The White House and the Senate majority will be on the line next year as Republicans try to claw their way back into power following a disastrous 2020 election that cost them the White House and the Senate majority.
Despite popular belief that a new president’s party loses ground in the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are eyeing potential offensive opportunities in 2022 as they seek to grow their razor-thin majority in the upper chamber.
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Nonetheless, the GOP has its own pickup prospects, particularly in states where Democrats have just won.
The following are the nine Senate seats that are most likely to change hands in 2022:
Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) impending retirement, combined with President Biden’s narrow victory in 2020, have given Democrats one of their greatest chances to flip a Senate seat held by Republicans for 50 of the previous 52 years.
Of course, flipping Toomey’s seat isn’t going to be simple. Former President Trump won Pennsylvania by less than a single percentage point in 2016, and many Republicans feel that his brand of conservative populism will help them win in 2022. Several Republican candidates are already fighting for the role of Trump follower, and more are considering running.
The Democratic primary field is similarly packed, with contenders such as Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who served as a surrogate for Biden during the 2020 campaign, drawing attention. More candidates, including Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), who is reportedly exploring a Senate run, could emerge soon.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), like Toomey, is leaving the Senate, leaving a wide-open contest for his replacement in a perennial battleground state.
In both 2016 and 2020, Trump won North Carolina. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) was re-elected last year despite a concerted Democratic effort to remove him.
However, now that Burr has stepped down and Trump is no longer on the ballot, Democrats have a chance to reclaim one of North Carolina’s Senate seats.
A lot will be determined by who wins the primaries. Five Republicans have entered the race, including Rep. Ted Budd (R-North Carolina), former Rep. Mark Walker (R-North Carolina), and former Gov. Pat McCrory. Lara Trump, former President Trump’s daughter-in-law, has stated she is exploring a Senate run, looming over the GOP primary race.
Democrats are likely to face a crowded contest as well. State Sen. Jeff Jackson, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, and former state Sen. Erica Smith are among the front-runners.
Ohio, a traditional swing state, has shifted to the right in recent years, voting twice for Trump and handing Democrats a string of close losses in lower-level races.
However, Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) revelation earlier this year that he would not seek reelection set the stage for a tight Senate race that Democrats believe they can win.
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The fact that only one contender has entered the race so far — Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) — could work to Democrats’ benefit. Others, such as Ohio state House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, are still debating whether to run for the nomination.
In January, Georgia voters won Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in a pair of runoff elections, giving Democrats their current Senate majority. However, Warnock will run for re-election in 2022, this time for his first full term in government.
Georgia has grown into one of the nation’s fastest growing and most diversified battlegrounds, despite being a traditional Republican stronghold. Biden became the first Democratic presidential contender to win Georgia since former President Bill Clinton in 1992 in 2022.
However, the Republican Party remains a formidable force in the state, and Warnock is one of the party’s top offensive targets for 2022.
The election of Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) in 2020 handed Democrats control of both Senate seats in Arizona for the first time in nearly 70 years. But he’ll be up for reelection next year, and Republicans have made him one of their main targets.
The Republican primary field is still forming, but it is expected to include some of Trump’s most passionate supporters. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), two Trump acolytes who are among the most outspoken proponents of the former president’s election-rigging accusations, have proposed Senate bids.
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich is also a possible GOP Senate candidate, although unlike Gosar, he is a Democrat.
With Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-Ariz.) election in 2020, Democrats would have control of both Senate seats in Arizona for the first time in nearly 70 years. However, he will be up for reelection next year, and Republicans have made him a major target.
The Republican primary field is still forming, but some of Trump’s most passionate supporters may join the contest. Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), two Trump acolytes who are among the most outspoken advocates of the former president’s election rigging accusations, have proposed Senate bids.
Mark Brnovich, the state attorney general, is also a possible GOP Senate candidate, but unlike Gosar, he is a conservative.
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) will face her first reelection battle in 2022, and Democrats in the state are optimistic. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) won reelection by more than 15 points in 2020, whereas Biden carried the state by more than 7 points.
Republicans, on the other hand, believe they have a chance to unseat Hassan next year, especially if their top candidate for the nomination, Gov. Chris Sununu, enters the campaign.
So far, only Don Balduc, a retired Army brigadier general who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP Senate nomination last year, has launched his campaign for the New Hampshire Senate seat. As the Republican Party waits for Su, no other candidates have surfaced.
Republicans will find it difficult to defeat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). They contend, however, that her seat could be up for grabs with the right candidate.
So far, no Republican has declared a candidacy against Cortez Masto. The GOP, on the other hand, is attempting to get former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who ran for governor in 2018 but failed, into the race, believing that he is the greatest candidate for Republicans to unseat Nevada’s senior senator.
Even while Democrats have won a slew of statewide elections in recent years, they warn that Nevada remains competitive. Biden won the state by around 2 points in November, the same margin by which Clinton and Cortez Masto won the state.