Senate and House election results 2020

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani, Jessica Estepa and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 1:17 PM ET, Thu November 5, 2020
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3:20 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Democrat concedes in Maine Senate race

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Republican Sen. Susan Collins speaks on November 4 in Bangor, Maine.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins speaks on November 4 in Bangor, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon has conceded her race to Republican incumbent Susan Collins in Maine.

"Just now I spoke with Senator Collins. I congratulated her on winning this election," Gideon said in a concession speech Wednesday afternoon.

She also tweeted “I’m proud of the campaign we ran, regardless of the result.”

Collins faces a tight race and had a unique set of circumstances due to Maine's ranked choice process, which requires a candidate to reach a 50% threshold to claim victory.

CNN has not projected the winner of the US Senate race in Maine.

The defeat would be a major blow to Democrats, who have already come up short over the past 24 hours in a number of races where they were competing in hopes of flipping the chamber. Democrats' chances of controlling the Senate are now rapidly diminishing.

How does ranked-choice voting work?

Maine’s ranked-choice voting system lets voters literally rank their choices in order of preference, marking candidates as their first, second and third choice picks (and so on).

The winner must have a majority (more than 50% of the votes) rather than a plurality (simply the most votes).

In Maine, ranked choice only takes effect when three or more candidates are on the ballot. Voting is counted by round, with lowest-ranked candidates eliminated in each round until only two candidates remain.

Read more here. 

See Gideon's tweet:

Correction: An earlier version of this post said Collins won the Maine Senate race. Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon has conceded, but CNN has not yet projected the winner of the US Senate race in Maine.

1:43 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

GOP women are poised to make gains in the House

From CNN's Clare Foran and Simone Pathe 

Stephanie Bice, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Michelle Fischbach
Stephanie Bice, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Michelle Fischbach AP & Getty Images

Republicans have touted their efforts to increase diverse recruits this cycle, some of whom have already won according to CNN projections.

At least seven new Republican women will join the conference  — an increase from after the 2018 midterms, when just one new GOP woman was part of the freshman class.

That means that even with two of the 13 Republican women currently in the House retiring at the end of this year, they're set to see a net increase in 2021.

Some of those women include Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy and kept an open seat in Georgia in GOP hands, and at least four others who held onto seats rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, a CNN contributor.

Republican women have also flipped Democratic seats, with Michelle Fischbach unseating Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the House Agriculture Committee Chairman, and Stephanie Bice defeating freshman Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn in Oklahoma. 

 Read more here.

1:17 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

McConnell expresses confidence about holding GOP majority

From CNN's Manu Raju, Ali Zaslav, and Ted Barrett

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters during a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 4.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters during a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 4. Timothy D. Easley/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s unsure whether Republicans will hold onto the majority after several tight Senate remained open Wednesday although he expressed confidence that the numbers might be turning the GOP’s way.  

He also said it’s “not unusual” for close elections to be disputed but raised none of the concerns President Donald Trump did about the election being stolen. And he acknowledged Republicans need to improve their standing with suburban voters.

“I don’t know whether I’m going to be the defensive coordinator or the offensive coordinator,” he said at a press conference in Louisville, KY, a day after he was reelected to a seventh term by a wide margin. 

McConnell said it's not clear if GOP Sen. Susan Collins will avoid ranked voting in Maine – a unique voting process in Maine that could be used to pick a winner — and whether Republican Sen. David Perdue will avoid a runoff in Georgia. CNN has not called either race. And while Republicans have so far narrowed the path to a majority for Democrats, control of the Senate remains within either party's reach.

But McConnell said he expects to get a “definitive answer” about the results of the North Carolina and Maine Senate races today. Adding that it’s less clear in Michigan where it’s neck-and-neck between Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and GOP challenger John James.

“If my math is correct and we win in North Carolina and Maine, I’ll still the offensive coordinator,” he said.  

1:00 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

The Squad got bigger on Tuesday night. And their leverage is growing.

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

“The Squad” always expected to expand their ranks on Tuesday. What few Democrats predicted, though, was that their House caucus would actually lose seats overall, as appears to be the case with a few swing district incumbents trailing their Republican challengers.

House progressives are in a period of flux. The arrival of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley gave the left a stronger voice than it’s had in decades, but their numbers were modest, even including a few reliable allies. When the rubber hit the road, Speaker Nancy Pelosi could do without their votes – a fact she rarely shied from discussing in public.

But on Tuesday, that dynamic might’ve begun to change.

New York’s Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones, Missouri’s Cori Bush, and Marie Newman in Illinois all look to have stamped their tickets to Capitol Hill, replacing either incumbent or retiring moderate and conservative Democrats. Meanwhile, a handful of moderate Democrats are on pace to either be unseated by Republican challengers or fell short in their own.

The likely result: a bigger “squad” in a slightly smaller Democratic caucus. And with it, more leverage as the next Congress begins.

“It’s been just over a year since Nancy Pelosi dismissed the squad as four people without any following. Not only did they almost double in size, but they and their allies now have a much greater bloc of the Dem Caucus,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz. ”It shouldn’t have taken disastrous election results for Pelosi to understand her plan was flawed, but here we are. Still pretty clear she doesn’t get it.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus had already taken steps to sharpen its posture, and potentially apply some new litmus tests for membership, before the election. But whether the caucus can marshal its members and their votes – or at least apply credible pressure to leadership – when trying to push or scuttle a piece of legislation, remains to be seen.

For now, the idea of a group defection – in the way the right-wing Freedom Caucus broke off from the conservative Republican Study Committee – doesn’t appear to be in the cards. But that can change. The Democratic majority, likely diminished but surely intact, will have difficult decisions to make as soon as they're sworn-in -- especially if Republicans keep hold of the Senate and there are negotiations on what will be a deeply unsatisfying compromise pandemic relief package.

Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid didn’t shy away from the stakes.

“A progressive voting bloc and moving as a cohesive caucus is going to be more important than ever before,” he said.

12:02 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Top GOP House leaders all expected to remain in their posts 

From CNN's Manu Raju

Getty Images
Getty Images

After a surprisingly good night for House Republicans, who appear poised to gain seats but fall short of the majority, GOP aides expect the top three GOP leaders to retain their posts.

Aides said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chair Liz Cheney have been making calls to lock down support to get re-elected for their current spots. 

Additionally, Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, has been making calls to lock down support to keep that job.

You can view real time results of all the House races here.

11:52 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

She just became the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Here's what she wants you to know.

From CNN's Harmeet Kaur

Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush speaks during her election-night watch party on November 3 at campaign headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush speaks during her election-night watch party on November 3 at campaign headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Cori Bush, a progressive activist and veteran of the racial justice protest movement, won a House seat in Missouri, becoming the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress, according to CNN projections.

Bush defeated newcomer Republican Anthony Rogers by a 79% to 19% margin in the race to represent Missouri's 1st congressional district, which covers St. Louis and parts of St. Louis County. She was expected to win the general election after her upset in the Democratic primary over incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay – a Black lawmaker who, along with his father former Rep. William Clay Sr., had represented the district for 50 years.

"This is definitely a night to remember," Bush said in a speech on Tuesday.

Bush, a nurse and a pastor, became an organizer and protest leader after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. She ran on a progressive platform, championing policies including Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal.

"As the first Black woman and also the first nurse and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress, let me say this: To the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers, this is our moment," she said.

Her win is a victory for the progressive left, coming as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – known as the Squad – won reelection. She also joins fellow progressive Jamaal Bowman in New York, who won his House race, according to CNN projections.

Road to the Capitol: This was Bush's third run for Congress. She ran for US Senate and lost in 2016, and unsuccessfully challenged Clay for his House seat in 2018. 

This time, she raised more money and benefited from heightened visibility, securing the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the youth-led Sunrise Movement and other leftist and progressive leaders.

The primary race also took place during a national uprising against racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color.

"To all the counted outs, the forgotten abouts, the marginalized, and the pushed asides. This is our moment," Bush wrote on Twitter. "We came together to end a 52-year family dynasty. That's how we build the political revolution."

12:38 p.m. ET, November 4, 2020

NYC mayor congratulates New Jersey for legalizing marijuana

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

NYC Media
NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio congratulated New Jersey for legalizing marijuana, something he says he believes in and “has to be done the right way” in New York.

“We see it in New Jersey, now it’s time for New York to do it, legalize marijuana the right way,” de Blasio said in a press conference Wednesday.
“Hopefully that will soon be coming in this state as well,” he added.

Voters in New Jersey and Arizona approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday, along with South Dakota, that approved marijuana for both recreational and medical use, according to CNN projections.

South Dakota will be the first state ever to approve medical and recreational marijuana measures at the same time.

Results have not yet been determined for Montana's ballot questions on recreational marijuana and Mississippi's medical marijuana measure.

The initiatives would only be the first step in the process, said John Hudak, deputy director at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in state and federal marijuana policy.

After voters approve the measures, he said, the state legislatures normally would need to set up regulatory structures within each state. Currently, 11 states have legalized full, adult marijuana use.

You can read more detail on each state's marijuana ballot here.

9:50 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Republicans had a better night than expected in the House, but it's still early

Republicans had a better night than expected holding on to some of their House seats. At least two incumbent Democrats were ousted by GOP challengers, and more could come as many races are yet to be called.

On the Democratic side, all four congresswomen of "the Squad" — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — won reelection. Since taking office in January 2019, the lawmakers, all women of color, have electrified the progressive base thanks to their social media savvy but have also attracted controversy, most notably over their criticism of the US relationship with Israel.

Based on the races called so far, here's what the balance of power look like in the House right now:

Democrats have 181 seats. Republicans have 171 seats.

You can view real time results of all the House races here.

9:28 a.m. ET, November 4, 2020

Democrats' path to a Senate majority is narrowing

It's the morning after Election Day, and CNN has not yet projected who will win in 7 of the 35 2020 Senate races. 

Republicans have dramatically narrowed the path for Democrats to take back the majority, preventing upsets in red states such as South Carolina, Iowa and Montana. But with much of the vote still being counted, Democrats could still win four of these remaining races — and the White House — to take the Senate majority.

Here's a look at the states where Senate seats are still up for grabs:

  • Alaska: GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan faces Democrat Al Gross.
  • Arizona: GOP Sen. Martha McSally is up against Democrat Mark Kelly.
  • Georgia: GOP Sen. David Perdue faces Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
  • Georgia special election: This race will go into a runoff between Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock. The special election had featured a divisive, intra-party matchup between Loeffler and GOP Rep. Doug Collins.
  • Maine: GOP Sen. Susan Collins faces a challenge from Democrat Sara Gideon.
  • Michigan: Democratic Sen. Gary Peters faces Republican challenger John James.
  • North Carolina: GOP Sen. Thom Tillis is running against Democrat Cal Cunningham.

Here's a look at where the balance of power currently sits:

Watch breakdown of Senate races: