2022 midterms: Will the Senate flip in 2022? Key races to watch

Political analysts believe the US House of Representatives is likely to be controlled by Republicans after the 2022 midterm elections. But the fate of the Senate is less certain.

Five states in particular are toss-ups — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — according to the New York Times, which cites the Cook Political Report.

Here is the summary:

Arizona (primaries to be held August 2nd)

Democratic incumbent and former astronaut Sen. Mark Kelly — who turned a red seat blue by a slim margin in 2020 — will face a yet-to-be-identified Republican contender in November. While the current field of Republican candidates is crammed — and the battle between them is heated — a June poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found Trump-backed venture capitalist Blake Masters as the front runner. Prior to Trump’s endorsement, Masters was ranked third; That he’s jumped to the top of the list indicates Trump’s continued influence over Republicans.

Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as she testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearings May 10, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Herschel Walker will represent the Republican Party in its efforts to unseat Warnock in November.

Tom Williams, Associated Press


In November, incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock — who is also a pastor and leads the same church in Atlanta that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. co-pastored — on a former football star, Trump-backed Republican candidate Herschel Walker.

So far, the controversy surrounding Walker’s family life hasn’t dampened Republican enthusiasm for Walker, who has 93% support of Republican voters in Georgia, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. Walker was also well received at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Nashville, Tenn. last month, Executive Director Tim Head told Deseret News.

Though Walker is popular within his own party, Warnock has the edge in the Quinnipiac University poll. He has a commanding 10-point lead.


Republican Senate candidate from Nevada Adam Laxalt meets with supporters during a campaign event June 11, 2022 in Las Vegas. The US Senate race in Nevada between Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto and Laxalt is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the country.

John Locher, Associated Press


Trump-backed former Attorney General Adam Laxalt won the Republican primary last month. In November, he will face Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the state’s first Latina senator. Although a recent poll put Laxalt in the lead, this hypothetical win is small enough to be within the margin of error, NBC News reported.

The mudslinging has already begun leading up to the November vote, when Cortez Masto’s spokesman called Laxalt “corrupt” and Laxalt’s camp blamed Joe Biden and fellow Democrats Cortez Masto for inflation and runaway gas prices.


Mehmet Oz, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks at a nighttime primary rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania on May 17, 2022.

Ted Shaffrey, Associated Press


Democratic nominee Lt. gov. John Fetterman, trying to turn a red seat blue, has called it “the most important race in the country,” arguing that control of the Senate will come to Pennsylvania. Fetterman suffered a setback when he suffered a stroke in May. He’s since bounced back and is doing well in the polls, too, with a nine-point lead over famed doctor and Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz.

Oz, a Turkish-American who won the primary after receiving Trump’s endorsement, has been criticized for immersing himself in Pennsylvania politics when he recently moved to the state from New Jersey, where he lived for decades.


Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks on Capitol Hill on February 8, 2022 in Washington.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Wisconsin (primaries to be held August 9)

There are a number of Democratic contenders looking to take Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s seat. A poll found Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski leading the Democratic primary package — and if voters find out about her platform, she’s also ahead of Johnson, Public Policy Polling found.

Johnson is under fire for his attempt to deliver fake voters to then-Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021 – a plan that could cost him votes.

Other states to watch:

Moving beyond the toss-ups to states that Cook Political Report ranks as leaning toward Democrat or Republican, there are a few more states that might surprise the country.

While New Hampshire tends to be Democratic, it is not penned. Not only did Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan win by a slender margin in 2016, the University of New Hampshire Polling Center puts Hassan in a tie with four Republican Senate hopefuls.

In both New Hampshire and troubled Arizona, incumbent Democratic senators have made attempts to break away from Biden, Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter noted, with Hassan bragging about “her bipartisan bonafides” in an ad.

Other states that could end up with close Senate races include battleground states Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, all of which are currently red but have long blue heritages. (Remember John Edwards? Before his failed presidential bid, he was a Democratic senator from North Carolina. Trump won North Carolina by a narrow margin in 2020, and other North Carolina political races have been just as close.)

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