Fight for control of US Senate could eclipse presidential battle

Special Fight for control of US Senate could eclipse presidential battle
The U.S. Capitol Building is seen shortly before sunset in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 17, 2017. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 November 2020

Fight for control of US Senate could eclipse presidential battle

Fight for control of US Senate could eclipse presidential battle
  • If Democrats can win at least six Republican-held Senate seats, they would take control of the Senate
  • The battleground Senate races include Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia and Iowa

CHICAGO: While all eyes are on the intense battle between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden, another key battlefield is the race to control the US Senate that could decide the country’s fate regardless of who is president.

The US Senate has the power to convict a president who is impeached by the House of Representatives, as Trump was on two impeachment charges on Dec. 18, 2019.

It ratifies treaties by a two-thirds supermajority vote and confirms the appointments of the president by a majority vote.

The consent of the House of Representatives is also necessary for the ratification of trade agreements and the confirmation of the vice president. And, with enough votes, the Senate can block or reverse many presidential actions and override a presidential veto.

Until now the Senate of the 116th US Congress has been controlled by the Republicans, who hold 53 of the 100 seats. Democrats hold 45 seats and have support from two independent party senators.

Senators serve six-year terms and a third of the Senate runs for election every two years. 

This year, 35 senators are running for re-election, with media polling asserting that eight Republican-held Senate seats in seven states are in contention.

If Democrats can win at least six Republican-held Senate seats, they would take control of the Senate. The battleground Senate races include Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia and Iowa.

Senate Democrats are seeking re-election in Oregon, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Alabama, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware.

In addition to the seven states listed, Senate Republicans are also seeking re-election in West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana and Alaska.

Currently, the Democrats control 232 of the seats in the 435-member US House of Representatives or Congress. Republicans only control 197 seats.

There are five house vacancies and one seat is held by a libertarian, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash.

The Democratic control of the house is expected to remain and possibly even grow in this election.