US Election 2020: All Other Races Alongside Trump-Biden Explained

Races in 35 Senate seats, all of the House of Representative and 11 state governor are also on the cards on November 3.

Come November 3, the United States will witness elections to 35 seats in the Senate, to all 435 seats in the House of Representatives which will accompany the high-octane election between sitting president Donald Trump and his challenger, former vice-president Joe Biden. The Senate and the House form the two chambers of the US Congress, the United States of America's federal legislature, and its outcome of the election to these chambers - which will be the 117th Congress - will shape the efficacy of the incoming president's administration.

While the presidential election is indirect (as explained here), the elections to Senate and the House are directly elected by the people.

Also Read: Race To The White House: How Does The Electoral College Work?

At the state level, 11 states will witness gubernatorial fights - that is the state executive - and 86 of the country's 99 state legislative chambers will also see elections next Tuesday.

BOOM rounds up the elections.

House of Representatives

It is the lower house of US Congress, consisting of 435 voting members (and thus having 218 at the majority mark), having a two-year terms, as outlined in the US Constitution.

Alongside legislative powers, the house is in-charge of impeaching federal officials and for initiating revenue bills, the function being similar to the exclusive powers of the Lok Sabha. If no presidential candidate gets 270 votes required in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives elects the president.

In 2018, the Democratic Party took the house with 235 seats.This year, polls indicate that the House will remain with the Democrats.


The Senate is the upper house of US Congress, having 100 members - 2 from each of the 50 US states regardless of population. Like the Rajya Sabha in India, each Senator has a terms of six year, as a third of the Senate is up for election every two years. The Senate is tasked with confirming the appointment of federal officials among its exclusive powers, and appointing the Vice-President of the United States in case no candidate secures a majority in the Electoral College.

This year, 35 seats are in the fray - 33 seats are up for election due to an expiry of its terms, and two seats due to extraordinary circumstances - the death John McCain and the resignation Johnny Isakson.

Of these 35 seats, 12 have Democratic incumbents and 23 Republican. Since the Republicans currently have 53 seats in the Senate (and thus the majority), the Democrats would be looking to flip a net of 4 seats or more to gain a majority past 51; that is 45 democrats, 2 independents who caucus with them and 4 additional seats (or more) gained from the Republicans to equal or exceed 51.

Should Democrats manage to flip only a net of only 3 seats - thus giving the Democratic-independent combine 50 seats and the Republicans 50 seats - the functioning of the Senate for the next two years would boil down to who wins the presidential election. The Vice-President of the United States, like India, is the ex-officio presiding officer of the Senate, and is authorised to cast a tie-breaker vote in a case of tie.

This year, polls indicate that the Senate is most likely going to flip into Democratic hands.

State-level races

Just like the President of the United State is the real head of the US federal executive, the governor of a state is the real head of a state executive. On November 3, 11 states are poised to witness elections for the governorship - or gubernatorial races.

Along with these states, 2 US territories - namely Puerto Rico and American Samoa - will also elect their governors.

For the exception of Nebraska, the 50 states with the US have two houses of State Congress each, just like the federal US Congress, giving the combined houses of all state legislatures 99. Of these 99 houses, 86 are slated to witness an election, according to data from non-partisan research group National Conference of State Legislatures.

Updated On: 2020-11-02T14:25:14+05:30
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