Congressional Races Heat Up as the Midterm Elections Approach
By Sophia Alexandrou
November 8, 2022, marks Election Day for the Midterm Elections and citizens from across the country will return to the polls to decide the future make-up of Congress. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, the top issues that will be directing the decisions of voters are the economy (77% of participants), gun policy (62%), violent crime (60%), and health care (60%), in addition to the recent Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade (56%). Of course, voters’ attitudes towards President Biden’s administration, which has a 41% approval rating, will also be a significant factor. This election includes several close and crucial races and will provide an idea of the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.
The Senate currently holds a 50-50 Democratic majority with Vice President Harris being the tiebreaker. There are 35 seats up for election this year. According to The Cook Political Report, 10 of these seats are in competitive races with 4 leaning Democrat, 3 leaning Republican, and 3 proper toss-ups. Here are some of the most crucial Senate races that will determine the future of the Democrats’ thin majority in this chamber.
The race between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) is one of the, if not the closest race in this election. Georgians voted for President Biden by a slim margin (.23%) in the 2020 presidential election and by a recent poll done by FiveThirtyEight, Warnock (47.3% to 45.2%) is expected to walk away with the victory, keeping his seat in the Senate.
The race between incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) is anyone’s game until election day. Nevadans voted for President Biden in the 2020 presidential election by a 2.39% margin and Republicans have not won a presidential election here since 2004 or a Senate race since 2012. Another recent poll by FiveThirtyEight predicts that Masto will take this race with a 44.2% lead over Laxalt’s 43.5%.
Another close race presents itself in Wisconsin between two-term incumbent Sen. Rob Johnson (R) and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D). Wisconsinites voted for President Biden by a narrow .62% margin in the 2020 presidential election. FiveThirtyEight predicts a victory for Johnson, leading Barnes 48.6% to 46.7%.
House of Representatives
After the 2020 election, the Democrats maintained a 222-213 majority in the House of Representatives. In addition, after the redistricting and apportionment following the 2020 census, 6 states (Colorado, Texas, Montana, North Carolina, Florida, and Oregon) have gained seats and 7 states (New York, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, and West Virginia) have lost seats. As a result, there are 8 districts in which incumbents are running against each other. In 6 of those, incumbents of the same party went against each other in the primaries and in the other two, incumbents of opposite parties are running against each other in the general election. Of the 435 races for the House, Ballotpedia has recognized 36 of those as battleground. Here are some of the most crucial races in this election.
Colorado 8th District
Barbara Kirkmeyer (R) goes against Yadira Caraveo (D) in a close race in the swing state of Colorado. Neither of these candidates have been in office in the House before. In the 2020 presidential election, this district voted for President Biden by a 4% margin. In a recent poll by The Economist, it is predicted that Kirkmeyer will walk away with the victory with a 57% chance of winning (Caraveo with a 43% chance).
Ohio 9th District
In another swing state, incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D) is running against J.R. Majewski (R). In a calculation by Daily Kos, they found that following the redistricting, former President Trump would have won this district with 50.6% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election. The Economist predicts a win for Kaptur with a 58% chance of winning (Majewski with a 42% chance).
Pennsylvania 8th District
In this swing state, incumbent Matt Cartwright (D) and Jim Bognet (R) are running against each other in another close race. Following redistricting, Daily Kos found that in the 2020 presidential election, former President Trump would have won this district with 50.9% of the vote. The Economist predicts a narrow victory for Cartwright with a 51% chance of winning (Bognet with a 49% chance).
The majority that the Democrats hold in both chambers is incredibly vulnerable. For those 18 and above, make sure to register to vote and show up to the polls on November 8, so you can have a voice in who represents you. Make sure to check your state’s voting guidelines as well. For those 16-17, you can pre-register to vote for when you turn 18. In addition, for those too young to vote, continue staying as politically involved as you can through watching the polls and encouraging those who can vote to do so. The partisan future of Congress is in the hands of all of us!