Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan will win reelection in Alaska, CNN projected Wednesday, defeating independent Al Gross, who was running with the backing of national Democrats.
Sullivan joins the growing ranks of Republican incumbents who have successfully defended seats that Democrats targeted this year in their efforts to win the Senate majority. Democrats are now looking to what is expected to be two Georgia runoff races in January as their only remaining shot at winning a majority in the chamber.
Gross, in contrast, attacked Sullivan’s record in Washington and emphasized his own medical background as a doctor while pushing a message that he would work to improve health care affordability and access amid the coronavirus crisis.
Gross put the race in play, in part, by posting strong fundraising numbers. But that wasn’t enough to oust the Republican senator.
Sullivan’s victory comes as the path for Democrats to win the majority has narrowed significantly and all eyes are fixed on Georgia. A closely watched Georgia special election will advance to a January runoff between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, CNN projected last week. Georgia’s other Senate race, between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, is also expected to go to a runoff, though CNN has not officially projected that race. Democrats would need to flip both of those seats and the White House to win control since the vice president can break ties in the chamber.
A scenario where control of the Senate ends up on the line in two January runoffs would mean weeks of frantic and intense campaigning by Democrats and Republicans in two incredibly high-stakes elections where money would undoubtedly flow in at rapid speed from across the country.