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What to Expect in the 2022 Midterms

November 03, 2022
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Here’s what I’ll be looking for Tuesday as I watch election returns at Fox News in New York.

When polls close Tuesday at 6 p.m. EST in parts of Indiana and Kentucky (both states are split between time zones), I’ll compare what each Democrat and Republican hopeful receives to what their parties’ presidential candidate got in 2020. That’s something to watch across the board. In districts or states where Joe Biden’s margin is smaller than this year’s Democratic candidates’, that indicates it could be a bad night for their party.

At 7 p.m., polls close in four states as well as the rest of Indiana and Kentucky and part of Florida. I’ll focus on Georgia to see by how much Gov. Brian Kemp is beating Stacey Abrams. The bigger Mr. Kemp’s margin, the better Herschel Walker’s chances to win the Senate seat. If neither he nor Sen. Raphael Warnock gets more than 50% of the vote, the election goes to a Dec. 6 runoff.

Virginia also closes at that time, with three high-profile House races. If the GOP takes one seat, it’ll point to a good night nationally, two seats to a great night, and three to a blowout. I’ll also start matching the final polls with outcomes to see if surveys under-polled Republicans. 

At 7:30 p.m., North Carolina and Ohio polls close. Republicans must win both Senate races. I’ll compare Tuesday’s returns with 2020’s totals.

At 8 p.m., voting ends in 16 states, parts of five others and the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania could decide the Senate. It’s a state Mr. Biden won by only 1.18%, and I’ll check Tuesday’s returns against his 2020 margin to see how Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman are doing. But Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot rules may make it hard to tell. Those votes can’t be opened and verified until 7 a.m. the day of the election, then counted after polls close. In 2020 their numbers were so overwhelming that they took days to count. While the in-person Election Day votes broke 66% for Donald Trump, the mail-ins went 77% for Mr. Biden. If the Senate race is tight and vote-counters meet a similar mass of mail-ins, we may not know who won for days.

The last Florida polls close at 8 p.m. I’ll look to see how strong a 2024 launch Gov. Ron DeSantis gets—I suspect it’ll be Canaveral-worthy. There are other points worth watching too. Does Sen. Marco Rubio’s margin confirm Florida’s deepening redness? Does the GOP pick up three or four House seats? Does it carry heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County? 

I’ll also keep an eye on New Hampshire. Late polling says its Senate race could be sliding toward the GOP. Republicans also hope to flip Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District, Connecticut’s Fifth, Maine’s Second and New Jersey’s Seventh, all of which report at 8 p.m.

A blockbuster group of states close at 9 p.m., perhaps settling the Senate’s fate. If the GOP keeps Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, it’s hard to see Democrats getting above 50 seats. As with Messrs. Walker and Kemp in Georgia, Blake Masters’s fate in his Senate race in Arizona could well depend on Kari Lake’s run for governor. 

At that hour, we’ll also see if Republicans get a gigantic upset for New York governor. Rising crime has energized that race and could help the GOP flip up to four House seats in the Empire State. If there’s a Senate shocker, it could be then in Colorado or at 11 p.m. in Washington state. The Republicans probably won’t take either seat, but don’t be shocked if they scoop up one. Michigan features a high-profile abortion initiative: How will that affect the state’s gubernatorial contest? I’ll also look at the three Republican Latinas running for South Texas House seats and watch Gov. Greg Abbott thrash Democrat Robert Francis O’Rourke.

Read More at the WSJ

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