Understand The 2022 Midterm Elections
Why are these midterm races so important?This years races could tip the balance of power in Congress to Republicans, hobbling President Bidens agenda for the second half of his term. They will also test former President Donald J. Trumps role as a G.O.P. kingmaker. Heres what to know:
What are the midterm elections?Midterms take place two years after a presidential election, at the midpoint of a presidential term hence the name. This year, a lot of seats are up for grabs, including all 435 House seats, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and 36 of 50 governorships.
What do the midterms mean for Biden?With slim majorities in Congress, Democrats have struggled to pass Mr. Bidens agenda. Republican control of the House or Senate would make the presidents legislative goals a near-impossibility.
What are the races to watch?Only a handful of seats will determine if Democrats maintain control of the House over Republicans, and a single state could shift power in the 50-50 Senate. Here are 10 races to watch in the House and Senate, as well as several key governors contests.
When are the key races taking place?The primary gauntlet is already underway. Closely watched races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia were held in May, with more taking place through the summer. Primaries run until September before the general election on Nov. 8.
The New Hampshire Republicans Targeting Maggie Hassan
The dismal approval numbers of Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, have emboldened the G.O.P.s hopes of a pickup. But Republicans could not recruit Gov. Chris Sununu or Kelly Ayotte, whom Ms. Hassan unseated by about 1,000 votes in 2016. Several lesser-known Republicans have stepped forward, including Chuck Morse, the State Senate president, and Don Bolduc, a tough-talking retired Army general
Minnesota: Jason Lewis Vs Tina Smith
– Incumbent: Tina Smith – 270toWin forecast rating: likely Democratic- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: 93 in 100 Democratic
Ever since Tina Smith was appointed to her Senate seat, following the resignation of then-Sen. Al Franken due to sexual misconduct allegations, she has enjoyed high approval ratings from her constituents. While Franken faced tough challenges and a recount to win his seat, Smith, the former lieutenant governor of the state, is enjoying an authoritative lead in the polls over her Republican challenger, Congressman Jason Lewis.
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Does A Democratic Shellacking Loom
One of the most regular patterns in American politics is the tendency of the presidents party to lose seats in Congress in midterm elections. The presidents party has lost House seats in 17 of 19 midterms and Senate seats in 13 of 19 midterms since World War II. Across all 19 midterm elections, the presidents party has lost an average of about 27 seats in the House and roughly 3.5 seats in the Senate.
While midterm elections rarely bring good news for the occupant of the White House, the magnitude of the losses suffered by the presidents party can vary widely. Not every midterm election results in a shellacking, as President Obama famously described the results of the 2010 midterm in which his party lost 64 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate. Table 1 presents a classification of midterm elections since World War II based on the magnitude of the losses suffered by the presidents party.
These 7 States Will Decide Control Of The Senate
Republicans only need to net one seat to win control of the Senate. These are the swing states each party is targeting.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is leading the pack in his state’s Democratic Senate primary, the party’s best pickup opportunity in its fight to keep control of the chamber. | Mark Pynes/The Patriot-News via AP
05/17/2022 04:31 AM EDT
Control of the Senate is the biggest storyline of the 2022 midterm elections. With Democrats holding a tight 50-50 majority, Republicans only need to net one seat to win control. The situations looking favorable for the GOP, but their path is filled with landmines especially in primaries across the map.
Here are the seven most competitive Senate races to watch that will determine control of the chamber.
Before we dive in, we invite you to join our Telegram channel, where well keep you posted with the most important updates around key races this year with a special focus on control of the Senate.
Now lets get to it.
Your guide to the May 17 primaries
- Who’s got primaries? Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania
- What are the key races? PA SEN , NC SEN , NC-01 and NC-04 , NC-11 and NC-13 , OR-05 and OR-06 , PA-12
This is Democrats best pickup opportunity in their fight to hold on to the chamber. GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring, subjecting Republicans to a messy primary as they survey the Senate landscape.
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Republican Memo Warns Us Senate At Risk Of Falling Into Democratic Control
Memo summarizes senate races of 10 states and how the outcome of each could determine who controls the Senate
A memo by Senate Republicans campaign arm has admitted that control of the upper chamber is at risk and that Democrats could win the Senate in Novembers elections.
The September 2020 political update from the National Republican Senatorial Committee summarizes the state of the race of 10 states with Senate races around the country and how the outcome of each could factor into whether Republicans or Democrats control the chamber in January.
The memo, obtained by the Guardian, has been circulating among political operatives, donors and interested parties. It comes just shy of 50 days before the November 2020 elections.
The next few weeks will define the future of our country for generations to come, the NRSC memo reads.
Memos like these are often shaped like dispassionate updates but in actuality they are often used to convince interested parties that races slipping out of reach are still in play. They are also often used to juice donations to lagging candidates and counter trending narratives.
Democrats need to pick up three or four seats to take control of the Senate. The fact that the NRSC memo categorizes seven Senate races as ones that simply cant be lost or deserve serious attention suggests that its possible, but not certain that Democrats can take control of the Senate.
A Democratic Effort Against Ron Johnson In Wisconsin
Several Democrats are trying to oust Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican whose approval rating has fallen amid an onslaught of television ads criticizing him for casting doubts about Mr. Bidens election. They include Mandela Barnes, the lieutenant governor Sarah Godlewski, the state treasurer Alex Lasry, a vice president for the Milwaukee Bucks and Tom Nelson, the top elected official in Outagamie County.
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North Carolina: Open Seat Held By Republicans
Chance of Flipping Parties: 23%Rank in our Last Top Ten: 4thChange: -3State Forecast – Live
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley narrowly lost her 2020 re-election, in one of the closest elections in North Carolinas history. She fell short by a mere 401 votes, albeit an impressive finish, given that President Joe Biden and Senate Nominee Cal Cunningham both lost by more than 70,000 votes. That election result suggests Beasley is a strong candidate.
The 2022 cycle will likely be tougher for Democrats than 2020, so to win the senate race, Beasley will need to improve on her past performance and outperform her party in what is expected to be a challenging midterm election. Beasley has been competitive in limited polling conducted in this race shes outpaced all potential GOP opponents in fundraising. Importantly, Beasley has the chance to make history for North Carolina, as the third black woman to win a senate seat.
In third place is a former evangelical preacher and current Congressman Mark Walker unsurprisingly, he enjoys strong support from evangelical voters. At Donald Trumps prodding, Walker nearly dropped his senate campaign to run for re-election to Congress. However, right after a tentative agreement was made, the North Carolinas State Supreme Court struck down their congressional map for partisan gerrymandering, and Walker changed his mind and decided to stay in the race.
Nebraska: Ben Sasse Vs Chris Janicek
– Incumbent: Ben Sasse – 270toWin forecast rating: solid Republican- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: > 99 in 100 Republican
Republican Ben Sasse may benefit from discord within Nebraskas Democratic Party, as the winner of the Democratic primary, businessman Chris Janicek, lost the support of his own party after sexually charged text messages surfaced. After the scandal, the Democratic Party endorsed Preston Love Jr. as a write-in candidate. In addition to the already bizarre situation, audio of Sasse criticizing Trump leaked to the press, leading Trump, who initially endorsed Sasse, to call for Sasses replacement in a .
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Wyoming: Cynthia Lummis Vs Merav Ben
– Incumbent: Mike Enzi – 270toWin forecast rating: solid Republican- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: > 99 in 100 Republican
The low-populated state of Wyoming generally elects Republican officials, and the 2020 Senate race is unlikely to change this. Incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi is retiring, and looking to succeed him is former Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis. Her challenger is ecologist Merav Ben-David, and although she is lagging in the polls, the winner of this election will end up being the first female senator to represent Wyoming.
Seats That Changed Party Hands
2020-2021 special elections
In 2020-2021, special elections took place in Georgia and Arizona. Democrats picked up both seats, defeating Republican incumbents. The seats are up for election in 2022.
|Senate seats that changed party hands, 2020-2021 special elections|
In 2016the last time these 34 seats were up for regular electiontwo seats changed party hands. Democrats picked up both seats, defeating Republican incumbents.
|Senate seats that changed party hands, 2016|
All 435 U.S. House seats will be up for election.
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Democratic Target: North Carolina
Forecast: Leans Republican
A protracted GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr could set the stage for a competitive general election. After struggling for months, Donald Trumps pick Ted Budd built a commanding advantage over the final months of the primary ending speculation that the former president badly miscalculated by endorsing the little-known House member.
On the Democratic side, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has cleared the primary field. But Democrats havent won a presidential or Senate election in North Carolina since 2008.
Nevada: A Fight Over Who Would Fight Harder
A war of words over Mr. Trumps loss in 2020 is likely to animate the Senate race in Nevada, where the leading Republican, Adam Laxalt, has pushed efforts to reverse Mr. Bidens 33,000-vote win in the state. He has called the falsehood of a stolen election the hottest topic of his campaign this year. He has the backing of both Mr. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.
Ms. Cortez Masto, first elected in 2016, was a protégé of Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader who died last year.
Ive always been in tough races, Ms. Cortez Masto said in an interview. I know that Mitch McConnell will continue to put millions of dollars into this race.
Both Mr. Laxalt and Ms. Cortez Masto are former state attorneys general. Mr. Laxalt is hammering on fears of rising crime, undocumented immigrants and inflation. The states tourist-dependent economy has the nations second-worst unemployment rate at 6.4 percent.
Mr. Laxalt has accused Ms. Cortez Masto of failing to stick up for the police and denounce violent crime. Vegas cant survive if violence continues to increase, he said at a rally this month. Were a tourism economy. People are scared to come here.
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Republicans Fear Cochran Replacement Puts Senate Seat At Risk
President Trump and Republican leaders are concerned that retiring Sen. Thad Cochrans replacement will be vulnerable in a special election because she was once a Democrat, making the seat susceptible to a challenge from a candidate opposed by the Republican establishment.
State Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith was tapped by Gov. Phil Bryant to serve out the rest of Cochrans term after he leaves April 1 over health issues. Hyde-Smith will be the first female senator from Mississippi, boosting the ranks of women in the Senate to a record 23.
White House officials reportedly warned Bryant that Trump wouldnt endorse Hyde-Smith if he appointed her. GOP leaders are also staying on the sidelines for now, after previously urging Bryant to appoint himself to the seat.
A special election to serve out the last two years of Cochrans term will take place on Nov. 6 in a jungle primary, where all candidates from both parties compete in the same race. If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to a runoff three weeks later.
Republicans are worried that Hyde-Smith, who switched her party affiliation to Republican in 2010, is a poor candidate to take on conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel.
Internal Republican polling showed Hyde-Smith behind both McDaniel and a Democratic candidate, Politico reported.
GOP strategists who support Hyde-Smith defended Trumps reluctance to pick sides in the special election.
Oregon: Jo Rae Perkins Vs Jeff Merkley
– Incumbent: Jeff Merkley – 270toWin forecast rating: solid Democratic- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: > 99 in 100 Democratic
Generally liberal Sen. Jeff Merkley is the incumbent for the Senate race in the generally liberal state of Oregon. On the other end of the political spectrum is his opponent Jo Rae Perkins, who publicly supports the far-right conspiracy theory known as QAnon. Merkleys constituents are not taking to the views of Perkins, and Merkley enjoys a strong lead over her campaign.
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New Mexico: Mark Ronchetti Vs Ben Ray Lujn
– Incumbent: Tom Udall – 270toWin forecast rating: likely Democratic- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: 94 in 100 Democratic
Democrat Tom Udall is retiring from the Senate, leaving his seat wide openhowever, Democrats are still expected to retain the seat. Congressman Ben Ray Luján is the leading candidate for the 2020 race, surpassing his opponent, Republican Mark Ronchetti, by 10 points in an October poll.
Georgia: Senator Raphael Warnock
Chance of Flipping Parties: 37%Rank in our Last Top Ten: 2ndChange: -2State Forecast – Live
If the election were today, Senator Warnock could be destined for defeat against Football Star Herschel Walker, the almost certain nominee for the GOP. Walker has taken a thin 0.7% lead in our polling average as Democrats numbers have slid nationally against the GOP.
Perversely, the fact that the polling is so close is good news for Warnock, because he has plenty of material to use against Walker and ample time to narrow the gap. Walker has a graveyard packed with skeletons that could derail his candidacy, and Republicans are taking a huge risk nominating him in one of the most important Senate races of the cycle.
Among a long list of vulnerabilities, Walker has openly admitted he almost killed someone for delivering a car a day late. He moved from Texas a month before running for Senate in Georgia. His issues with his ex-wife are the most dangerous to his candidacy. She told ABC News that at one point, he pointed a pistol at her head and said, Im going to blow your fing brains out.
Those threats, according to sworn testimony by her family under oath, kept happening even after they divorced. A judge found the threat serious enough to issue a restraining order against him to protect her.
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South Carolina Georgia Too
Two more Republican races to watch are Republican Senator Lindsey Grahams tougher-than-expected re-election contest against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, and the race of new Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who must win a king of the hill special election after being appointed by Georgias governor to replace a retiring senator.
Republican Primaries In Battleground States
Of the seven battleground races in the Senate, the Pennsylvania Senate primary may be the most high profile for the GOP this cycle. Republican Sen. Pat Toomeys retirement attracted a bevy of candidates to the race, but the GOP field has now developed into a close contest between former hedge fund manager David McCormick and physician and TV personality Mehmet Öz.
Both men are independently wealthy and have largely self-funded their campaigns Öz has loaned his campaign $11 million, McCormick nearly $7 million. But theyve also received ample help from allied outside groups, which have spent $18.6 million supporting or opposing the two frontrunners in the primary, according to OpenSecrets. McCormick and his allies have tried to cast Öz as a Hollywood celebrity out of touch with conservative values, while Öz and his team have sought to portray McCormick as a wealthy job outsourcer and friend of China.
Bottom line: Whoever advances from the GOP primary faces a highly competitive race in November, likely against either Lt. Gov. John Fetterman or Rep. Conor Lamb on the Democratic side, which is why Pennsylvanias Senate race is one of the most important battleground races in 2022.
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Arkansas: Tom Cotton Vs Ricky Dale Harrington Jr
– Incumbent: Tom Cotton – 270toWin forecast rating: solid Republican- Chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight: > 99 in 100 Republican
Close Trump ally Tom Cotton does not have a Democratic challenger for his seat, as the Arkansas Democratic Party failed to install a nominee. As such, Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. is the only major challenger, but Cotton has the only realistic chance of winning the race. Despite a debate scheduled between the two, Cotton refused to debate Harrington, with the latter appearing at the debate event alone.