WASHINGTON (AP) — Pinned six years in the minority, Democrats have an uphill but real shot at wresting Senate control in January, with more opportunities in 2022. Yet as states increasingly sort themselves along hardening partisan lines, it’s complicating Democrats’ drive to win the majority and keep it.
Thanks to this month’s elections, Democrats will own all four Senate seats from purple Arizona and increasingly blue Colorado next year. If they can win January runoffs for both seats from Georgia, which has recently teetered toward them, they’ll command the Senate thanks to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote in what would be a 50-50 chamber.
Yet even as Democrats have made those gains and others since surrendering control in the 2014 elections, they’ve lost foundations of their old majority that will be hard to recapture. Gone are seats from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, both Dakotas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina and West Virginia, all of which tilt Republican in presidential elections.
In addition, three current Senate Democrats are from states that President Donald Trump carried easily this month despite losing to Democrat Joe Biden. Sens. Joe Manchin, 73, of West Virginia, Jon Tester, 64, of Montana and Sherrod Brown, 68, of Ohio are all proven brand names in states that would be hard for Democrats to hold without them.
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