DemDaily: Status of The Senate II. Race Ratings

September 1, 2021

The US Senate currently stands at 50 Democrats, including two Independents who caucus with the Democrats, to 50 Republicans. As Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the President of the Senate and has the tiebreaking vote, Democrats officially have control of the Senate.

There are 34 of the 100 US Senate seats up for election November 8, 2022. Democrats are defending 14 seats, while the Republican Party is defending 20, including five open seats.

Following Monday's DemDaily: Status of the Senate I. Race Ratings, which covered Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Nevada, to follow is the breakdown on the additional top five targeted 2022 US Senate races, including New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.


2020 Presidential Results:  Biden 52.9% v. Trump 45.5%
Filing Deadline: TBD
Primary: September 13, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat


Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan was elected in 2016 in one of the top battleground races of the cycle, defeating first-term Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte by less than 800 votes.

Hassan previously served as Governor, having defeated Republican Ovide Lamontagne with 54.6% of the vote in 2012 to succeed retiring incumbent Governor John Lynch (D). She was reelected in 2014 with 52.4% to GOP nominee Walt Havenstein's 47.4%.

Only the second woman in American history to be elected both Governor and United States Senator, along with fellow New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Hassan also served as Vice Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Hassan previously served in the New Hampshire State Senate from 2004 to 2010, during which time she served as majority leader, president pro tempore, and assistant Democratic whip.

Potential Sununu-Hassan match up in NH (WSJ)

At present, Hassan's Republican opposition is former US Army Special Forces Brigadier General Donald Bolduc. He was a candidate for US Senate in 2020, coming in second with 42.30% to GOP nominee Corky Messner's 50.26%. Shaheen won the general by 15%.

The factor that moves this race from "likely" to "lean" Democrat is the potential entry of current Governor Chris Sununu (R) into the race. Sununu, who was elected in 2016 with 49% of the vote, and reelected in 2018 by 7%, boasts strong approval numbers for his handling of the pandemic and is one of the most popular GOP governors in a state Biden won.

Outside groups, however, are not waiting in what is expected to be one of the most expensive Senate races of the cycle. So far six groups from both parties have already spent at least six figures each on ads.

A July 15-19, 2021 University of New Hampshire poll conducted among likely general election voters found Hassan at 51%, compared to Bolduc's 41%. The same poll found Sununu polling at 49%, compared to Hassan's 48% (MOE +/- 2.3%). 

2020 Presidential Results: Biden 48.7% v. Trump 50.1%
Filing Deadline: December 17, 2021
Primary: March 8, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

Three-term Senator Richard Burr (R) is not seeking reelection in the southern swing state, which Trump won by just over 1% in 2020.

North Carolina was also home to one of the closest 2020 US Senate contests, which drew the most satellite spending of any congressional race in history, and ended with incumbent Thom Tillis (R) fending off Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham by just 1.8%.

NC Senate: Beasley (D) and McCrory (R) frontrunners (WKAE)

Declared Democrats for 2022 include NC's first Black woman State Supreme Court Chief Justice, Cheri Beasley, who has been endorsed by EMILY's List and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Other prominent Democratic contenders include State Senator Jeff Jackson and former State Senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith, as well as Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton, and four other candidates.

Announced Republicans include former Governor and former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory, who has Burr's endorsement, Congressman Ted Budd (13th CD), who has Trump's endorsement, and former Congressman Mark Walker (6th CD). Brunswick County commissioner "Marty" Cooke, DOD employee Jen Banwart and business owner Kenneth Harper are also running.

Budd's own internal poll, conducted June 9-10, 2021 by Meeting Street Insights, showed Pat McCrory easily leading the Republican field with 45% support, compared to 19% for Budd and 12% for Walker (MOE +/-4.4%).

No recent polling is available for the Democratic primary, but Beasley led fundraising for the second quarter with $1.3 million compared to Jackson's nearly $720,000 in the same period, with the rest of the field trailing far behind.

2020 Presidential Results: Biden 45.3% v. Trump 53.3%
Filing Deadline: February 2, 2022
Primary: May 3, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

Two-term moderate Republican Senator Rob Portman (R) is not seeking reelection in 2022. The traditional battleground state, which was long regarded as a bellwether for the presidential, went for Trump by eight points in 2020, breaking the state's record of voting with the winning presidential candidate since 1960.

Current frontrunners Mandel (R) and Ryan (D)

Congressman Tim Ryan has all but cleared the Democratic field of name opposition.

Other Dems include former CFPB senior advisor and 2020 Third Congressional District candidate 2020 Morgan Harper, who announced August 18th, and former Cleveland City Council candidate Demar Sheffey. Former Ohio State Treasurer Kevin Boyce is still reportedly weighing a run.

On July 1st bestselling Hillbilly Elegy author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance became the latest to join the crowded field of Republican contenders, otherwise led by former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken.

Investment banker and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons and wealthy car dealership owner Bernie Moreno are also running, along with five other contenders.

Ryan or the Democratic nominee will face a tough general election, but an already nasty GOP primary fraught with infighting for Trump's endorsement could damage the ultimate nominee and their resources.

A July 27-29, 2021 WPA Intelligence poll, conducted on behalf of the ultra-conservative Club for Growth PAC which has endorsed Josh Mandel, showed Mandel leading the GOP field with 40%, followed by Vance with 12% and Timken with 8%. 20% voted for other candidates or "someone else," and 20% were undecided.

2020 Presidential Results: Biden 50%, Trump 48.8%
Filing Deadline: March 8, 2022
Primary: May 17, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

In one of the country's most politically divided states, which Biden won by 1.26%, two-term Republican Senator Pat Toomey is not seeking reelection.

TBD: Whether progressive Fetterman loses any of his frontrunner status to moderate Conor Lamb (Twitter)

The latest major contender to enter the crowded Democratic field is Congressman Conor Lamb (17th CD), who announced August 6th. Lamb, a moderate, joins current frontrunner Lt. Governor John Fetterman, as well as Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and State Senator Sharif Street -- all progressives.

Other announced Democrats: Dr. Kevin Baumlin, Jenkintown Borough Councilwoman Alexandria Khalil, former Norristown Municipal Council President John McGuigan and Wharton School professor Eric Orts.

Republicans who have declared include businessman and 2018 Lieutenant Governor nominee Jeff Bartos, former US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, Army veteran and 2020 Congressional nominee (17th CD) Sean Parnell, political commentator Kathy Barnette, who was the GOP nominee for the 4th CD in 2016 and 2020, and attorney Sean Gale, as well at least four other candidates.

Available polling shows the race is still wide open. An August 9-15, 2021 Franklin Marshall College poll of registered voters showed Sean Parnell leading the GOP field with 14%, with the remaining under 10% and 66% undecided. Among Democrats, Fetterman led with 33%, followed by Lamb with 12%, with the remaining candidates under 10%, and 42% undecided (*Margin of Error +/-10.9%)

2020 Presidential Results: Biden 49.4% v. Trump 48.8%
Filing Deadline: June 1, 2022
Primary: August 9, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

Republican Senator Ron Johnson, considered the GOP's most vulnerable incumbent, has yet to announce whether he is running for a third term, wavering between his first election commitment to serve only two terms, and pressure by Donald Trump and party officials to run for reelection.

Mandela Barnes entry is shaking up WI Senate Dem primary (Channel 3000)

Johnson is the only GOP Senator facing reelection next year in a state that supported Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race. Considered the GOP's most vulnerable incumbent, Johnson is facing stiff competition from a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, on July 20th, became the latest high-profile candidate to enter the race. Barnes, 34, is Wisconsin's first Black lieutenant governor and, if elected, he would become the state's first Black US Senator.

Other Democrats have announced, including top contenders Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, as well as six other candidates. Former Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson withdrew his candidacy August 3rd and endorsed Barnes.

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: Status of the Senate I. Race Ratings 8/30/21. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada


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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Ballotpedia, 270ToWin, Wisconsin State Journal, Politico, NBC, Reuters, Open Secrets, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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