Democrats Flip U.S. Senate Seat In Major Election Night Victory

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Colorado’s U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R) has lost his race for re-election. The next U.S. Senator from Colorado will be John Hickenlooper, a former governor of the state who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination before shifting his focus to running for the U.S. Senate. Hickenlooper will be joining Colorado’s other U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who is also a Democrat, in the halls of Congress.

Flipping Gardner’s seat to the Democrats is a critical pick-up in the Democratic fight to gain control of the U.S. Senate. Other U.S. Senate seats that have been top targets for Democrats include seats in Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina, held by Martha McSally, Susan Collins, and Thom Tillis, respectively. Other U.S. Senate seats that leaned somewhat towards Republicans but were still possible pick-ups for Democrats ahead of Election Day included seats in Iowa, South Carolina, and Georgia. (As the night went on, Democrats lost the Senate race in South Carolina.) Former President Barack Obama even made a late campaign stop in Atlanta, where he didn’t just stump for Biden but also stumped for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in that state including Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Ahead of Election Day, FiveThirtyEight gave Democrats a somewhat higher chance of winning majority status in the U.S. Senate compared to Republicans, who held the Senate throughout all four years of Donald Trump’s post-2016 term. The Republican majority in the U.S. Senate provided a critical buffer for Trump against efforts from Democrats in Congress to hold the president accountable for his corruption. After the Democrat-led House impeached Trump, only one solitary Republican member of the U.S. Senate — Utah’s Mitt Romney — voted to convict the president.

Republican Senators — including Gardner — have also boosted the White House on issues like judicial appointments. The Senate has confirmed three of Trump’s picks for the U.S. Supreme Court, including Amy Coney Barrett, who was just recently confirmed to the court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, no matter the Senate GOP’s own precedent of waiting to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy that comes up during presidential election years. The GOP claimed that circumstances were a green light because, unlike in 2016 when they refused to confirm an Obama appointee, the White House and Senate were held by the same party.