With the midterm elections less than a month away, candidates and parties are making their last attempts to gain voter support. Many Senate races are wrapping up their final debates, where candidates on both sides of the aisle are attempting to sway undecided voters.
- On October 14, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker and Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock (D-GA) met for their only debate in the Georgia Senate race.
The Georgia race is receiving extensive national attention as many believe that control of the Senate will be determined by this race. Georgia election law requires a candidate receive a majority of the votes, meaning the race could push to a December run-off if neither candidate secures 50% of the votes. The Cook Political report classifies this race as a “Toss Up.”
- On October 17, Republican incumbent Mike Lee debated Independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin in Utah. While most pundits agree that Sen. Lee will hold the seat, McMullin’s campaign has drawn attention due to the unique coalition of supporters. While McMullin ran an unsuccessful bid for president as a Republican in 2016, he has convinced the Democratic Party to abstain from endorsing a candidate of their own and support him. Notably, the senior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney (R-UT), has not endorsed Sen. Lee in this race. The Cook Political report classifies this race as “Likely Republican.”
- On October 25, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and Democratic candidate for Senate John Fetterman will take on Republican Mehmet Oz in their first and only debate. Republicans have called Fetterman’s health and fitness for office into question since he suffered a stroke in May. While Fetterman has maintained a lead in most polls since the primary, the gap between the two candidates has tightened in recent weeks. Pennsylvania is a critical swing state that Democrats have been targeting since Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced his retirement. The Cook Political report classifies this race as a “Toss-Up.”
Other notable Senate debates:
- Incumbent Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) faced Republican challenger Blake Masters on October 6, in what was their only debate.
- On October 7, Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC) met Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley for their first and only debate.
- Republican incumbent Ron Johnson (R-OH) and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes met for their second and final debate on October 13.
- Republican candidate J.D. Vance and current House Member and Senate hopeful Tim Ryan (D-OH) met for their last debate on October 17. The two previously debated on October 10.
- On October 18, incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) debated Republican challenger, Joe O’Dea. Sen. Bennet and O’Dea will debate again on October 25 and October 28.
- Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL) debated for the first and only time on October 18.
- Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is set to debate Republican candidate Don Bolduc on October 27.
In one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV) and her Republican challenger Adam Laxalt will not debate before the election as negotiations between the campaigns stalled.
Notable Developments this Week
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waived some state election laws for Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties due to the impact of Hurricane Ian.
- Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) is expected to resign his seat and accept a job as president of the University of Florida. Sen. Sasse’s replacement would be appointed by Republican Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
2022 Midterms: By the Numbers
In the Senate
This week, the Cook Political report updated their rating for the Pennsylvania Senate race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-Up” and the Arizona Senate race from “Toss-Up” to “Lean Democrat.”
Democrats are still favored in 12 of the races and Republicans are favored in 19, with four races considered toss-ups.
Of the 35 races:
- 8 are classified as “Solid Democrat”
- 1 is “Likely Democrat”
- 3 are “Lean Democrat”
- 4 are “Toss-Up”
- 2 are “Lean Republican”
- 3 is “Likely Republican”
- 14 are “Solid Republican”
In the House
Democrats are favored in 192 of the races and Republicans are favored in 212, with 31 races considered toss-ups. This means Democrats will have to win the majority of the toss-up races to secure the 218 seats needed to hold the majority.
Of the 435 races:
- 162 are classified as “Solid Democrat”
- 14 are “Likely Democrat”
- 17 are “Lean Democrat”
- 31 are “Toss-Up”
- 12 are “Lean Republican”
- 11 are “Likely Republican”
- 188 are “Solid Republican”
The Cook Political Report – a nonpartisan organization that analyzes elections and campaigns – scores races on a variety of factors as Solid Republican, Likely Republican, Lean Republican, Toss-Up, Lean Democrat, Likely Democrat, and Solid Democrat. “Likely” races are those “seats are not considered competitive at this point, but have the potential to become engaged,” while “Lean” races are “considered competitive races, but one party has an advantage.”