These midterm races could determine who wins the House, Senate in 2022


The Washington Post dissects the most important races to determine control of the Senate, House and governorships on Tuesday

Clark County poll workers work quickly to usher in the long lines of voters on the last day of early voting at the Galleria Sunset Mall in Las Vegas on Friday. Nevada, which has several close House races and a tight race for governor and U.S. Senate, will be a major focus on Election Day.
Clark County poll workers work quickly to usher in the long lines of voters on the last day of early voting at the Galleria Sunset Mall in Las Vegas on Friday. Nevada, which has several close House races and a tight race for governor and U.S. Senate, will be a major focus on Election Day. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

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Democrats this weekend are bracing for potentially steep losses in the House and scrambling to retain control of the Senate and governorships around the country as a midterm election season that bore some surprises comes to a close by adhering to convention, with the party out of power claiming momentum.

Republicans are well-positioned to retake the House as they have moved aggressively into Democratic territory by tapping into voters’ anxiety about inflation and crime, and have benefited from disapproval of President Biden’s leadership.

Republicans need to pick up just five seats to win back the House, but the atmosphere is so murky that some Democratic strategists privately acknowledge that a loss of 20 seats would be a good night. The outcome is less predictable in the Senate, as uncertainty hangs over contests in Georgia and Nevada, long considered dead heats, and races for Democratic-held seats in Arizona and New Hampshire and a Republican-held seat in Pennsylvania have all tightened in the final stretch, boosting GOP hopes to net the one seat required to gain control of the upper chamber. Meanwhile, Democrats are suddenly on the defensive in the governor’s race in New York, long a stronghold for the party, and in Oregon.

“Republicans are turning out,” Adam Laxalt, the GOP Senate nominee in Nevada, said at a campaign event Friday night in North Las Vegas. “Democrats … what do they have to be motivated about? This is our shot.”

Recent history has dictated that the president’s party loses seats in midterm elections, but Democrats thought they might defy that trend. Energized by the end of Roe v. Wade and buoyed by the GOP’s elevation of polarizing, often untested candidates loyal to former president Donald Trump, Democrats sought to frame the midterms as a reckoning with Republican extremism rather than a referendum on the current president.

“Democrats even having a shot at having a decent night is unprecedented in the political environment we’re living in,” said Chuck Rocha, a veteran Democratic strategist working on many races this year. “The off-year election, the president, redistricting, inflation — my God. How are Democrats not going to lose everything?”

Now many worry that a strong night nationally for Republicans could wallop candidates up and down the ballot who had been holding their own — though some Democrats say that they long expected key races to narrow and that they remain hopeful.

“Republicans came home in August and September, and they’re coming home now. They’ve solidified,” said Celinda Lake, a lead pollster for Biden’s 2020 campaign.

The trend extends to some of the most Democratic…



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