DemDaily: Status of The Senate: The Other Races to Watch

April 6, 2022

34 of the 100 US Senate seats are up for election in 2022, with Democrats defending 14 seats and the Republican Party defending 20, including five open seats.

An additional special election to fulfill the remaining term of Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe (R), who on February 25 announced his early retirement, will be held this November as well.

The Outlook
Now just seven months from the November 8, 2022 midterm elections, there are nine US Senate seats that will decide control of the upper chamber, with five of those currently considered a "Toss Up" in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

See: DemDaily: Status of the Senate I: Arizona and Georgia 3/29/22
DemDaily: Status of the Senate II: Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin 3/30/22

The Other Races To Watch
That leaves four additional pivotal races which narrowly favor one party or the other, any one of which could tip the balance of power.

2020 Presidential Results: Biden 47.9% v. Trump 51.2%
Filing Deadline: June 17, 2022
Primary: August 23, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

In the country's largest bellwether state, which Trump won by 3.3% in 2020, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio is facing his most serious reelection challenge since being elected in 2010. The Cuban-American, 50, was briefly a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination but suspended his campaign after coming in a distant second to Donald Trump in the Florida Republican primary. He instead sought reelection to his Senate seat, successfully fending off a challenge by Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy, 52% to 44.3%. He faces nominal primary opposition this year.

In the Democratic primary, Congresswoman Val Demings (10th CD) dominates a field of 12 candidates, which also includes former Congressman Alan Grayson (9th CD), Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell, 2018 and 2020 nominee for Florida's 17th CD Allen Ellison, former DOJ special counsel William Sanchez and seven other contenders.

Demings, 65, was first elected in 2016 and was reelected in 2020 with 63.6% in the Orlando-based 10th District. 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 candidate Joe Biden's shortlist as a potential vice-presidential pick in 2020.

A February 7-20, 2022 University of North Florida survey of registered voters showed Rubio leading Demings 46% to 34%, with 20% undecided (MOE: ± 3.7%).

Demings, however, is besting Rubio on the fundraising front, having raised $20.7 million by the end of 2021, with $8.16 million cash on hand, to the incumbent Senator's $16.9 million raised, with $10.59 million on hand.

The Florida Governor's race will also be on the ballot, where incumbent Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is leading Democratic frontrunner and Congressman Charlie Crist by 20% in recent polling.

New Hampshire
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 52.9% v. Trump 45.5%
Filing Deadline: June 10, 2022
Primary: September 13, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat

Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, who unseated first-term Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016 by less than 800 votes, is among the battleground races 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 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. She is unchallenged in the primary.

Hassan's chief Republican opponent is former US Army Special Forces Brigadier General Donald Bolduc. He 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 general election in 2020 by 15%.

In the primary, Bolduc faces New Hampshire state Senate President Chuck Morse, Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and three other candidates. Popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu, who mulled a challenge to Hassan, announced last November that he would instead run for reelection.

Bolduc trails considerably in fundraising, having reported raising just $280,000 as of December 31, 2021. Hassan, who had amassed $12.39 million by the end of 2021, announced this week that her campaign will be posting a record-breaking $4.3 million fundraising haul for the first quarter of 2022. Hassan's reelection campaign also announced a $13 million reservation in fall airtime ahead of November’s midterm elections.

A March 23–24, 2022 Saint Anselm College poll showed Hassan leading Bolduc 44% to 39% with 7% voting for other candidates and 10% undecided (MOE± 2.8%).

North Carolina
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 48.7% v. Trump 50.1%
Filing Deadline: March 24, 2022
Primary: May 17, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

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%.

Congressman Ted Budd (13th CD), who has Trump's endorsement, is leading the Republican field in polling out this week. An April 2-4, 2022 Emerson College survey of likely voters showed Budd with 38%, followed by former Governor and former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory, who has Burr's endorsement, at 22%. Former Congressman Mark Walker (6th CD) garnered 9%, and the remaining candidates totaled 9%, with 23% undecided (MOE ± 3%).

If no one candidate wins the May 17th primary by at least 30% of the vote plus one, then the top two will go to a primary runoff election, scheduled for July 26.

Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley leads a field of eleven contenders, with no serious primary opposition. Beasley's closest competitors, State Senator Jeff Jackson and former State Senator and 2020 US Senate candidate Erica Smith both dropped out of the race in late 2021 and endorsed Beasley.

As of December 31, 2021, Beasley had reported raising $4.9 million with $2.82 million cash on hand. Budd raised just over $3 million, with $2.22 million cash on hand, and McCrory $3 million, with $1.95 million on hand. Walker had raised just $643,337.

In the April Emerson College survey, Beasley secured 43% to Ted Budd's 50%, with 8% undecided. In a match-up with McCrory, Beasley leads 43% to 41%, with 17% undecided.

2020 Presidential Vote: 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 went for Trump by eight points in 2020, breaking the state's record of voting with the winning presidential candidate since 1960.

Congressman Tim Ryan is heavily favored in the Democratic primary, garnering 43% in a February 17-March 15, 2022 University of Akron poll. Former CFPB senior advisor and 2020 Third Congressional District candidate Morgan Harper received 18% and 37% of respondents were undecided (MOE: ± 2.0%).

As of December 31, 2021, Ryan had raised $8.53 million, with over $5 million cash on hand, to Harper's $877,788 raised and roughly $437,000 on hand.

Early voting began yesterday for the May 3rd primary election, which includes a field of seven Republicans, currently led by Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel and Investment banker and 2018 Senate candidate Mike Gibbons.

The University of Akron poll shows Mandel and Gibbons in a statistical dead-heat, with 22% and 21% respectively. "Hillbilly Elegy" author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance secured 10%, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken 6%, other candidates 4%, and 34% of respondents were undecided.

As of the fourth quarter 2021 report, Gibbons had raised $12.15 million, $11,420,000 of which he self-financed. Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan, also in the race, has self-financed most of the $10.85 million he raised, and Jane Timken loaned her campaign $3.5 million of the $6.92 million she reported raised. Mandel raised $2.12 million and J.D. Vance $1.6 million.

Former President Donald Trump has not endorsed in the primary.

DemList will keep you informed.


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Sources: Ballotpedia, Inside Elections, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Open Secrets, Roll Call, Newsweek

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