We’re two weeks out from election day. Campaigns are now in their final sprint and with so many races out there, it can be hard to decide where to make your final donations of the cycle. To help you out I’ve put together a ranking of where I think your money can do the most good. I’ve listed each candidate’s name and the reasoning for where I positioned them on this list. I hope this helps. You can donate to all of these campaigns here: https://secure.actblue.com/directory/all/all/fed-senate.
1. Jon Ossof (Georgia)- Georgia is the big prize on the map this year with two senate seats and its electoral votes up for grabs. As such, it’s as good a place as any to put your money. Importantly, Georgia requires a runoff if no candidate receives fifty percent of the vote. In Georgia’s other Senate seat, Rev. Warnock looks to be safely into the runoff but just as far from securing the requisite fifty percent to avoid said runoff. There will be plenty of time to donate to his campaign starting on Nov. 4. Jon Ossof on the other hand is running neck and neck with incumbent David Perdue and a cash infusion keeps him in the race to win it outright or at least keep Perdue from cracking fifty percent. Plus it has the tangential effect of turning out Democratic voters for Biden and Warnock as well.
2. Dr. Alan Gross (Alaska)– This is a race that is probably not on your radar and it should be. Only 282,000 people total voted in the 2014 Alaskan Senate race, which was decided by a grand total of 6,024 votes. those numbers help to illustrate the three reasons why your money could go a long way here. 1) Alaska is a cheap media market. 2) You do not have to change many minds here to create an upset. 3) The incumbent Dan Sullivan was involved in a local scandal that could really hurt him if the scandal sticks. This race is a lot lower on other people’s radar, but for me, your dollars are better spent here than almost anywhere else.
3. Theresa Greenfield (Iowa)- This is another double-dip scenario, with both a senate seat and six electoral votes in play. Incumbent Joni Ernst has super-glued herself to the Trump administration and that is hurting her in a state that likes to think of itself as independent thinking. Also hurting her is not knowing the price of soybeans, which may sound ridiculous but is a big deal in Iowa. Greenfield is consistently polling ahead but within the margin of error. Outspending Ernst these last two weeks could help her put it away.
4. Barbara Bollier (Kansas)– I know what you’re thinking “Wait, What? Kansas is in play?” And the answer is a big old “You bet it is” Make no mistake Bollier is still the underdog here but the polls have her within striking distance, one or two even have her up. Kansas is not as red as you think it is. In fact, they just put a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion in 2018. It may not be their first inclination but in this national environment, the people of Kansas are at least willing to think about going blue. This is important for two reasons. First, incumbent Roger Marshall got caught flatfooted because he thought he had a safe seat. His fundraising is anemic and despite being an incumbent he’s not very well known to the average voter. Second, Bollier is a former Republican herself, who left the party because of Trump giving her amazing crossover appeal and protection from the normal “crazy socialist” attacks you see in the Midwest. With a mad at blitz, she’s got a real shot at the upset.
5. Steve Bullock (Montana)– We think of Montana as a red state because of the way it votes for presidential elections, but it has a Democratic governor and a Democratic senator who was just elected in 2018, so clearly Montana’s voters care more about the person than the party. Which is good because that Democratic governor i mentioned happens to be Steve Bullock, who is locked in a tight battle against incumbent Steve Daines. Like Alaska, media buys in Montana are pretty cheap and its elections are decided by small margins. in 2018 about 500k people voted and the margin of victory was 20,000. Steve Bullock is a known quantity so an ad buy doesn’t help as much, but in such a large state, even gas money to help the get-out-the-vote effort can make the difference.
6. Jaime Harrison (South Carolina) – First of all I’d like to go on the record as saying: Fuck Lyndsey Graham. And while this is the race that means the most to me on this list, its all the way down here at sixth because Jaime Harrison has been racking in the cash for months and I truly believe your money will have more of a dollar for dollar impact on the races I’ve already discussed. Still, this is a toss-up race in hostile territory against a real son-of-a-bitch so I won’t blame you if you just want to keep making it rain on Jaime’s campaign.
7. Cal Cunningham (North Carolina)– Double-Dipper alert both N.C.’s electoral votes and one of its senate seats are in play meaning a boost to one is a boost to both. Honestly, a month ago this race looked to be in the bag for the Dems, and then Cunningham’s mistress came forward with some very naughty texts. And while I’m not a prude, cheating on your wife is a real low character move. Still, his opponent is a climate change denier who thinks homosexuality should be illegal so you pick the flawed man over the actively evil one. Cunningham is taking heavy fire that has cut his lead down to low single digits. Some extra cash could help shore up his defenses.
8. Sara Gideon (Maine)– Gideon has been running consistently ahead for the better part of six months and has plenty of cash on hand. But the lack of high-quality polls over the last month and Susan Collins long track record in the state keep me from saying this race is for sure over. She doesn’t really need it but throwing Gideon some extra cash to get over the finish line doesn’t hurt.
9. Gary Peters (Michigan)– The first incumbent on this list. Peters has held about an eight-point lead throughout this cycle and with so many other races out there people just kind of assumed this seat was safe. As such his fundraising numbers have been good, not great while his opponent has been raking it in. Now both this Senate race and the presidential race have begun to tighten. Still outside the margin of error but only just. I feel confident that at the end of the day both will go blue, but a bit more green in Peters war chest might be needed to make that happen. So why isn’t this race higher on the list? Mostly because the Biden campaign is dropping big money here and that should help Peters out in a big enough way that individual donors should spend their money elsewhere.
10. Mike Espy (Mississippi)– Most polls have Espy way down to his opponent, but just enough of them have him within the margin of error to make you think that if everything goes right he might just have a chance at this. It would take a strange confluence of events, but this is 2020, the year where murder hornets barely even warrant a mention. The first big obstacle is cash. As a deep south Democrat Espy doesn’t really have any. Which, while I realize might sound counter-intuitive, is why he’s so far down this list. While your donation would certainly help I just think there is too much ground to make up and too many other places where your money could do more good. It’s too bad because Espy is a good man, and in another campaign, with lower stakes, he would certainly be worthy of a quixotic campaign.
11. Doug Jones (Alabama)- Speaking of good men in the South, Doug Jones is as honorable as they come. But he’s not winning reelection. Doesn’t matter who you are running against a republican football coach in the deep south is electoral suicide. As an incumbent, he’s got an outside shot but the vast majority of polls have him down double digits with no clear path to getting back into this race.
12. MJ Hegar (Texas)- Beto set fundraising records in 2018 trying to turn Texas blue and he got closer than anyone had in a long while to accomplishing that goal. But despite a favorable environment for democrats Hegar actually has fewer advantages than Beto did for his run two years ago. First, with a crowded national environment, Hegar hasn’t been able to set herself apart from the rest of the Democratic senate field making it hard to fundraise of her personal brand. Second, while John Cornyn is just as big a piece of shit as his republican colleagues he’s not hated with the same white-hot intensity as Ted Cruz, Lyndsey Graham, or Susan Collins, again making fundraising harder. And with Texas as big and as expensive as it is Hegar really needed more money and a more recognizable personal brand to have a chance in this one. At this point, Hegar’s only shot is for Biden to win Texas and ride his coattails to a narrow victory. And it’s going to take a lot more than your money to make that happen.
13. Amy McGrath (Kentucky)– She’s not going to win, she’s already pulled in far more money than just about every other candidate on this list, she’s described herself as a Trump democrat, and oh yeah she’s not going to win. This race was over the second the DNC played favorites picking McGrath over Booker. I don’t care how much you hate Mitch McConnell, find a better use for your money.
14-15. John Hickenlooper (Colorado)/Mark Kelly (Arizona)– Barring something catastrophic these seats are turning blue. The big boys are already pulling their money out and redirecting it to where it’s needed elsewhere. You should do the same.