2022 US Senate Races

I spent some time this morning wading through the Wikipedia article on the next US Senate elections. It looks very favorable to the Democrats.

Let me try to explain why.

Thirty-four Seats are up this cycle. Twenty are held by Republicans. Twelve are held by Democrats. Two are vacant and will be filled by special elections next month.

Two Republicans (NC Burr & PA Toomey) have said they are retiring. In addition one, (WI Johnson) had previously said he would not seek reelection. No Democrats so far have said they are stepping down. It is too far out.

I think PA, then NC , then WI in that order are all in play to go to the Democrats.

But surely some additional senators will retire. We cannot be sure how many or who, but we can guess. Of the seats up for the 2022 election cycle, three senators are over eighty years old at the moment. Two are Republicans (AL Shelby & IA Grassley) and one is a Democrat (VT Leahy). Surely these guys are going to call it a day. I guess.

But none of these are in competitive states. We might expect their respective parties to win the seat for no net change.

Looking at the number who are (at the moment) over age 65, we get eight (of twenty) Republicans and five (of twelve) Democrats. Some of those will retire, but not too many.

After that, we get down to guesswork. But the math seems to favor the Democrats as there are simply more Republicans on the ballot in two years’ time. Further the Republicans have three retirements and two ninety-year olds who probably will not make it to election day. The Democrats only one guy that age.

Anyway, it is never too soon to register to vote.

I started a similar thread, but avoided posting my hypothesis in that one. Here goes.

I think if Republicans narrowly keep the Senate this year, Democrats will have a much better chance in 2022. On the other hand, of Democrats win control this year, 2022 could be a red tsunami like 1994 and 2010. I could see a scenario where all the currently Republican seats stay red while the R’s also win in Nevada, New Hampshire, and Colorado. That would result in something like a 48-52 Senate for the Republicans.

Why would this happen? For the same reason that 1994 and 2010 happened. Liberal Democrats become (stay?) dissatisfied with moderates and stay home during the midterms to “teach them a lesson.” I’m not sure how Democrats can avoid that fate, but let’s hope they figure out a way to do it.

Grassley will be 89 years old - I’d think the odds are very good he retires. Hell, we may see the governor fill the spot by then. Iowa is purple enough that the race should be competitive.

Shelby will be 88. As long as Roy Moore doesn’t run for his seat, I think we can safely say it’ll stay red.

Indeed, Democrats always find it more difficult to get their numerically bigger herd motivated enough to turn out in non-election years. And midterms have been generally favoring the party out of power, though it should be noted that during the blue wave of 2018, Republicans flipped two Senate seats as partisanship continued to harden around national ideologies.

But in '22 there will hardly be any vulnerable Dem seats, whereas, as Paul noted above, there are at least three Republicans retiring – in blue leaning states – and the two seats yet to be determined, Arizona and Georgia, are in states where the electorate is steadily turning against the GOP. Trump may be dragging the party down at a historic rate of speed this year but 8-10 million new voters will be eligible in '22, a group that Dems win at 2-1 margins (if we can get them to turn out!).

Finally, there is a non-zero chance that 2022 will feature Senate races in DC, Puerto Rico or both. Not a great chance but still.

I have no idea which way Iowa will go in '22. I can only believe that it will come down to the quality of the candidates but the Republican will indeed have an inherent edge there.

What’s interesting is how little room there is for major gains in the Senate these days, even in a “wave election.” In 2008 the Democrats netted eight seats. In 2014, the Republicans picked up nine. And yet this year we’re looking at a Democratic gain of 4-5 seats at the extreme and maybe 3-4 seats that look competitive in 2022.

I think this shows that the states have largely sorted themselves in the last decade, with the plains states Democrats like Chuck Hagel and New England Republicans like Judd Gregg having disappeared. This obviously has implications for the continuing existence of the filibuster, if a filibuster-proof majority is out of reach for either party in the foreseeable future.

Chuck Hagel is a Republican, although enough of a centrist that he served as Obama’s SECDEF.

Gah, major brain fart! Substitute Max Baucus!

I see it in two phases. The gap will narrow in 2020. The Democrats ought to take the Senate in 2022.

The election this year is turning into a blue wave. Personally I expected this, even without the pandemic and the Administration’s woeful response to it. I fully expect the D’s to take the Senate in this election. Whether they can increase the number of seats in 2022 is questionable. Usually there’s a rebound in off-year elections that favors the party that lost two years before.

Reviving this thread in light of Tuesday’s outcome and . . . I am not encouraged. Obviously, the precise makeup of the next Senate is still to be determined based on final results in NC and AK and the two runoffs in GA, but it’s looking like the best possible outcome Democrats can hope for is 50-50 with Harris breaking the tie to make Chuck Schumer Majority Leader. And that would require an unlikely sweep of the GA Senate seats.

So looking ahead to 2022, I see a few problems. It’ll be the first mid-term election for the Biden Administration, which traditionally goes against the President’s party. And although there are many more Republican seats up than Democratic, it’s a relatively small field that are genuinely vulnerable. NC and PA are obvious opportunities, especially since the Republican incumbents are retiring. But both states were closely run affairs this year. And after this year I feel like Iowa and Ohio need to be taken off the “swing state” board, both have pronounced Republican leanings. And as for Florida – fuck, man, fucking fuck Florida.

Wisconsin’s an interesting case – Ron Johnson is as Trumpy as they come, which you would think would hurt him in a truly “purple” state like WI. But the point’s been made that purple states aren’t purple because they’re made up of mostly moderate voters who swing toward the more bipartisan candidate. Rather, they’re made up of nearly equal numbers of partisan Democrats and Republicans and swing based on which party is more motivated to get to the polls in a given election.

So Democrats shouldn’t get too confident that 2022 is a “promising map” in the Senate. It’s going to be a slog to get to a majority, especially if the end up with a 48/52 breakdown in the upcoming Senate.

Understandable, and I was very disappointed that Trump did so well in Ohio again, but Sherrod Brown has won repeatedly here and is among the most liberal of U.S. senators.

Rob Portman is up for reelection in 2022 and could be taken down by the right Dem, but I have to admit I don’t know who that will be yet. A lot of Dems are pissed at him for pretending to be a moderate but for invariably having Trump’s back, and for totally changing his tune between the Garland and the Barrett nominations as to whether the Senate should take action on a SCOTUS nomination in an election year.

Relevant to this post, Rob Portman announcing today that he will not run for reelection in 2022. Good news for Democrats – it’s almost always better to be running in an open seat than against an incumbent. But Ohio has been drifting away from Democrats for some time, with Sherrod Brown being the obvious exception.

The right Democrat, and the right national political environment, could make this a competitive race.

Agreed. There are several Dems I like who’ve run statewide before and who might make a go of it, but the political headwinds, given Ohio’s rightward drift in recent years and the fact that this will be in a Democratic President’s midterms, just might scare them off.

2020 presidential candidate Tim Ryan is testing the waters.

LOL. I had to double check his Wikipedia page to make sure I remembered correctly that he actually ran for president.

He’s my sister’s Congressman. He’s OK but I’m not convinced he can win a Senate seat.

I will be surprised here in NC if there is not a full on MAGA candidate running in 22 for Senate. Looks like Lara Trump wife of Eric is going to run.

Tim Ryan is out of a job next year* anyways, so his usual reason for shying away from a run for statewide office no longer holds (he floated a run for governor about four times).

*He’s going to get completely destroyed in redistricting, there probably won’t be anything even resembling his district at the end of the process, but even without that, he would have had a tough re-election in a Democratic midterm due to the changes in the demographics of the two parties’ coalitions. And there’s still a lot of room for Democrats to fall in that region.

State Senator Jeff Jackson from Charlotte has entered the NC Dem primary for 2022


He certainly looks the part and has the biography. But then again, so did Cal. Hopefully this guy is better at keeping it in his pants.

Many Dems here are heaving a sigh of relief at this news: