2020 watch
September 18, 2020

Polls are pretty universally looking in Democrats' favors this fall.

Both national and swing state polls so far give Democratic nominee Joe Biden the advantage this fall, with FiveThirtyEight giving Biden a 77 percent chance of winning to President Trump's 22 percent. And in its Senate election forecast rolled out Friday, FiveThirtyEight also gave Democrats a slight edge when it comes to winning that body as well.

Several Senate seats Republicans currently hold are at risk of flipping to Democrats, FiveThirtyEight predicts. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Joni Ernst's (R-Iowa) races are essentially tossups, while Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Sen. Thom Tillis' (R-N.C.) seats tip in Democrats' favors. Sen. Martha McSally's (R-Ariz.) seat meanwhile seems safely headed to Democrat Mark Kelly.

Winning just four of those seats would be enough to give Democrats the majority in the Senate, though they may have to make up for a loss from Sen. Doug Jones (D) in Alabama; Jones has a 28 in 100 chance of holding his seat. That ground could be made up in Montana, where Gov. Steve Bullock (D) has about the same chance of beating current Sen. Steve Daines (R).

In all, FiveThirtyEight predicts Democrats have a 58 in 100 chance of winning Senate control. Find the whole forecast here. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 24, 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is seriously contemplating endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, several Democratic officials with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.

Harris dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race in December, and although she sparred with Biden during debates last summer — most famously when she criticized him for once opposing school busing — they are back on good terms and talk often, the officials said.

She likely won't announce an endorsement until after President Trump's Senate impeachment trial is over, the Times reports, and she understands the importance of her decision, especially since two of her fellow female senators — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — are also still in the presidential race.

Biden has said he "of course" would consider asking Harris to join his ticket if he is the Democratic nominee. By giving him an endorsement, it could secure her spot as his running mate — or, if he chooses someone else to be vice president, his administration's attorney general. Catherine Garcia

August 14, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is doing great in the polls — but for an entirely different race.

Hickenlooper, the moderate former governor of Colorado, is expected to end his 2020 presidential bid on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday night. He has had a hard time raising money, and in some national polls, he registers zero percent support.

However, a poll released earlier this week of 600 Democratic primary voters in Colorado showed that if Hickenlooper decides to shift gears and run for Senate next year, he would have a huge lead over the Democrats now in the race — 61 percent of respondents said they preferred Hickenlooper, with only 10 percent supporting Mike Johnston and 8 percent backing Andrew Romanoff.

The Democrat who wins the primary will face off against Sen. Cory Gardner (R), considered the most vulnerable GOP senator up for re-election next year. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said Hickenlooper's "massive lead" in the poll is "a function first and foremost of his personal popularity. Additionally, primary voters see Hickenlooper as the best candidate to defeat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and help Democrats win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which the poll shows is a key priority for primary voters." Catherine Garcia

May 29, 2019

Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison announced on Tuesday night that he will run for Senate against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Harrison, now an official with the Democratic National Committee, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow he will formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday morning. "What we are seeing with Lindsey Graham right now makes you question his character," he said, adding that he used to think Graham "was a statesman" able to "stand above the fray and help solve the issues. But I've seen that he's what George Will called 'a political windsock.'"

Graham, once one of President Trump's harshest critics, has transformed himself into one of his staunchest allies, and won re-election in 2014 by more than 15 points. Many people view South Carolina and other southern states as firmly red, but Harrison said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) winning in 2018 and Stacey Abrams coming close in the Georgia gubernatorial race shows times are changing. "We're on the verge of a renaissance in the South, a new South," he said. "I really hope people will help join me in this effort." Catherine Garcia

May 28, 2019

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) on Tuesday revealed that after he returned home from serving in Iraq, he was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Moulton, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Marine veteran, said he wants people to know "they're not alone and they should feel empowered to get the treatment they need." Moulton also unveiled his plan to help veterans with mental health treatment, including requiring mandatory counseling for everyone returning from a combat deployment; adopting alternative therapies, including the use of cannabis; establishing a National Mental Health Crisis Hotline; and making mental health check-ups an annual event for active-duty service members and veterans.

Moulton's plan also calls for funding yearly mental health screenings for every high school student in the United States. "We must recognize mental health matters to everyone," he said. "Tens of millions of Americans deal with mental health conditions each year, including some of the most talented and accomplished people in the world. We owe it to our country to provide the best mental health care." Catherine Garcia

May 13, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden believes "we should take a really hard look at" breaking up large tech companies like Facebook, he revealed during an interview Monday with The Associated Press.

He is the latest 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to weigh in on the issue, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading the charge for more regulations. Warren has shown there's a "very strong case to be made for" cracking down on such companies, Biden said, adding that President Trump isn't doing much to enforce antitrust laws.

Regarding trade, Biden said he doesn't regret backing the North American Free Trade Agreement while he was a senator. "Fair trade is important," he said. "Not free trade. Fair trade. And I think that back in the time during the Clinton administration, it made sense at the moment."

He also told AP that should he get the nomination, when it comes time to pick a running mate, it has to be someone who shares "the same basic philosophic view of the world." If he doesn't receive the nomination but a Democrat wins the election, he wouldn't say no to working in their administration. "I learned a long time ago, don't rule out anything," Biden said. "If I can be helpful if I weren't the nominee, I would do whatever I could." Catherine Garcia

April 8, 2019

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) announced on Monday's Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he is running for president.

Swalwell, 38, is the 18th Democrat to enter the 2020 race, and the third under 40. He's also the ninth sitting member of Congress to throw his hat in the ring, The Wall Street Journal notes. He was first elected to Congress in 2012, after serving on the city council in Dublin, California, and as an Alameda County prosecutor.

Swalwell told Colbert he sees "a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people at home. Nothing gets done." He's talked with teachers and truckers who "feel like they are just running in place and it's not adding up to anything," Swalwell said, as well as young people saddled with too much student loan debt and kids who are afraid of gun violence in their schools. "I'm ready to solve these problems," he declared. "I'm running for president of the United States. It's official." Catherine Garcia

March 14, 2019

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic former congressman from El Paso, officially announced his candidacy for his party's 2020 presidential nomination on Thursday morning, throwing his hat into a crowded ring full of prominent Democrats. He had told local El Paso TV station KTSM he was entering the race in a text message Wednesday night and teased the decision in a new Vanity Fair profile.

O'Rourke rose to national prominence last year during his run to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a race he narrowly lost. He has few big legislative accomplishments to his name and no signature proposal, but his success with raising money through small donations, ability to win over voters at town halls around Texas, and familiarity with the U.S.-Mexico border make him a potentially formidable contender.

"I want to be president because I feel that we can bring this country together," O'Rourke told the El Paso Times. "We can unify around our ambitions, our aspirations, the big things that we know we are capable of when all of us have the opportunity to contribute. ... I just want to serve this country so badly to the highest of my ability, and I believe that is serving as president of the United States." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads