add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Midterms 2022 Overview - BANG.
Andrew Guarino / Gavel Media

Midterms 2022 Overview

The race towards the 2022 midterm congressional elections are underway; with many Republican and Democratic primaries having ended, the candidates are now preparing to unite their respective bases and shift to general election mode. This election is a particularly hot one to look out for since it is a presidential midterm election, and historically the president’s party tends to lose seats in both the House and the Senate. President Joe Biden and the Democrats are looking to buck this tradition, and they are at least hopeful that they can maintain if not gain seats in the Senate. 

The Pennsylvania Senatorial Election sees retiring Republican Pat Toomey’s seat as a likely flip to Democrat John Fetterman against his opponent, Republican Mehmet Oz. Two other Democratic seats in the Senate, Mark Kelly’s and Raphael Warnock’s seats in Arizona and Georgia, respectively, are close, but the Democrats still have the advantage due to unpopular and divisive Republican candidates as each maintains a slight lead over their Trump-backed opponents. 

However, it’s not all positives for the Democrats, as most projections still expect them to lose in the House. House elections historically have been determined much more on popular attitudes towards the parties themselves; though making a comeback, the Democrats are still blamed for inflation and gas prices. Recent polls suggest almost half of voters this election are focused on economic issues, and 52% of respondents agreed with the Republican Party’s stance on the economy compared to 38% who aligned with the Democratic Party. The around 20 seats that they are projected to lose, along with their already slim control over the House, means that they will fall into minority status, granting the GOP greater leverage over economic packages and spending bills as President Biden enters the second half of his term. 

Looking at the gubernatorial races, the field remains relatively unchanged. The only race as of now that could be considered close is the Arizona race, which could be a flip from Republican to Democratic. The incumbent, Republican Doug Ducey, is term-limited, so the election is between former local-TV news anchor Kari Lake for the Republicans and current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for the Democrats. A victory in Arizona would still leave the Democrats with only 24 governorships, with a likely increase of 2 in a midterm year. Democrat Stacey Abrams is looking to once again dethrone the incumbent Republican Brian Kemp in the Georgia gubernatorial election, but it looks that unless something big happens, history may repeat itself. 

Some of the more interesting races to follow during this midterms cycle include New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District and Florida's 10th Congressional District. The winner of the Republican primary in New Hampshire is 25 year old Karoline Leavitt. Leavitt is only the second Generation Z candidate to make it to a general election, and she is the first Republican candidate to do so after Maxwell Frost, the current Democratic nominee for Florida’s 10th District. Frost is favored to win in his district, while Leavitt is not in as favorable of a position. Frost would also be the first member of Congress of Afro-Cuban descent if he wins in November

This midterms cycle is also a test to determine what influence Donald Trump still has on the Republican Party. Candidates that he backed for House and Senate seats have been faring quite well, and while many lost early in their respective primaries, those who had the staying power to last till the end won handedly. While it is true that most of his endorsements have been for incumbents who were already slated to win, his endorsements of candidates in open seat races have an 89% win rate, and his challengers to incumbent republicans have had a 67% win rate. Challengers and open races together make up only 24 races, but it remains to be seen how powerful his word still is as general elections close in. Additionally, primaries for elections within states have gone well for Trump, with even Massachusetts’s election for the state attorney general seeing Republicans select Geoff Diehl, a Trump-backed candidate, as the gubernatorial candidate. Though his odds are slim, Diehl is proof that even in the midst of criminal investigations, Trump holds a considerable amount of sway in the GOP.

Patrick Dumitrescu
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