If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the presidency, which he is poised to do, polling suggests, Democrats will need to flip only three seats to gain control of the upper chamber.
At least six incumbents are considered vulnerable.
Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Cory Gardner of Colorado are all struggling to fend off strong liberal challengers, many of whom are seeing a surge in campaign contributions.
In addition, Democrats are going on the offensive in several traditionally red states.
In Kansas, Democrat Barbara Bollier is polling ahead of Republican Roger Marshall, according to latest research.
Georgia Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Steve Daines of Montana are also being challenged. In Alaska, well-funded opposition is trying to oust Dan Sullivan.
Democratic-leaning voters seem to be galvanized by Biden’s position in battleground states.
Trump has long trailed the former vice president nationwide, while his standing in key battlegrounds has gradually worsened.
According to latest polling averages, Biden is ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Florida.
In addition, he is competitive in Republican-leaning states such as Texas and Georgia. Internal GOP polls reportedly suggest the same.
Despite this, Republicans don’t have the luxury of distancing themselves from Trump, who is still extremely popular with the base. As one strategist put it, “we need the president to at least get close to hold the Senate.”
Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said that the party should be able to preserve its majority as long as it defends several key seats.
“The toughest seats to hold are Colorado, Arizona, and Maine. Republicans can hold the majority, but it’s going to be very close.”
He added that Democrat Cal Cunningham’s “implosion” helps. Cunningham, who is challenging Tillis, has been involved in a marital infidelity scandal.
Other Republicans were not as optimistic.
One party operative predicted “total Democratic control,” suggesting that neither incumbents nor Trump have time to recover, since the election is weeks away.
Dennis Darnoi, a Republican strategist based in the key state of Michigan, suggested that Trump is in a very difficult position.
“For him to win, he would need to see a massive increase in voters who did not vote in ’16 and who also support him,” he said.
However, Darnoi noted that the party could pick up a seat in the state, arguing that Democratic Sen. Gary Peters could lose to Republican candidate John James.
He explained that James “retains the support of those moderate Republicans and independents who are not supporting Trump.”