Many things have changed since we last rated the 2022 US Senate Races. COVID cases have gone up significantly, the vaccination campaign curve has flattened, the US Army has abandoned Afghanistan in one of the most confusionary withdrawals in modern military history, and President Joe Biden's approval rating has dipped from 51-52% to approximately 45-45.5% (and is now for the first time in negative). All of the predictions will be based on the following rating system:
- Safe (>+9.5% advantage)
- Likely (+5.0 - +9.5% advantage)
- Lean (+2.6 - +4.9% advantage)
- Tilt (<+2.5% advantage)
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. During the last two months, Democrats haven't made any significant progress, which would have been absolutely necessary for them in a race that is probably one of DSCC's most difficult targets. My prediction is Rubio +7.3%
Ohio (Likely R):
Ohio Senate is an open seat since Rob Portman (R-OH), the incumbent Republican Senator, announced that he would not to run for reelection earlier this year, opening the field to dozens 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. Either 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-> Likely 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 competitive, but not yet as much as Democrats would like to (especially with Biden's recent popularity disaster). My rating changes from Lean R to Likely R, and my prediction is Budd +5.0%.
Wisconsin (Tilt R-> Lean R):
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has 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, 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. Wisconsin though is becoming an increasingly favorable environment for Republicans, who will likely retain this seat next year. Our rating goes from Tilt R to Lean R and our prediction is Johnson +2.5%.
New Hampshire (Tossup-> Lean R):
Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, elected by a razor thin margin (<+0.1%) against then-Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte in 2017, has filed for reelection and is, at the moment, uncontested, with the exception of former Republican Senate candidate Dan Bolduc who has, again, launched his bid to win the seat. It's looking increasingly like incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu will run for US Senate, especially since the field is moving to avoid a Dem pick-up of the Governor's Mansion. As "The Hill" and local Massachusetts newspapers are saying, former MA Senator Scott Brown (R) has abandoned his post as a top company manager to pursue his political passion. Pundits speculate that he may be preparing a run for NH Governor. Also, per a NH University poll, Maggie Hassan is more disapproved than approved and people's opinion of her is worsening as time goes on. My prediction is Sununu +2.6.
Georgia (Tossup-> Lean R):
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 are Herschel Walker, a former professional football player, and Gary Black, incumbent Agriculture Commissioner for the State of Georgia. Trump-endorsed Republican Representative Doug Collins, who was expected to endorse also Trump-backed Walker, has instead announced his support for Black. The race will likely be competitive with any of these candidates but not enough for Dems to win. As we've seen in last year's presidential Election, Democrats need exceptional turnout and enthusiasm to barely win the state, and that's not going to happen when Election Day comes next year. Midterms usually favoring the opposition party, plus Republicans retaining majorities in both the State Chambers, and having the Governorship, makes the GOP favored to win the race. My prediction is R+2.0-3.0%.
Arizona (Tilt D):
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), which has been elected in last year'S 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 primaries against opponent Blake Masters. 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 (Lean D-> Tilt R)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has announced that he will retire and will not file for reelection. That makes Pennsylvania an open seat, with many 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, Conor Lamb, Dem Representative for PA's 17th district, 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 but will probably fall short on Election Day due to Biden's deteriorating popularity. My prediction is R +1.0%.
Nevada (Likely D-> Tilt D):
Incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto will likely run for reelection but she's yet to file candidacy. Were she to run, she would fight for her political future. Adam Laxalt, prominent Republican figure in the state, is trying to unseat her as Democrats bleed support and approval in Nevada. My prediction is Cortez-Masto +1.5%
Therefore, my current prediction stands at:
Republicans: 52 seats (Flipped 2 Seats: NH+GA)
Democrats: 48 seats, (Lost 2 Seats: NH+GA)