by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Labor Day marked the unofficial end to summer — and the start of the final countdown to the 2022 midterms.
With just 63 days to go until Election Day on November 8, Republicans are laser-focused on efforts to take back the House and Senate.
Democrats currently control the House with just a nine-vote majority, while Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote in the Senate has given Democrats control of the evenly divided upper chamber.
The party on the outside looking into the White House typically does better in the midterms, and political analysts have long expected a red wave this November. However, recent events have given Democrats hope that they may fare better than expected, particularly in the Senate. Democrats are hoping the passage of their massive reconciliation bill, along with President Biden’s student-loan “forgiveness” and falling gas prices, can help court voters.
Democrats’ hopes have also been buoyed by two recent U.S. House special-election wins in New York and Alaska.
“It feels to me to be more like a shallow red puddle that we’re walking through, rather than a tsunami of sorts,” Republican strategist John Thomas recently told CNN.
FiveThirtyEight has Democrats “slightly favored” to retain control of the Senate.
The Cook Political Report currently has four Senate races designated as “toss-ups”: Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Democrats currently hold three of those seats, including Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona, Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. Republican Senator Ron Johnson currently holds the seat in Wisconsin.
Other Senate races to watch include the battle for three open seats, one each in North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All three seats are currently filled by Republicans.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell suggested there’s “probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate” in the November elections.