Politics Column: Here's why the House is likely to flip while the Senate remains up in the air
The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022
The race for the Senate is in the eye of the beholder less than six weeks from Election Day, with ads about abortion, crime and inflation dominating the airwaves in key states as campaigns test the theory of the 2022 election. The cycle started out as a referendum on President Joe Biden – an easy target for Republicans, who need a net gain of just one seat to flip the evenly divided chamber. Then the US Supreme Court’s late June decision overturning Roe v. Wade gave Democrats the opportunity to paint a contrast as Republicans struggled to explain their support for an abortion ruling that the majority of the country opposes.
With election day now just over five weeks away, we peer into our crystal ball — which is foggier than a summer morning in San Francisco — and answer questions.
Let’s get right to it. Will Republicans take control of Congress?
I have absolutely no clue.
So what good are you?
That’s something my bosses have been asking for years.
Seriously. Are things that uncertain?
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Yes and no.
With the proviso that politics, like life, is full of surprises, it seems pretty certain Republicans will take control of the House for the first time since they lost the majority in 2018, in the last midterm election.
Defying polls and many, ahem, pundits, the GOP gained 14 House seats in 2020 even as President Trump lost the White House. (If you still insist on believing thatyou may want to quit reading here and go re-up your membership in the Flat Earth Society.)
With that considerable head start, Republicans need only five seats to take back the House. The GOP is poised to pick up four seats just through the partisan drawing of congressional districts that followed the last census. So they're almost there.
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Heck, Republicans could gain four seats in Florida alone, where Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the handiwork of the GOP-run Legislature to push through a political map that's even more egregiously slanted in the party's favor.
Of course, Republicans are also defending a number of seats,But it would take something close to a miracle for Democrats to hang onto the House.
What about the Senate?
That's far less clear.
The chamber is split 50-50, with Democrats enjoying nominal control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris, who is onto break ties. That's how President Biden has managed to pass a good deal of his agenda.
Yes, but what about the election?
For a time, it seemed Republicans would pick up three or more Senate seats, easily regaining the majority they lost in January 2021. (Two Georgia contests went into overtime after the November 2020 election, and Democrats
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But today the fight for control seems like a toss-up.
ABlake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, may have removed those states, which backed Biden in 2020, from the competitive category for Republicans.
Democrats are also faring better than expected, for the moment anyway, in Republican-tiltingand
So it all comes down to the Buckeye and Tar Heel states?
Control of the Senate will most likely be decided by four states: Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden carried each of those, but not by much.
In Nevada and Georgia, respectively, incumbents Catherine Cortez Masto and Raphael Warnock are defending Democratic-held seats, while Republican Ron Johnson is seeking his third term in Wisconsin. The Senate race in Pennsylvania is forheld by retiring Republican Patrick J. Toomey.
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are looking better for the GOP than they had been, as Republicans increasingly lean into the crime issue. So it could come down to Nevada and Georgia.
Which party will control the Senate? Here's every seat up for grabs in the 2022 midterms
Here's who's running in midterm Senate races across the country, including close elections in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and other states.Historically, midterms have not usually gone well for the party in power, and experts originally predicted that the upcoming November races would bring a wide range of victories for Republicans. But some legislative wins for Democrats and other factors have tightened up the race for control of the so-called upper chamber.
Well, at least we'll know one way or the other on Nov. 8, or soon after.
Not necessarily. If no candidate wins a majority in Georgia, there will be a Dec. 6 runoff. So there may be another month of campaigning before control of the Senate is known.
Oy. What do polls show?
Surveys suggest most of the key Senate races are exceedingly close. But bear in mind, this is a highly unusual midterm election, which means any forecasts should be taken with an extra dollop of caution.
There are all sorts of never-before variables.
No one alive has ever seen anything like the Jan. 6 insurrection. The Supreme Court's June decision overturning the 50-year-old right to abortion is also without modern precedent, and has already reshaped the political landscape by energizing Democrats. Usually it's the party out of power in Washington that is better able to rally its supporters.
And then, not least, there's the congenitally attention-seeking Trump. He's kept himself brashly in the news like no other ex-president, drawing at least some of the focus away from Biden ahead of the midterms, which are typically a referendum on the incumbent and his policies.
All of that has boosted Democratic hopes that November will bring something more akin to a red wavelet than a tsunami. But there's still a considerable ways to go.
The seven Senate seats most likely to flip
Republicans are looking for opportunities to go on offense in their battle for the Senate majority and stunt the momentum Democrats have built over the course of the summer. But Democrats, fresh off a season of eyepopping fundraising and legislative wins, aren’t taking their rose-tinted summer for granted as Republicans ramp up spending in key…But Democrats, fresh off a season of eyepopping fundraising and legislative wins, aren’t taking their rose-tinted summer for granted as Republicans ramp up spending in key states and tailor their general election messaging.
Isn't there a cliche that goes here?
The one about so-many-days being a lifetime in politics?
Anything else worth noting?
There are 36 gubernatorial races. Most, however, are like California's, where Democrat Gavin Newsom is— which is to say they are unlikely to result in a partisan shift in power.
Two likely exceptions are Maryland and Massachusetts, blue states that seem destined to flip to Democrats after Republicans nominated Trump loyalists.
The best hopes for Republican gains appear to be in Kansas, Nevada and Wisconsin. In the meantime, an unusualhas raised the prospect that the Democratic-leaning state could elect an independent as governor, or maybe even a Republican for the first time in 40 years.
So much of the focus has been on Congress.
True. And that overlooks the growing importance of state races, as policies on abortion, guns and other issues are coming more and more to depend on which party holds power at that level.
Significantly, you also have several states where election deniers are running for governor, including Arizona and Wisconsin — where Republicansand Tim Michels, respectively, could cause all sorts of trouble if they win, gaining sway over the 2024 election in those presidential battlegrounds.
At the same time, you have Trump foot soldiers running forin several key states — among them Arizona, Michigan and Nevada — where they would directly control the election machinery in 2024, threatening further chicanery and chaos in service of the former president's Big Lie.
It is. We could insert some crack here about the flat Earth, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and other fictive things people believe in.
But it's no joke.
This story originally appeared in.
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