Analysis: Seven key races in the 2022 midterm elections


With 435 House races, 35 Senate races and 36 gubernatorial races on the ballot across the country, it’s hard to know where to look on Election Day to find out what kind of night it’s going to be.

Below are my picks for races worth watching, not just for the results, but for what they tell us about the national playing field. Races are listed alphabetically.

* Connecticut’s 5th District: Connecticut is not a battleground state, but this race has become emblematic of the struggles some Democratic incumbents are having in New England. Rep. Jahana Hayes has held the western Connecticut seat since 2018 and was re-elected in 2020 with 55% of the vote, with roughly the same vote share as Joe Biden leading the district in the presidential race. Republicans, however, have been enthusiastic about candidate George Logan for some time. The former state senator is running to become the first Republican to represent the district in about 16 years. Inside Elections rates the race as a Tossup. If the Republicans win here, it’s probably a sign that they’re on their way to a majority nationally.

* Governor of Michigan: Michigan has been one of the country’s top swing states in the past two national elections, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears to be the favorite in her race against Republican Tudor Dixon here, thanks to the endorsement of her winner in a contested primary. Former President Donald Trump. Dixon has struggled to remain financially competitive with Whitmer since winning the nomination. Polls suggest this race is Whitmer’s to lose, but look at the difference. If he wins by low numbers, it would suggest Dixon’s overperformance, which could affect downvotes in races.

* New Hampshire Senate: After the withdrawal of the Army Brigade. After Gen. Don Bolduc became the Republican nominee this fall, national GOP groups seemed to be giving up on the race. A super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled in more than $5 million in planned advertising in the state, and Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be on her way to victory. But the Republican National Senatorial Committee jumped back into the race and the Democratic Senate Majority PAC added money to its ad pool in the final week of the campaign, suggesting the race is tighter than expected. If Bolduc manages to win, you can almost be sure that the Republicans will regain their majority in the Senate.

* New York’s 17th District: Here is Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, running for re-election. Republicans’ early spending in the race appeared to be nothing more than a troll move designed to annoy and distract Maloney from other races around the country. Then, like so many races in the North East of late, it became competitive. GOP state assemblyman Mike Lawler has remained a striking distance away. Inside Elections recently moved this race’s rating to Toss-up, a sign that it’s with Republican momentum. If Lawler can pull off the upset, it will be doubly sweet for his party – they’ll take a seat no one expected. and in the process bring out a member of the democratic leadership.

* North Carolina Senate: North Carolina went for Donald Trump in 2016 and then again, more narrowly, in 2020. That means GOP Rep. Ted Budd should be the favorite here. And he is. But former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has kept things closer than expected in a race that has been overshadowed by Senate contests with bigger personalities in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. If the Democrats manage to win this race, it would suggest that they have a very real chance of holding on to the Senate majority as the results go further west. On the other hand, if Budd’s margin is 5 points or more, that’s a good sign for Republican prospects.

* Governor of Oregon: Like other blue enclaves across the country, Oregon is surprisingly competitive in this election. (Oregon hasn’t elected a Republican governor in nearly four decades.) That’s largely due to the deep unpopularity of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who has thwarted the chances of her party’s nominee, Tina Kotek. Another complicating factor is the presence of former Democratic state senator Betsy Johnson, who is running a convincing campaign as an independent. The beneficiary of all this is Republican candidate Christine Drazan. For the Republicans, winning in Oregon would be very symbolic, a sign that they can compete anywhere in the country (at least in this election cycle).

* Virginia’s 2nd District: If you’re looking for a neighborhood bellwether at the start of the night, this Virginia Beach seat is for you. Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is a member of the House committee investigating January 6, and throughout the campaign she has emphasized not only her mission, but the focus of the panel on preserving democracy. State Sen. Jen Kiggans has proven to be a strong Republican recruit in a redrawn district that would favor Biden. If Luria is able to pull off a win, the idea of ​​a giant red wave at home takes a hit. If Kiggans wins, however, it tells us that the Republican environment is good.