DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Races and Ratings

July 7, 2022

Now 123 days from the November 8, 2022 midterm elections, there are at least six US Senate seats that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.

The "Toss Up" contests include Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We have also moved Ohio into that category.

While the ratings have not shifted significantly in the last two months, completion of primary elections or uncontested primaries in many of those states have brought the dynamics of the country's top targeted Senate races into greater focus.

34 of the 100 US Senate seats are up for election in 2022, with Democrats defending 14 seats and the Republican Party defending 20. That includes six open seats and, in addition, two special elections in California and Oklahoma.

ARIZONA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.4% v. Trump 49.1%
Primary: August 2, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly was elected in the November 3, 2020 special election to fill the remaining term of the late Senator John McCain (R). Kelly unseated interim Senator Martha McSally (R) 51.17% to 48.82% and is now up for reelection to a full term. Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D), is uncontested in the primary.

Thiel Capital CEO Blake Masters has emerged as the front runner in the GOP field, leading Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a June 28, 2022 Public Policy Polling survey, 29% to 15%. Solar power businessman Jim Lamon followed with 10%, former Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard Michael McGuire at 5% and 41% were undecided (MOE: +/-4%).

In a June 14-27, 2022 Change Research survey of registered voters, Kelly led Masters 48% to 44% in a head-to-head match-up, with 13% undecided.

On the fundraising front, Kelly had outraised by at least three times the amount of the Republican contenders, with $38.9 million as of the March 31, 2022 first-quarter reporting period, and $23.3 million cash on hand.

Lamon had raised $13.84 million, including a loan to himself of $13 million. Masters raised $3.78 million and Brnovich $2.55 million.

GEORGIA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.5% v. Trump 49.2%
Primary: May 24, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

Incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock was elected in the January 5, 2021 special election runoff to fill the remaining term of retiring Senator Johnny Isakson (R). Warnock defeated interim US Senator Kelly Loeffler 51.04% to 48.96% and is now up for reelection to a full term.

Warnock, who was uncontested in the primary, is facing Georgia Bulldog legend and former professional football player Herschel Walker, who has former President Trump's backing. Walker easily won the May 24 GOP primary with 68.7% of the vote.

A June 23-27, 2022 Quinnipiac University survey of registered voters showed Warnock leading 55% to 44% (MOE:+/-2.5%).

As of May 4, 2022, Warnock had raised a record $73.22 million with $23 million cash on hand, to Walker's $16.5 million, with $7.12 million on hand.

NEVADA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 50.06% v.Trump 47.67%
Primary: June 14, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

First-term Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the first-ever Latina elected to the upper chamber, will face GOP primary winner Adam Laxalt (56%) in November.

Laxalt, who succeeded Cortez Masto as Attorney General in 2016, was the 2018 GOP nominee for governor, losing to current Governor Steve Sisolak (D) by 4%. He is the son of former US Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and the grandson of former Nevada Governor and US Senator Paul Laxalt (R).

A June 24-27, 2022 Change Research poll of registered voters showed Cortez Masto in a statistical dead heat with 46% to Laxalt's 43%.

As of May 25, 2022, Cortez Masto has raised $19.73 million with $9.1 million cash on hand. Laxalt had raised $5.9 million, with $2.1 million on hand.

OHIO
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 45.3% v. Trump 53.3%
Primary: May 3, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

Once the bellwether of the country, Ohio went for Trump by eight points in 2020, breaking the state's record of voting with the winning presidential candidate since 1960.

While most analysts, accordingly, put this race in the "leaning Republican" category, recent polling shows Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan leading venture capitalist and author J.D. Vance in the race to replace retiring GOP Senator Rob Portman.

The July 3, 2022 survey, conducted by Momentive/SurveyMonkey for anti-Trump Republican-led group Center Street PAC, found Ryan ahead of Vance with 46% to 34% among registered voters. Undecided voters accounted for 20%.

While the margin of error for the poll was not available, momentum for Ryan, a tenacious campaigner, is clear. An earlier post-primary May 30-June 2, 2022 conducted by Grow Progress had Ryan leading Vance 44% to 41% among registered voters (MOE:+/-3%).

Ryan, a 10-term Congressman (13th CD-Youngstown), easily swept the May 3 Democratic primary with 69.6%, while Vance, following a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump, won the GOP primary with 32.2% among a field of seven candidates.

The fact that, all told, nearly 68% of Republican primary voters opted for other candidates, gives Democrats hope of splitting off swing voters in the battleground state.

Pre-primary fundraising numbers, as of April 13, 2022, had Ryan at $13.15 million raised with $5.18 million cash on hand. Vance had raised $2.53 million with close to $700,000 on hand.

PENNSYLVANIA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 50% v. Trump 48.8%
Primary: May 17, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

In the country's most-watched Senate primary, TV celebrity Dr. Mahmet Oz prevailed over former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, winning the GOP primary recount 31.2% to 31.1% -- a margin of less than 1,000 votes.

Oz, who received the endorsement of Trump just one month prior to the May 17 primary, faces Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in the open seat to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Senator Pat Toomey.

In the crucial battleground state, which Biden flipped in 2020 by just 1.2%, Fetterman is now leading Oz in recent polling, bolstering Democrats' hopes of a pick-up in their battle to retain control of the US Senate.

In a June 10-13, 2022 USAToday/Suffolk University survey of likely voters, Fetterman led Oz 46% to 37% (MOE:+4.4%).

As of April 27, 2022, pre-primary fundraising numbers showed Fetterman at $16 million raised with $1.87 million cash on hand. Oz had raised $15 million, including a $12 million loan to his campaign, with less than $1 million on hand.

WISCONSIN
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.4%, Trump 48.8%
Primary: August 9, 2022
Rating: Toss Up

Senator Ron Johnson, the GOP's most vulnerable incumbent, is the only Republican Senator facing reelection this year in a state that supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes has the edge in the Democratic primary, leading a field of nine contenders with 25% in a June 14–20, 2022 Marquette University poll of likely voters. He is followed by Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry with 21%, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski at 9% and Outagamie County Executive and former Wisconsin State Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson at 7%. Undecided voters accounted for 36% (MOE:+6.2%).

In the same poll, Mandela led Johnson 46% to 43% in a head-to-head match-up, while Johnson led Lasry 45% to 42% (MOE:+4.3%).

As of March 31, 2022, Lasry led the fundraising race with $9 million, including a loan of $5.8 million to his campaign, and less than $1 million cash on hand. Godlewski had raised $5.1 million with $1.63 million cash on hand, and Barnes had raised $4.1 million with $1.62 million on hand.

Johnson, who did not announce his reelection bid until January, had raised $9.3 million with $3.6 million on hand.

Coming Soon: Other Senate Races to watch!

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: Ballotpedia, Inside Elections, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Open RealClearPolitics, OpenSecrets

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