Democrats currently control the bare minimum 50 Senate seats needed to pass legislation with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie breaking vote. Just one seat flipped in favor of Republicans would allow the GOP to take back control. The president’s party typically isn’t as susceptible in the Senate as it is in the House, but how are things looking in light of President Biden’s disastrous approval and the Senate’s failure to pass meaningful legislation?
According to FiveThirtyEight:
Let’s start with two of the most competitive Senate seats Democrats will have to defend in 2022: Arizona and Georgia. In 2020, these two Sun Belt states helped give Democrats their razor-thin majority, but now that region could hand Republicans control. Not only do two Democratic winners from last cycle have to defend seats they won in special elections — Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia — but Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is also up in a state that Biden carried by only slightly more than 2 percentage points in 2020.
The likely general election matchup is a bit clearer in Georgia, where Warnock will probably face Republican Herschel Walker, a hometown hero who won a national championship and the Heisman Trophy as the country’s best college football player at the University of Georgia in the early 1980s. Trump has already endorsed Walker and much of the GOP establishment has rallied to him, too, despite the fact he’s lived in Texas for many years. Walker has also been candid in the past about mental health issues, but there are a number of troubling episodes that could mire his Senate bid, including allegations of violence against women.
Finally, in Nevada, Cortez Masto’s likeliest Republican opponent is probably former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who also has Trump’s backing after supporting Trump’s false election claims in 2020 as co-chair of the former president’s Nevada campaign. But Laxalt may not have smooth sailing in the June 14 primary thanks to Army veteran Sam Brown, whose moving story as a roadside bomb victim while serving in Afghanistan has attracted a lot of attention, as well as a couple million dollars in fundraising over the past two quarters.
It’s not just the Sun Belt that poses risks for Democrats, though. They may also struggle to defend Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan’s seat in New Hampshire. Hassan did catch a break in November, when popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced he wouldn’t run against her. But while Hassan led many of her potential Republican opponents in recent general election polling, she’s not out of the woods because New Hampshire has one of the swingiest electorates in the country. Beyond New Hampshire, it’s not hard to imagine Colorado’s blue-leaning seat, held by Sen. Michael Bennet, also becoming competitive if things deteriorate further for Democrats.
We’ll keep a close eye on these races – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado – going forward for our readers.