Today I wanted to take one final look at the state of the 2022 Senate races while the calendar still says 2021. I know its still a bit early but part of the fun of politics is guessing and projecting. At heart I’m just another political junkie.
Let’s start with a look at the “landscape”. There are 34 seats up in November. 20 are currently held by Republicans and 14 by Democrats. The current Senate is evenly divided at 50 seats apiece. Just the numbers indicate a slight edge for the Democrats but history tells us that the party that holds the White House almost always losses congressional seats in the next midterm. Will that happen in 2022? We will find out.
My initial look rates 14 of the GOP seats as holds and 6 as tossups. On the Democratic side my count is 12 holds and two tossups. At this point I cannot count any seat as a definite loss for either party.
The Republican tossups (and some as more unsure than others) are the retiring Richard Burr’s seat in North Carolina, Chuck Grassley in Iowa, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, the retiring Ron Portman’s seat in Ohio, Marco Rubio in Florida, and the retiring Pat Toomey’s seat in Pennsylvania.
On the Democratic side they are the two rookie Senators running for full terms: Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
Note that on both sides every seat is in a swing state. Grassley is normally gold in Iowa but he is old gold and in a purple state that could make a difference. That race is simply way too early to call. Johnson is a nutcase and should be easy to knock off but Wisconsin is purple. Normally I’d say Rubio is a lock but Val Demings is a first round draft choice and Florida is another purple state. The open seats in Ohio and Pennsylvania should be the Democrats’ best chances but its early and again those states are purple. You would think that living in North Carolina I’d have a definite bead on this race; I don’t. In fact this may be the most interesting set of Senate primaries in 2022. At this point I won’t hazard a guess at the “finalists”.
On the Democratic side I would say that Kelly may be the more endangered of the two. In Georgia with Stacey Abrams running for governor there is sure to be a large Democratic turnout which Warnock needs to retain his seat.
Interestingly the only reason I didn’t rate New Hampshire a tossup is because Republican Governor Chris Sununu opted to seek reelection as opposed to challenging Maggie Hassan. That was a safe political move on Sununu’s part. He should win reelection rather easily and a matchup with Hassan would have been a close contest that he could have lost.
There could well be some retirements that change several races and there are always the surprises. In politics November is light years away but speculating is fun. At this point I like the Democrats’ chances better than the Republicans’ and Chuck Schumer could sure use a vote or two to “play” with.
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