As we all know, in 2022 there will be the midterm elections, which will define President Biden's future agenda. Will Democrats keep their trifecta, or will Republicans turnout in a 2010-style Red Wave? It's way too early to predict. What we can talk about though are the Senate races, which are starting to heat up 1 year and 3 months from election day. As Cook Political, I will myself try to rate the seats up for election with the following rating system:
- Safe (>+10% advantage)
- Likely (+5.5 - +9.9% advantage)
- Lean (+2.6 - +5.4% advantage)
- Tilt (<+2.5% advantage)
Here are my ratings of the states likely to be the most contested:
Florida (Likely R):
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is up for reelection in 2022. He was first elected in 2011 and reelected in 2016 by a margin of 7.7 points. He's a very tough target for the DSCC, which has chosen Val Demings, Democratic Representative for Florida's 10th Congressional District, as their apparent nominee. It's an uphill battle for Democrats not only because Marco Rubio has always had a certain degree of popularity in the state and because he's the incumbent, but also because Hispanics have shifted further right in the 2020 Presidential Election. This Latinos' rightward shift could be even larger with Rubio on the ticket, which is a Latino himself. My current prediction is Rubio +8.6%.
Ohio (Likely R):
Ohio's seat is an open seat since Rob Portman (R-OH), incumbent Senator, has decided not to run for reelection, opening the field to tens of Republicans who want to replace him. As Ohio has shifted dramatically to the right in 2016 and Republicans have suffered minimal to none loss in last year's Presidential election, whoever will be GOP's nominee will find themselves in a very good position. One between Jane Timken, Josh Mandel or J.D. Vance will face Tim Ryan, Democrats' apparent nominee, in November. The race is likely to go red, based off past election results and Ohio's political environment. My current prediction is R anywhere from +5.0% to +9.0%.
North Carolina (Lean R):
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who first took office in 2005, has decided to retire, therefore his seat becomes an open seat. Relevant Democrats running are Cheri Beasley, former NC Supreme Court judge, and Jeff Jackson, State Senator. On the other side, Ted Budd is probably going to win the Republican primary as he has received former President Donald Trump's "complete and total endorsement". With Cheri Beasley as candidate, the race is going to be pretty competitive, but not yet as much as Democrats would like to. My prediction is Budd +2.5%.
Wisconsin (Tilt R):
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is yet to decide whether he will run or retire in 2022. Assuming that he is running, he still is a top Dem target for 2022, since he's the only Republican Senator elected in a state that Joe Biden won in 2020. Even though he's an incumbent, he's a very divisive figure for Wisconsinites, especially after last year, where he shifted further right and blatantly supported conspiracy theories on the origin of COVID-19, on vaccines and the election. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski are the Democratic top contenders that will face Sen. Johnson in 2022. My prediction is Johnson +1.0%.
New Hampshire (Tossup):
Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, elected by a razor thin margin (<+0.1%) against former Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2017, has filed for reelection and is, at the moment, uncontested, except for former Republican Senate candidate Dan Bolduc who has, again, launched his bid to win the seat. So why is New Hampshire a Tossup in my ratings? Because there is a real possibility that sitting Governor Chris Sununu, extremely popular and approved statewide, might run for office. In that case, the race would be a Tossup, with a very slight Republican advantage. Without him, the race is Lean to Likely D. My prediction with Sununu running is Sununu +2.4%, without him, Hassan +5.4%.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), elected on this year Jan. 5th special Senate election against former Senator Kelly Loeffler, will run for reelection. Republican candidates that have announced their candidacy or are about to / have considered to are Fmr. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Herschel Walker, a former professional football player, and Gary Black, incumbent Agriculture Commissioner for the State of Georgia. The race will be competitive with any of these candidates as, per Cook Political Report, Warnock (D-GA) represents a state with a R+3 PVI. My prediction is Warnock +1.0%.
Arizona (Tilt D):
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), which has been elected in last year special election against Governor's appointee Martha McSally (R-AZ), will run for a full term in 2022. He is favorably viewed by a majority of Arizonans and presents himself as a moderate. On the Republican side, Mark Brnovich, sitting Lt. Governor, is running and will likely win GOP's primaries. With Brnovich as the Republican candidate the race is set to be extremely competitive. Will Kyrsten Sinema become AZ's only Democratic Senator, or will Mark Kelly succeed in defending his seat? My prediction is Kelly +1.5%.
Pennsylvania (Tilt D - Lean D)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has announced that he will retire and will not file for reelection. That makes Pennsylvania an open seat, with dozines of candidates on both sides. On the Republican side, even though primaries are yet to come, Sean Parnell, failed Republican candidate for PA's 17th Congressional District, seems to be the apparent candidate. He faces challenge from failed Republican candidate for Lt. Governor,, Jeff Bartos. The most prominent Dems running are Lt. Governor John Fetterman, and Val Arkoosh, Montgomery County Commissioner, which has been endorsed by pro-abortion Super-PAC "Emily's List", which usually plays a big role in Democratic primaries. John Fetterman remains the favorite to win his party's primary and the general election. My prediction is Fetterman (D) +2.5%.
Nevada (Likely D):
Incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto will likely run for reelection but she's yet to file candidacy. Were she to run, she would have a big advantage of incumbency and popularity, she is in fact well-liked in the state. All Republican candidates that have so far expressed interest in running for her seat pose no serious threat as they all have low name recognition and little appeal. She's currently on cruise to be reelected.
Resuming it all my current prediction stands at:
Democrats: 49 seats, (GA and NH tossups, so -2)
Republicans: 49 seats (-1, lose Pennsylvania)
Tossup: 2 Seats (GA & NH)
Alessandro B. Carelli