigration reform, but his connection to Trump could doom him with swing voters in an increasingly left-leaning state.
North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis is yet another Republican whose allegiances to the president are coming back to hurt him in the general election among independent voters and suburban women in a broadly diversifying electorate. His opponent, veteran Cal Cunningham, has also dealt with an extramarital affair scandal in the weeks ahead of the election, but it doesn’t seem to have affected his polling lead.
Arizona: Martha McSally is running once again for an Arizona seat to affirm her appointment as senator, this time against former Astronaut Mark Kelly. Many of the factors that thwarted McSally’s run in 2018 have only become more apparent: Moderate Republicans that previously moved away from Trump — and candidates aligned with him — are continuing to do so. And Latinx voters who have previously leaned Democratic are continuing to grow their share of the electorate.
Maine: Sen. Susan Collins faces her toughest challenge yet from Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is known in state for her work fighting for renewable energy legislation. Collins has tried to distance herself from Trump some — repeatedly declining to say who she’ll be voting for in the election and voting against his most recent Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — but her support for some of his priorities, including a vote for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, could be enough to lead to her defeat.
Iowa: Sen. Joni Ernst ran as an outsider who would hold Washington accountable for excessive spending, but now that she’s the incumbent, she’s getting flak for her closeness to the president and his damaging trade and ethanol policies. Meanwhile, real estate developer and challenger Theresa Greenfield has emphasized her moderate bona fides and knowledge of industry in the state.
Correction, 6:30 pm ET: This post has been updated to accurately reflect poll closing times in Alaska and Hawaii.