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Here Are The 4 Races Republicans Need To Win If They Want To Hold Onto The Senate

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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While all eyes are on the presidential election, the Senate races are perhaps the most important races in the election. These will determine whether the GOP will hold on to their power going forward and be able control or influence the direction of the country.

The Senate is currently composed of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats.

If Democrats win three Senate races and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the presidency, then Democrats will control the Senate, with presumptive Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over any tiebreakers.

If Biden loses the election, Democrats need to win four Senate seats to take control. (RELATED: Democratic Challengers In 10 Key Senate Races Outraise Republicans By $34 Million)

Here are four key senate races Republicans need to win.

Arizona:

Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally faces Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and husband to former Democratic Rep. Gabby Lee Giffords. McSally lost the race for Arizona’s second seat in the 2018 race to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. However, McSally was appointed to the senate in 2018 after Republican Sen. John McCain passed, leaving his seat vacant.

While President Donald Trump won the state by more than three points, McSally has a tough road ahead for 2020 in terms of polling and fundraising.

Kelly leads McSally by 10 points, with 52% of voters choosing to support Kelly, compared to just 42% supporting incumbent McSally, according to a recent survey by OH Predictive Insights that polled 600 likely Arizona voters. The poll also shows 15% of Republicans support Kelly instead of McSally.

Even more disheartening for Republicans is that Kelly has $21.2 million cash on hand, compared to McSally’s $11 million cash on hand. Kelly also substantially beats McSally when it comes to donations from small individual contributions, according to CNBC.

Colorado:

Incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is running for reelection against former two-term Gov. John Hickenlooper. Gardner, who voted not to remove Trump from office after the president was impeached, finds himself in deep water as the state becomes more blue.

Clinton won the state by nearly five percentage points in 2016, and Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet won reelection for the other Senate race.

Hickenlooper holds a 7.8-point lead over Gardner, according to the Colorado Sun.

However, Gardner has $10.7 million cash on hand, far outpacing Hickenlooper, who has $4.6 million cash on hand, according to CNBC. Still, Hickenlooper received more contributions from both small and large individual contributors, per the same report.

Maine:

Incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins has been in office since 1997 and faces one of her toughest bids for reelection considering she’s America’s most unpopular senator, according to Morning Consult. The numbers appear to support Morning Consult’s poll, with a recent Quinnipiac poll showing Democrat Sara Gideon leading Collins by 10 percentage points, with 52% of voters likely to support her.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Chairwoman Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks during a Senate Special Committee of Aging hearing on The COVID-19 Pandemic and Seniors: A Look at Racial Health Disparities at the US Capitol on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee is looking into the data that has been showing that communities of color have been disproportionately negatively affected by the spread of the coronavirus when compared to the caucasian population in the United States. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 21: Chairwoman Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks during a Senate Special Committee of Aging hearing on The COVID-19 Pandemic and Seniors: A Look at Racial Health Disparities at the US Capitol on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee is looking into the data that has been showing that communities of color have been disproportionately negatively affected by the spread of the coronavirus when compared to the caucasian population in the United States. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

“The tide has turned on Senator Susan Collins, who was so popular in Maine that she won nearly 70 percent of the vote the last time she ran. Likely voters are sending the message that there’s no ‘middle of the road’ when it comes to President Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the state,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow said, per the report.

Collins voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial and gave a confirmation vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both unpopular moves in a state that voted for Clinton by nearly three percentage points in 2016 and where 53% of voters say they want to see Democrats win control of the Senate, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Collins barely has more money than Gideon, with Collins having $5.6 million cash on hand compared to Gideon’s $5.4 million cash on hand.

Gideon also demolishes Collins when it comes to both small and large individual contributions, with Gideon taking in $23 million in small individual contributions compared to Collins $12.8 million in small individual contributions, according to CNBC.

North Carolina:

North Carolina is a swing state this election, with incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis running against former North Carolina Democratic State Sen. and veteran Cal Cunningham.

Tillis is used to competitive races, having won his 2014 seat by less than 49,000 votes — less than two percentage points.

But this year poses a real challenge for Tillis, who trails Cunningham in the polls by nearly four percentage points, according to a recent poll by Suffolk University.

Tillis voted to acquit Trump during the impeachment trial. Trump himself won the state in 2016 by less than four percentage points but now trails Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by one percentage point, according to FiveThirtyEight.

In terms of cash on hand, Tillis has $6.9 million while Cunningham has $6.6 million, according to CNBC.

Cunningham also rakes in more small and large individual contributions than Tillis, taking in $13.2 million in small contributions alone compared to Tillis’ $8.4 million, per the same report.