The Democratic Trifecta Opportunities in 2020, Part 2

When CNalysis first launched on March 1st, one of the first pieces we released highlighted the trifecta opportunities for Democrats in this year’s elections. Since then, much has changed in the political environment, and our predictions for this November reflect those developments.

Though the environment has become more favorable for Democrats since March 1st, they’ve lost two of their trifecta opportunities in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire. This is likely due to the increased popularity of the incumbent Republican Governors Phil Scott and Chris Sununu as a result of their performance handling the pandemic. With these states no longer offering trifecta opportunities for Democrats, there are only three opportunities for Democratic trifectas this November: Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Little has changed in Minnesota’s State Senate since March: the chamber has remained Tilt D in our ratings, though the odds of a Democratic takeover of the chamber have slightly increased due to a strong fundraising effort by incumbent Democrats. It’s the same story in the Minnesota House, where Democrats maintain control. The chamber has remained Likely D in our ratings but the odds of Democrats holding onto their majority has slightly increased thanks to strong fundraising from their incumbents and challengers to Republican incumbents. The state remains the most likely to have a unified government controlled by Democrats, which hasn’t occurred since 2014.

The odds of a Democratic trifecta in North Carolina have increased pretty decently, thanks to incumbent Governor Roy Cooper (D) expanding his lead in the polls and thus changing our rating for his race from Lean D to Likely D, as well as incredibly strong fundraising among Democratic candidates for the North Carolina House of Representatives, which created enough rating changes toward Democrats to move the chamber from Lean R to Tilt R in our ratings. However, not much has changed in our ratings for the North Carolina State Senate, which will be the toughest lift for Democrats in the state, since our rating for the chamber is Lean R. In March, it was the 4th best opportunity for Democrats to create a trifecta, but now that Vermont and New Hampshire are off the table, it’s the 2nd best.

Pennsylvania Democrats have slightly increased their chances of unified government under Governor Tom Wolf (D), thanks to the incredible fundraising among their candidates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. However, the House remains Lean R in our ratings, though it is not too far away from being moved to Tilt R given the current odds. If Democrats continue to show their strong fundraising in the chamber when the next campaign finance report on September 22, expect the chamber’s rating to move leftward then. Similar to North Carolina though, the State Senate remains to be a tough lift, where candidates in must-win Republican districts are only doing either poorly in fundraising or just ‘okay.’ Democrats need to win all 6 competitive districts in the chamber up this year, 4 of which are held by Republicans, in order to create a tied chamber so that Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) can become the tie-breaker. The odds of this, though, are at just 6% in our forecast, so the odds of a Democratic trifecta in Pennsylvania are as thin as paper. Still, it remains the 3rd best opportunity for Democratic trifectas this year.