2022 Midterm Elections: What are some of the most interesting state and local races to follow?
With Election Day fast approaching, here’s the Senate, House, gubernatorial and secretary of state races to watch this November.
Next week’s midterm elections look set to be some of the most consequential in recent decades. President Biden’s first two years in office have been far from perfect, with economic pressures over the past 12 months pushing up prices for working Americans.
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In normal circumstances the Democrats may expect to receive a kicking in the midterms, but Biden has sought to frame the elections as an opportunity to disavow the hundreds of Republican candidates who refuse to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Speaking on Wednesday, Biden said: “In our bones we know democracy is at stake.”
“We’re often not faced with questions of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy,” he continued. “But this year we are.”
This November all 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats and hundreds of local races will be on the ballot for voters across the country. Here’s three key areas to watch in the 2022 midterm elections…
Arizona races test the popularity of MAGA Republicans
In 2020 Biden became the first Democrat to win Arizona since Bill Clinton in 1996 and it heralded his eventual victory. However the swing state threatens to swing back in 2022 with two Trump-endorsed candidates looking to retake a Senate seat and the governor’s office.
Both gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters sit firmly in the MAGA wing of the Republican Party. Their candidacies were bolstered by the public support of former President Trump and both have claimed to be sceptical about the state’s vote for Biden in 2020.
Lake and Masters’ performance will show how the MAGA Republicans perform in a crucial swing state ahead of the next presidential race.
Arizona could also be a bell-weather for the expected Latino vote in 2024, which has proved to be a key factor in close races in recent years. Nationally Latinos represent the fastest-growing ethnic demographic and they broke 61%-37% in favour of Biden two years ago.
Big names battle for the Pennsylvania Senate seat
On Saturday three presidents – one sitting and two former – arrived in Pennsylvania to resume campaigning in a crucial Senate race. Pennsylvania’s vacant Senate spot sees Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman face off against Dr. Oz, a Trump-endorsed former TV show personality.
Biden will hold a joint appearance with former President Obama to bolster Fetterman’s chances. The Democratic candidate had held a clear lead in the polls but a shaky performance in a televised debate as he recovers from a widely-publicised stroke has hurt his polling.
Dr. Oz has reduced the deficit from 12 points in August to just 0.4 points in early November, but has suffered a knock in recent days after Oprah Winfrey, upon whose show he rose to fame, came out in support of Fetterman.
Secretary of State races could be key for future elections
With both Houses of Congress so closely divided, flipped seats in either the Senate or the House of Representatives could be crucial. If the Democrats were to lose either, or both, of the chambers it would have major repercussions for Biden’s next two years.
However Republican wins in a series of local elections could have much more far-reaching consequences. The United States’ federal nature means that each state can choose its own electoral system, a process overseen in each state by the aptly-named Secretary of State.
When attempting to challenge the election results in several key states in 2020, it was the Secretary of States whom Trump and his legal team targeted first. Now, with election conspiracies increasingly mainstream in the Republican Party, a number of avowed election deniers are running for this vital office.
In Michigan Kristina Karamo who rose to prominence after falsely claiming to have witnessed election fraud in 2020, enjoys widespread support. The Arizona GOP candidate Mark Finchem, is a member of the far-right Proud Boys group and attended Capitol Hill on 6 January 2021.
The GOP Secretary of State candidate in Nevada, Jim Marchant, was previously in the state’s assembly but claims to have lost his seat as a result of election fraud. He has received Trump’s endorsement and has drawn a parallel between himself and the former President.
“We have something in common: President Trump and I lost an election in 2020 because of a rigged election,” Marchant said at a recent rally.
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