Two weeks to go, and no one can say with any certainty which party is going to win control the Senate. We’ve seen an unusual number of polling swings in the past few months, and there’s no telling how many more may come as we approach November 8th.
The House is another animal altogether; there’s almost a unanimous consensus that the Republicans are going to win the majority. One easy reason is history: in nearly every midterm election, the president’s party — in this case, the Democrats — lose seats. President Trump’s Republicans lost 42 seats, and their majority, in 2018. President Obama’s Democrats lost a whopping 63 seats, and their majority, in 2010. And so it goes. Joe Biden’s approval numbers are not good.
But it’s more than that. There was a time this summer when it felt that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was going to inspire abortion-rights voters into a massive turnout on behalf of Democratic candidates. That may have been the case for awhile. But each month seems to bring worse economic news
Look for a Republican House, under the likely speakership of Kevin McCarthy, to not only pass conservative social legislation — maybe a version of Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban? — but to also ramp up investigations into President Biden (impeach!) and Hunter Biden (lock him up!). Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ), who had been stripped of their committee assignments under the current Pelosi-led House, would get them restored. Jim Jordan, the firebrand conservative from Ohio, would become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; he might even be considering challenging McCarthy for speaker. Troublemakers Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, along with most of those who voted to impeach Trump, will be gone. All of this is likely to happen, which puts a damper on those who had hopes for the last two years of the Biden agenda.
But for now, it’s back to the Senate. Here’s the Political Junkie scorecard for 2022.
DEMOCRATIC SEATS (14):
Safe Democratic (8): Padilla (CA), Blumenthal (CT), Schatz (HI), Duckworth (IL), Van Hollen (MD), Schumer (NY), Wyden (OR), Open Vermont (Leahy seat).
Democrat Favored (2): Bennet (CO), Murray (WA).
Races to Watch (3): Kelly (AZ)-lean Democrat; Warnock (GA)-Tossup to lean Democrat; Hassan (NH)-Tossup to lean Democrat.
Potential Loss (1): Cortez Masto (NV)-Tossup to lean Republican.
REPUBLICAN SEATS (21):
Safe Republican (13): Open Alabama (Shelby seat), Murkowski (AK), Boozman (AR), Crapo (ID), Young (IN), Moran (KS), Kennedy (LA), Open Missouri (Blunt seat), Hoeven (ND), Lankford (OK), Open Oklahoma (Inhofe seat), Scott (SC), Thune (SD).
Republican Favored (3): Grassley (IA), Paul (KY), Lee (UT).
Races to Watch (4): Rubio (FL)-lean Republican; Open North Carolina (Burr seat)-lean Republican; Open Ohio (Portman seat)-Tossup to Lean Republican; Johnson (WI)-lean Republican.
Potential Loss (1): Open Pennsylvania (Toomey seat)-Tossup to lean Democrat.
ON THE AIR:
LATEST PODCAST: “Keystone State May Be Key To Senate Majority” (Episode #393), Oct. 22.
ON THE CALENDAR:
October 25 — Fetterman-Oz Senate debate in Pennsylvania.
November 8 — ELECTION DAY. Includes jungle primary in Louisiana and mayoral runoff in Los Angeles.
December 6 — Georgia runoffs, if necessary.
December 10 — Louisiana runoffs, if necessary.
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This Day In Political History: Campaigning for a third term, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), along with his wife, daughter and five other people, perishes in a plane crash near Eveleth, Minn., 11 days before the election. Democrats name former Vice President Walter Mondale to replace Wellstone on the ballot, but he loses to former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman (R) (Oct. 25, 2002).