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The US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

The stakes of the Senate, explained

The contest to shift the balance of power in the US Senate is fierce. Here’s what you need to know about the most important races.

The battle for control of the US Senate is just as important as the one for the White House.

Even if Democratic nominee Joe Biden becomes president, his chances of actually delivering on a bold agenda fall significantly if Republicans retain control of the Senate. A gridlocked Congress has meant little progress on key issues like health care, climate change, and now economic recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When it comes to this year’s Senate races, multiple states look highly competitive for Democrats, including Colorado, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia, Montana, and Iowa. Meanwhile, Republicans are on offense in two states: Alabama and Michigan. With a large and expanding Senate map in 2020, Vox is covering the key races, interviewing candidates, and explaining the policy implications if Democrats retake the Senate. Here’s what you need to know about the most important Senate races taking place across the nation this year.