by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Two key Senate Republicans announced they’ll run for reelection, signaling increased optimism the GOP can regain the majority.
Democrats could hang on to their bare majority in the Senate, where they govern an evenly split chamber with the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“But that doesn’t mean the party should feel too confident about their chances,” wrote Inside Politics editor Nathan Gonzales in his latest assessment of the midterm elections. “Democrats have no room for error.”
For the GOP, confidence in a 2022 Republican takeover is growing.
President Joe Biden’s disapproval rating has soared to an all-time high, while the party’s agenda in the Democratic-led House and Senate has floundered thanks to intraparty disputes.
Analysts have predicted Republicans will have an easier time than Democrats winning a handful of toss-up races, which would give them the lead and return them to the majority.
With confidence growing, two key GOP holdouts announced they plan to try to stick around rather than retire.
Minority Whip John Thune announced Saturday he’d seek a fourth term representing South Dakota, ending weeks of speculation he might retire and throw the GOP hierarchy into question.
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who many predicted would follow through with his pledge to retire after two terms, announced Sunday he’ll seek reelection after all.
Johnson wrote in the Wall Street Journal he chose to run at the urging of “countless” constituents and that he must remain in office to combat “disastrous policies” implemented by Democrats, who have controlled the federal government since 2020.
In a statement, Thune announced he is running again because he is “uniquely positioned” to deliver results for South Dakota, where constituents value his seniority in the Senate.
Neither lawmaker has publicly expressed confidence Republicans will take control of the chamber when explaining their decisions to run again, but both are on deck for leadership spots in a GOP-controlled Senate.