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Charlotte Talks Politics: The Race For The United States Senate


Monday, June 15, 2020

Control of the United States Senate this November could come down to North Carolina. Millions of dollars will be spent, polls show a dead-heat and the results will impact both the state, and the entire nation, for years to come.

Democrats consider 2020 a rare opportunity to take control of the Senate, with close races in Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina. Democrats would have to net at least four seats to have a Senate majority.

But the pandemic will complicate voting, and Georgia’s primary "meltdown" last week is something North Carolina hopes to avoid. A recent North Carolina bill looks to expand mail-in voting options, although voter ID laws remain undecided in the courts.

Trump and Biden might affect the Senate races as North Carolina’s moderate Democrats are expected to increase turnout, although Trump’s rallies and endorsements are also expected to be a major factor for Republican’s efforts to get out the vote.

In South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham handily won his primary and will face Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, who ran unopposed.

Meanwhile, polls suggest Gov. Roy Cooper will easily win reelection, but it remains to be seen if his handling of the coronavirus and RNC will impact voters’ decisions.

As Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham are in a virtual tie and both sides have millions in reserves, we sit down with a panel of experts to discuss how North Carolina’s politics will reverberate throughout the country.


Susan Roberts, professor of political science at Davidson College

Michael Bitzer, chair of political science, professor of politics and history at Catawba College

Chris Cooper, professor and department head of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.