DemDaily: Status of the Senate. The Open Seats

February 19, 2021

Status of the Senate: The US Senate currently stands at 50 Democrats to 50 Republicans. With Vice President Kamala Harris, who also serves as the President of the Senate and has the tiebreaking vote, Democrats officially have control of the Senate.

In 2022, Democrats will defend 14 Senate seats, while Republicans will defend 20, including four open Senate seats.

Although we don't know what the political landscape may look like one year from now, three of the four Senate seats being vacated -- in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- are in battleground states that present an opportunity for Democrats to widen their majority in the US Senate.

The fourth, in ruby red Alabama, is likely to play out as a microcosm of the larger GOP internal struggle  between the Trump and establishment camps of their party.

AL Congressman Mo Brooks was a speaker at Trump's January 6th Rally (WAFF)

Incumbent: Richard Shelby (R)
Filing Date: January 28, 2022
Primary Election: May 24, 2022
Republican Richard Shelby announced he would not be seeking reelection on February 8, 2021. The six-term Senator, last reelected with 64% of the vote, was first elected as a Democrat in 1986 before switching parties in 1994 in one the country's most conservative states.

Although the Yellowhammer State, also known as "The Heart of Dixie," elected Democrat Doug Jones in the 2017 Senate special election, it was only by 2 percentage points over twice-ousted federal judge and accused sexual predator Roy Moore. Jones lost his 2020 reelection by over 20% to ex-football coach and political novice Tommy Tuberville, who was endorsed by Donald Trump over a field of six other well-known GOP contenders.

Trump, who won the state in 2020 with 62% of the vote, is likely to have an influence over the outcome of the 2022 race. Also in play will be the plans of Republican Governor Kay Ivey, who is up for reelection in 2022. Should she not seek a second term, the growing field of potential Senate candidates is likely to split between the two contests.

England, potential Dem candidate (Mickey Welsh/MontgomeryAdvertiser)

Former United States Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard has officially declared.

Other potential contenders include Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, former Chief of Staff to US Senator Richard Shelby and head of the Business Council of Alabama Katie Britt, Congressman Mo Brooks (5th CD), who was also a 2017 Senate candidate, and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Others in play include former US Congressman and 2020 Senate candidate Bradley Byrne, State Representative
Tommy Hanes, Alabama Secretary of State and 2020 US Senate candidate John Merrill, and Alabama political consultant David Mowery.

Potential candidates include State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, State Representative and Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party Christopher England, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (7th CD).

Lara Trump and husband Eric (Scott Olson/Getty)

Incumbent: Richard Burr (R)
Filing Date: December, 2021 (TBD)
Primary Date: March 8, 2022
The three-term Senator announced in advance of his 2016 reelection, which he won with 51%, that he would not seek reelection in 2022.

North Carolina has increasingly emerged as a swing state, with Trump winning by slightly over one percentage point in 2020.

Although Burr was instrumental in Trump's narrow victory, he voted to convict Trump on February 13th due to the "compelling evidence."

The North Carolina GOP censured Burr for his vote the same day, and Trump troubadour Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) said Burr's vote would result in a backlash from the right, almost guaranteeing that the former president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, would be the GOP nominee.

Congressman Mark Walker (6th CD), has declared his candidacy and has been endorsed by US Senators James Lankford (OK) and Tim Scott (SC), Congressman Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR), and Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Dem contender State Senator Jeff Jackson

Lara Trump, a television producer and "senior advisor" to Trump's 2020 presidential campaign has not announced yet, despite Graham's endorsement.

Other potential contenders include former Governor Pat McCrory, Congressman Ted Budd (13th CD), former Lieutenant Governor and 2020 Governatorial nominee Dan Forest, former Congressman George Holding (2nd CD) and Speaker of the State House Tim Moore.

State Senator Jeff Jackson and former State Senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith have declared.

Potential candidates include: State Senator Sydney Batch, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, Governor Roy Cooper, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Anita Earls, former United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, State Representative Grier Martin, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (2nd CD), former Congressman Heath Shuler (11th CD), and State Attorney General Josh Stein.

Josh Mandel, the first GOP candidate to announce (

Incumbent: Rob Portman (R)
Filing Deadline: January 1, 2022
Primary: May 3, 2022
Two-term Republican Senator Rob Portman, citing "partisan gridlock," announced on January 25, 2021 that he would not be running for re-election in 2022. Portman, a moderate, was reelected in 2016 by over 17 percentage points, the same year that Donald Trump won the state with 51.69%.

The traditional battleground state, which was long regarded as a bellwether for the presidential, went for Trump by eight points in 2020, breaking the state's record of voting with the winning presidential candidate since 1960.

The Republican primary is likely to be a battle for the direction of the party. In the immediate post-Trump era, the former president holds considerable sway in the Buckeye State, but the scenario a year from now is unknown.

A far-right Republican nominee may result in a backlash in the state, leaving the door open for a moderate Democrat in what is currently considered an uphill battle for Dems.

Potential Ohio Dem Candidate Kevin Boyce

Former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel announced February 10th, and Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken, who announced February 18th.

Other potential contenders include: State Senator Matt Dolan, 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, Congressman Bill Johnson (6th CD), Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Cleveland-area car dealer Bernie Moreno, former Congressman Jim Renacci (16th CD), Congressman Steve Stivers (15th CD), Congressman Mike Turner (10th CD), author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (2nd CD).

Amy Acton, former Ohio Department of Health Director
Kevin Boyce, Franklin County commissioner and former Ohio State Treasurer
Tim Ryan, Congressman (13th CD) and 2020 presidential candidate

Incumbent: Pat Toomey (R)
Filing Deadline: April 7, 2022
Primary: May 17, 2022
Two-term Senator Pat Toomey, who was narrowly reelected in 2016 with 48.9% of the vote, announced on October 5, 2020 that he would not seek a third term in 2022 in one of the country's most politically divided states. The Keystone State, which voted for Trump in 2016, helped put Biden over the top in 2020, voting 50.1% to 48.84% in his favor.

GOP Candidate Jeff Bartos (ReadingEagle)

Toomey's retirement presents a prime opportunity for Democrats to flip the seat and regain solid footing in a key battleground state that is currently is under divided government. Democrats hold the Governor's mansion, and Republicans control both the State Senate and State House. Pennsylvania's Congressional districts are evenly split between the two parties, with nine seats each.

On February 13, 2021, Toomey was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection in the former president's second impeachment trial. He has so far escaped calls by local Republican party leaders for his censure.

Those who have declared or filed include businessman and 2018 Lieutenant Governor nominee Jeff Bartos and 2016 US Senate candidate Everett Stern.

Potential Candidates include Congressmen Guy Reschenthaler (14th CD), former Congressman Ryan Costello (6th CD), and former U.S. Secretary of the Navy and former U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite, as well as 2018 Gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango and US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania William McSwain.

PA Lt. Governor and 2020 Candidate John Fetterman (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman announced his candidacy February 8th and State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta officially launched his campaign February 18th.

Other potential candidates rumored to be eyeing the race include Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, Congressman Brendan Boyle (2nd CD), Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (4th CD), Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (6th CD), Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Congressman Conor Lamb (17th CD), and State Senator Sharif Street.


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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Trussville Tribune,, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Gazette, The HIll, Ballotpedia, Cook Report, Washington Post, Wiki

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