Election 2022: What’s At Stake

The 2022 Midterm elections will determine which party controls the House of Representatives and Senate for the next two years. The outcome of the elections will determine the ability of the Biden Administration to pass legislation in congress, which will have significant ramifications for the 2024 presidential election. All 435 House and 34 out of 100 Senate seats will be up for grabs, and many other statewide races will be on the ballot for voters to decide. Below, we detail some of the most important Senate, House, and Governor Races to watch during the midterm elections. If you want live updates on election results, visit the New York Times Election Night Tracker. Other news organizations will also be covering the results, so be sure to stay tuned. Below you can find the important races and ballot initiatives across the country.

United States Senate 

Wisconsin: Incumbent Ron Johnson (Republican) vs. Mandela Barnes (Democrat)

  • Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson is looking to secure a third senate term over opposition candidate Mandela Barnes (Democrat). Ron Johnson is a very conservative candidate, and vulnerable in a state Biden won in 2020. However, while this race is likely to be very close, polling has Johnson taking a small lead over Barnes.

Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (Democrat) vs. Mehmet Oz (Republican)

  • The Pennsylvanian Senate Election will be one of the most closely watched around the country. Democratic populist Fetterman will face off against Republican Mehmet Oz. This election is expected to come down to the wire, with both candidates statistically tied in the polls. Democrats see this senate election as their best opportunity to pick up a seat in the chamber.

Georgia: Incumbent Raphael Warnock (Democrat) vs. Herschel Walker (Republican)

  • Back in 2020, Raphael Warnock won a special election that helped give Democrats a 50-50 Senate majority (Vice President with tie breaking vote). However, Warnock will now have to face off against Republican Herschel Walker, who is expected to give Warnock a formidable challenge and potentially flip the seat to Republican control. 

Arizona: Incumbent Mark Kelly (Democrat) vs. Blake Masters (Republican)

  • After flipping control of both senate seats in the 2018 and 2020 elections, Democrat Mark Kelly will look to retain his seat against a Trump-backed Blake Masters. Polls show a close race, will Kelly barely leading Masters coming up to election day. If Democrats lose this seat, they will have significant difficulty retaining control of the chamber.

Nevada:  Incumbent Cortez Masto (Democrat) vs. Adam Laxalt (Republican)

  • Vulnerable Democrat Cortez Masto seeks a second term against Adam Laxalt. Despite defying the odds in the 2016 election with a victory over Republican JOe Heck, Masto is facing an uphill battle against Laxalt. This senate seat is one of the best opportunities for Republicans to flip a senate seat.

Ohio: J.D Vance (Republican) vs. Tim Ryan (Democrat)

  • Despite the state of Ohio becoming a lean Republican state in the past election cycles, this senate election will be closely watched. Tim Ryan, who has distanced himself from many mainstream Democrats, will face off against J.D Vance, whose campaign has struggled to take a commanding lead in this election. While Vance is a slight favorite, Ryan will look to appeal to a diverse coalition of voters to potentially flip this seat for Democrats.

United States House of Representatives

Texas: Races in the 15th and 28th Congressional Districts in the state of Texas will show how strong Democrats are able to appeal to their base in a state that went to Donald Trump by about 6 points in 2020. Democrats have seen backsliding in support from Hispanic voters in Texas in the past two years, and these midterm elections will test how much support they hold in this key demographic.

Alaska: In a special election, Democrat Mary Peltola flipped control of Alaska’s long held Republican seat in congress. The new ranked choice voting system was on full display, and now Mary Peltola will face off against Republicans Begich and Palin to see if she can keep control of this seat for the Democrats in 2022.

Nevada: Nevada’s 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts, both held by Democrats, will see very contested elections this cycle. Issues such as abortion and the 2020 election certification have been focal points of the campaigns in these two districts, where Democrats hope to stave off the Republican opposition candidates.

Kansas: Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District includes Democratic incumbent Sharice Davids, who will face tough opposition from Republican opposition in a district that has become more rural due to the redistricting process. 

Maine: Maine’s 2nd District, which Trump carried by nearly 7 points in 2020, will be a closely watched House election in the country. Maine also uses ranked choice voting, and Democrats will hope to defy the odds and keep both House seats in the 2022 elections.

Florida: Redistricting will likely help Republicans pick up Democratically held seats in this state. Florida’s 13th District is one to keep an eye on in a state that has trended more Republican friendly in recent years.

Many other House seats will be up for grabs this election cycle. Be sure to follow the New York Times Election Tracker to see live updates of the results from these races to find out who will control the legislature after this election cycle.

Gubernatorial Races

Governor races will be very important for state politics. Below will be some of the most closely watched this election cycle

Arizona: Katie Hobbs (Democrat) vs. Kari Lake (Republican)

This governor race will be one of the most critical this election cycle. Kari Lake, who is backed by President Trump and has been skeptical of the 2020 election results, is looking to retain control over the governor’s mansion in a state that voted for Biden by less than 1% just two years ago. 

Oregon: Christine Drazan (Republican) vs. Tina Kotek (Democrat)

While Oregon has been considered a relatively safe state for democrats, this election poses a challenge to their control in state politics. Republican Christine Drazan is neck-and-neck with Democrat Tina Kotek, Oregon’s former house speaker. The involvement of a third party candidate, Betsy Johnson, has made this race unusually close, and Republicans see this as a governor seat they can flip.

Kansas: Incumbent Laura Kelly (Democrat) vs. Derek Schmidt (Republican)

While usually a Republican stronghold, Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly, who beat unpopular Republican Kris Kobach in the 2018 gubernatorial election, is looking to secure a second straight term as governor against Republican Derek Schmidt. Polls currently show Kelly leading by a small margin.

Michigan: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer (Democrat) vs. Tutor Nixon (Republican)

While Whitmer has held the edge for many months, polls have narrowed lately, giving Tutor Nixon an opportunity to knock off the Democratic incumbent. An upset in this state is not impossible given that it only voted for Biden by a few percentage points in 2020.

Florida: Incumbent Ron Desantis (Republican) vs. Charlie Crist (Democrat)

Recent polling has shown this race is likely to be won by Ron Desantis. A big win here could jumpstart Desantis’ presidential aspirations if he chooses to run in 2024. Desantis is seen as very conservative and popular in a state Trump won by a few percentage points just a couple years ago. A strong performance in the state could reveal the extent it has shifted towards Republicans in just the last two election cycles.

Statewide Referendums/Ballot Initiatives:

Many issues are on the ballot this election cycle. Click here to see a comprehensive list of important ballot measures in this election cycle. Here are some issues that will be on the ballot this election:

Voting: Given the claims of fraud during the 2020 election cycle, the issue of voting is an important one on the ballot.States such as Ohio and Liousianna are looking to prevent the ability of Non-US Citizens from voting in city wide elections, which places like New York City allow. Additionally, ballot initiatives on early voting can be found in states such as Connecticut.

Marijuana: States such as Arkansas and Missouri will be putting forth ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana.

Abortion: Since Roe v. Wade was overturned just a few months ago, States now have free reign in what restrictions they place on abortion. States such as California and Michigan will be looking to put in constitutional protections for abortion, while voters in Kentucky will decide on whether their state constitution protects the right to an abortion.

Minimum Wage: States such as Nevada and Nebraska will vote on whether to raise their minimum wages for workers. With inflation hitting record highs in the U.S, the minimum wage has become a hot button issue for voters.

Other issues such as gun rights and healthcare access will also be on ballot initiatives this election day. Click here for more ballot initiatives to keep an eye on.

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