DemDaily: Status of the Senate: Races to Watch

July 12, 2022

Now less than four months out from the November 8, 2022 midterm elections, there are at least nine US Senate seats that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.

See our rundown on the first six "Toss Up" contests in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Races and Ratings  (7/7/22).

The next three, however, are on the edge of moving up or down the latter in Democrats' hope to maintain, if not expand, their margin of control in the upper chamber.

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.

FLORIDA
2020 Presidential Results: Biden 47.9% v. Trump 51.2%
Primary: August 23, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

In the country's largest battleground state, Republican Senator Marco Rubio is facing his most serious reelection challenge since being elected in 2010.

The Cuban-American, 51, was briefly a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination before reverting to reelection for his Senate seat, successfully fending off a challenge by Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy, 52% to 44.3%.

Congresswoman Val Demings has all but cleared what was once a field of 12 Democratic contenders, now down to four.

Demings, 65, was first elected to represent the 10th Congressional District in 2016 and was reelected in 2020 with 63.6% in the Orlando-based seat. She previously spent 27 years with the Orlando Police Department, including the last four as Chief, the first woman to hold the position.

A member of both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, Demings gained national recognition as one of the House managers in former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial. She was also on Joe Biden's shortlist as a potential vice-presidential pick in 2020.

Despite Demings' trailblazing resume, Florida has been trending Republican, dealing blows to Democrats over the last three election cycles and putting into question its swing-state status.

The last reported poll, a May 26-27, 2022 survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, had Rubio leading Demings 47% to 41%.

Demings and Rubo are neck-in-neck on the fundraising front, with Demings having raised $30.5 million by March 31, 2021, with $13.23 million cash on hand. Rubio had raised $30 million with $13.14 million on hand.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 52.9% v. Trump 45.5%
Primary: September 13, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat

The reelection campaign of Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, who unseated first-term Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016 by less than 800 votes, is among the battleground contests of 2022.

Hassan, who served as Governor from 2013 to 2017, is only the second woman in American history to be elected both Governor and United States Senator, along with fellow New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen. She is unchallenged in the primary.

Hassan's chief Republican opponent is former US Army Special Forces Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, who has the endorsement of former GOP Senator Bob Smith (NH) and is leading a GOP field of 12 candidates. Bolduc was a candidate for the US Senate in 2020, coming in second with 42.30% to GOP nominee Corky Messner's 50.26%. Shaheen won the 2020 general election against Messner by 15 points.

An April 14-18, 2022 University of New Hampshire survey of likely voters showed Bolduc at 33%, followed by Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith Smith (4%), State Senate President Chuck Morse (2%), and Bitcoin entrepreneur Bruce Fenton (1%). MOE: ± 3.5%.

While Bolduc had the clear lead, the same UNH survey showed Hassan is vulnerable against any of the top four GOP contenders named in the poll, coming within 6% of each at that point.

With no more recent GOP primary polling, the results of this month's second-quarter 2022 fundraising report, due out July 15th, will be a critical indicator of the strength of Bolduc's candidacy.

As of the March 31, 2022 first-quarter report, Bolduc, who announced his bid in November 2021, had raised only $384,706, with $82,225 cash on hand. Morse had raised approximately $740,000 with $671,885 on hand, and Smith had raised $409,486, with $312,487 on hand.

Hassan had amassed $21,58 million by March 31, 2021, with $7.62 million cash on hand.

In a more recent June 24-27, 2022 Change Research poll of likely general election voters, Hassan led Bolduc 49% to 40%, with 11% undecided (MOE± 3.7%).

NORTH CAROLINA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 48.7% v. Trump 50.1%
Primary: May 17, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

The open seat being vacated by retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr is poised to move into the toss-up category.

In the southern swing state, which Trump won by just over 1% in 2020, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is going head-to-head against Trump-backed Congressman Ted Budd (13th CD).

Budd won the May 17, 2022 GOP primary with 58.6%, followed by former Governor Pat McCrory with 24.6%, and former Congressman Mark Walker 9.2%, and 12 other candidates.

In a June 29-July 1, 2022 poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group (R) of likely voters, Budd led Beasley 48% to 45% (MOE± 2.9%)

As of April 27, 2022, Beasley had reported raising $9.64 million with $3,28 million cash on hand. Budd had raised half the amount with $4.55 million and $1.1 million on hand.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Colorado: The reelection of two-term incumbent and former presidential candidate Michael Bennet is drawing attention because of his general election opponent -- businessman and self-funder Joe O’Dea, who prevailed in the June 28 GOP primary with 55%.

Bennet, who won his 2016 re-election with 50% of the vote over Republican Darryl Glenn (44.3%), had raised $13 million as of June 8, 2002, with $6.98 million cash on hand. O'Dea had raised $2.34 million, including a $1.15 million loan to his campaign, and had over $1 million on hand.

Missouri: The Show-Me State's status will be determined largely by the outcome of the August 2 primary elections for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt.

Former Governor Eric Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (4th CD), and Attorney General Eric Schmitt lead a field of some 20 contenders in a tight race for the GOP nomination.

If Greitens, who resigned his office in 2018 amid campaign finance improprieties and allegations of sexual assault, is the nominee, then the race becomes competitive for Democrats. Top contenders for that nomination are veteran and national security director of the American Economic Liberties Project Lucas Kunce, former nurse and daughter of beer magnate August Busch, Jr., and entrepreneur Spencer Toder.

The June 29 entry of former US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri John Wood, who is running as an independent (but would caucus with the Republicans) is also likely to shake up the race. Wood, who left his post as staff counsel for the January 6th Committee to launch his bid, has the support of former GOP Senator John Danforth (R-MO).

Utah
Two-term Republican Senator Mike Lee fended off two challengers with 62.3% of the vote in the June 28 primary election. This will be the first Senate election in Utah’s history where there is no official Democratic nominee, as the Utah Democratic Party chose to endorse Evan McMullin, an independent candidate.

McMullin, a former CIA operative and former policy director for the US House Republican Conference, left the Republican Party in 2016 after Donald Trump became the presumptive presidential nominee, and launched his own brief presidential campaign.

A May 24-June 15, 2022 survey conducted by Dan Jones & Associates for the Deseret News, University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics, had McMullin at 35% to Lee's 41%.

Pre-primary fundraising numbers showed, as of June 8, 2022, Lee had raised $5.56 million with $2.22 million cash on hand. McMullin had raised $2.69 million and had less than $1 million on hand.

Related
DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Races and Ratings 7/7/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Election Calendar. New Updates! 6/26/22

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

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