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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Guide to the U.S. 2022 Midterm Elections

Who voters want to control Congress, according to an average of recent polling. As of Nov. 7, 2022, Republicans enjoy a slight advantage. (Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight)

Election season is here. On Nov. 8, 2022, voters across the country will decide the outcome of the midterm elections. At stake is control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, along with dozens of state and local governments. To help you make sense of the midterms, Dateline is introducing its first-ever election guide. The following guide includes coverage of important issues, key races, and predictive insights.

Midterm elections are generally a referendum on the President’s party, which puts Democrats at a disadvantage: President Biden has an approval rating mired in the low 40s and has faced difficulty exciting the Democratic base. That being said, there are four primary issues that will shape the midterms: Inflation, Abortion, Democracy, the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack, and Immigration.

Inflation: Inflation is the top concern for voters, according to recent polling by Marist University. 30% of registered voters say that their vote will be most affected by inflation, which has exceeded 8.2%, according to the latest Federal Reserve estimates. Millions of Americans have seen the price of basic goods increase and inflation is a bad issue for Democrats.

Abortion: Abortion is another issue that will affect the midterms. 22% of voters say abortion is the most important issue following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. Republicans led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have vowed to pass legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks if they retake Congress. That position is distinctly unpopular and abortion is a good issue for Democrats.

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Jan. 6 and Democracy: 9% of voters say that the Jan. 6 insurrection is the most important midterm issue following the Jan. 6 committee hearings. The issue has taken center stage as Republicans have nominated dozens of election conspiracy theorists and “stop the steal” activists in key states. Jan. 6 and Democracy is a good issue for Democrats.

Immigration: 9% of voters say immigration is the most important issue for the midterm elections. Apprehensions at the southern border have topped two million this year and Republican governors have recently stirred controversy by sending thousands of immigrants to Democratic-leaning cities. Immigration is perceived to be a bad issue for Democrats.

Other issues such as Crime, Education, and Gun Control motivate voters as well, though it remains to be seen how they will impact the elections.

Key Races: In the Senate, Democrats have a strong group of candidates, while Republican nominees have struggled. Democrats also benefit from a favorable midterm map and have to defend fewer seats than Republicans. However, Democrats have to run against political headwinds generated by Biden’s low approval ratings.

Dateline’s predicted outcomes of the Nov. 2022 U.S. Senate races. (Graphic by Zachary S. Pan)

AZ: Mark Kelly, Rating: Lean D.
Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is a strong incumbent. A former astronaut, Mark Kelly has a high approval rating and has been a prolific fundraiser. He is favored in his reelection bid against Republican Blake Masters, a former hedge fund manager.

GA: Raphael Warnock, Rating: Tossup.
Reverend Raphael Warnock, the pastor at Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer church, is one of the most endangered Democratic Senators. Although Warnock has been a strong fundraiser and is relatively popular, Georgia is a historically Republican state. The Republican candidate is former football star Herschel Walker, a man with a history of domestic abuse and erratic behavior. However, Walker is benefiting from millions of dollars in outside spending. It is likely that the election will go to a run-off.

NV: Catherine Cortez Masto, Rating: Tossup. Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is the first Latina to represent Nevada in the Senate. She is running against former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who has embraced election conspiracies. Masto will benefit from a number of conservative third-party candidates on the ballot but is up against President Biden’s low approval ratings in Nevada.

WI: Ron Johnson, Rating: Tossup. Senator Ron Johnson’s seat is only competitive due to his unpopularity. However, Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is facing a deluge of outside Republican spending. The race is tight and Barnes’ initial momentum has faded.

NC: Open, Rating: Tilt R. The retirement of Republican Senator Richard Burr has created a competitive race in North Carolina. Former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is the Democratic nominee, while Republican Congressman Ted Budd is the Republican candidate. President Biden is unpopular in North Carolina and Beasley faces tough headwinds.

PA: Open, Rating: Lean D (Flip).
The retirement of Republican Senator Pat Toomey has given Democrats their best chance for a Senate pickup. The Democratic candidate is Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a 6’8” populist with a strong base in Western PA. The Republican nominee, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, has struggled to gain traction and has faced questions about whether he lives in Pennsylvania. The biggest wildcard in the race is Fetterman’s health, as the Lt. Governor suffered a stroke in July.

In the House, the electoral map is slightly biased towards Republicans due to redistricting. Democrats will have to run the table in order to maintain their majority.

Dateline’s predicted outcomes of the Nov. 2022 U.S. House of Representatives races. (Graphic by Zachary S. Pan)

PA-08: Matt Cartwright, Rating: Tossup. Pennsylvania’s eighth district is located in North East Pennsylvania and encompasses the cities of Scranton and Wilkes Barre. The district has swung hard to the right over the past decade, but Democratic incumbent Matt Cartwright is popular. If Democrats hold this seat, it will demonstrate that they can still win in areas dominated by working-class white voters.

PA-07: Susan Wild, Rating: Tilt R (Flip).
Pennsylvania’s second district is another critical battleground. The district encompasses affluent, historically conservative suburbia in the Lehigh Valley. Earlier this summer, Democratic incumbent Susan Wild seemed destined for defeat, but the abortion issue has given her a chance. Should Susan Wild win, it would demonstrate that abortion rights are a salient issue for voters. If Democrats win seats like PA-07, they will likely keep the House.

VA-02: Elaine Luria, Rating: Tossup.
Virginia’s second district encompasses suburban Virginia Beach and exurban and rural areas further inland. Democrat Elaine Luria is seen as a rising star, serving as a member of the Jan. 6 committee. However, Virginia’s second district became significantly more conservative after redistricting. Luria will likely have to gain the support of some moderate, traditionally Republican voters in Virginia Beach to win.

OH-09: Marcy Kaptur, Rating: Tilt D.
Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur is the longest-serving woman in Congress, but her district was recently redrawn to be significantly more conservative. While Kaptur can still rely on her home base of Toledo, her electoral position has become more tenuous. However, Kaptur will benefit from the weakness of her Republican challenger, J.R. Majewski, who attended the Capitol riot.

AZ-01: David Schweikert, Rating: Tilt R.
Far-right Republican incumbent David Schweikert is facing a spirited challenge from Democrat Jevin Hodges. Schweikert is confronting multiple ethics investigations which have undermined his position in an affluent, traditionally Republican district.

CA-27: Mike Garcia, Rating: Tossup.
Republican incumbent Mike Garcia represents a strongly Democratic, suburban Los Angeles district. Garcia has won under tough conditions in the past, but Democrats are heavily targeting him this year, and his support for abortion bans is unpopular in the district.

NM-03: Yvette Herrell, Rating: Tossup.
Another Republican with ethics woes, Yvette Herrell is facing a strong challenge from Democratic State Senator Gabe Vasquez. The district is mostly rural but contains a portion of suburban Albuquerque.

Ratings: The House leans Republican, meaning that Republicans are favored to retake the House. The Senate tilts Democratic, meaning that Democrats are slightly favored to retain Senate control.

Predictions: Democrats have a slight chance of an upset in the House, but Dateline is predicting a post-election outcome of 223 Republican seats and 212 Democratic seats. In the Senate, we predict an election outcome of 50 Democratic seats and 49 Republican seats with Georgia going to a Senate runoff election.

By Zachary S. Pan

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