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Here are the Senate seats that will be critical in 2020

Correction: The maps in this piece have been updated to reflect the current Senate.

While nearly two dozen candidates are competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, that party is facing the opposite predicament in the Senate: not enough top-tier candidates are running, in part because many strong contenders are in the presidential race instead. Lisa Desjardins reports on the 2020 Senate races that could change the party power balance in the Senate.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    While nearly two dozen Democrats are competing for the presidential nomination, the party's strategy to win back the U.S. Senate is facing serious trouble.

    One issue, some of the candidates that Democrats say have the best chance of winning Senate seats are instead running for president.

    Lisa Desjardins breaks down the state of the 2020 Senate races.

  • John Hickenlooper:

    Today, I'm ending my campaign for president.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    A glimmer of hope this week for Democrats' battle to retake the Senate in 2020. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper exited the presidential race, lost in a crowd of Democrats, leaving the door open for a Senate run.

  • John Hickenlooper:

    So many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate, they remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Democratic leaders have serious thoughts about it, too, because Hickenlooper may be their best shot at defeating Colorado's Republican Senator Cory Gardner. And that is one of Democrats' best pickup opportunities nationwide.

    Right now, Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate. For Democrats to take over, they need to flip three or four of those, depending on which party wins the presidency and can break Senate ties.

    Colorado is one of a handful of states with that potential. Democrats are also targeting Susan Collins' seat in Maine and Martha McSally's in Arizona, where Democrats have recruited retired astronaut Mark Kelly. Another possibility, Thom Tillis' seat in North Carolina.

    So far, Democrats have seen much of the party's star power tied up in the race for the White House, like Montana governor Steve Bullock.

  • Steve Bullock:

    And that's how we win back the places that we lost.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We don't know whether you're going to be on the debate stage.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Earlier this month, Bullock told "NewsHour"'s Judy Woodruff he doesn't plan on making a Senate bid.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Are you ruling it out?

  • Steve Bullock:

    I'm ruling it out.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    And then there's Texas. Democrats are hoping yet another presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke, opts instead for a second Senate run in 2020.

  • Beto O’Rourke:

    Thank you, Texas.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    After narrowly losing to Senator Ted Cruz in 2018.

  • Beto O’Rourke:

    I'm running for president. And I'm taking this fight directly to Donald Trump.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But just this week, O'Rourke pushed back.

  • Beto O’Rourke:

    I will not, in any scenario, run for the United States Senate. I'm running for president. I'm running for this country.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Part of the challenge for Democrats is, they must also defend their own seats, and may be vulnerable in Alabama, Michigan and New Hampshire.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Corey Lewandowski loves your state, loves New Hampshire.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In New Hampshire last night, President Trump talked up a potential Senate bid by his former campaign chairman, Corey Lewandowski.

  • Corey Lewandowski:

    This is Trump country!

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Lewandowski would face Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen if he did enter the race, though the state's Republican leaders have largely balked at the suggestion.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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