2022 Midterm Elections Preview

Much is at Stake for th State and the Nation…


Matthew Pasko, Section Editor

It’s that season again when everyone’s lawns are covered with scary decorations. Halloween is over so that can only mean one thing: election season!

Most people think about federal elections as a four-year cycle, since the presidential election occurs once every four years. However, there are elections every two years: this year, on November 8, the midterm elections will take place. Two years into the Biden presidency, the balance of federal power is set up for a change. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are 35 Senate seats. Additionally, numerous elections for governor are taking place as well. Several key issues have dominated this election cycle. The economy, as always, has taken center stage, with the issue of inflation and related government policies being challenged by voters. Additionally, social and ideological issues such as abortion, civil rights, education, immigration, and much more have been key factors in this election.

Although hundreds of seats are being contested, a much smaller number are actually close races. Many incumbent Congressmen have little chance of losing reelection. However, several of these closer races could decide the balance of power in Congress, as well as policy in different states. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important races of the 2022 midterm elections.


Georgia Senate

As has been common in politics in recent years, this election has garnered special media attention for its unique slate of candidates. The Democratic nominee for senate is Rev. Raphael Warnock, who narrowly won the seat in a special election in 2021. Warnock is known for his political activism in Georgia on issues such as the expansion of Medicaid. On the other hand, the Republican nominee is Herschel Walker: former NFL football player. Walker served on President Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Walker’s campaign has been slightly hampered by numerous allegations of infidelity and that he paid for his mistresses’ abortions (allegations which he denies). However, he has gained the support of the Republican party, including a vital endorsement from former President Trump. Warnock has the advantage of incumbency and a political background, and is ahead in the polls. But in a traditionally-conservative state like Georgia, the election could turn out either way.


Pennsylvania Senate

Another race with an interesting slate of candidates is Pennsylvania’s Senate election. Incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey announced that he would not seek reelection. This provides Democrats with a chance to pick up a formerly-red Senate seat. Their candidate is John Fetterman: a former mayor of Braddock, PA and the current Lieutenant Governor of the state. Fetterman is an experienced politician and a progressive on key issues such as marijuana legalization, healthcare, and criminal justice reform. Unfortunately, Fetterman suffered a stroke in May that has hindered his campaign. His opponent is Dr. Mehmet Oz (yes the Dr. Oz) who has a similar background to Donald Trump in that he has an extensive background in business and media, and hopes to use this experience in Washington as a sort of “outsider.” Oz has drawn criticism for his being out of touch with voters, at least compared to Fetterman, and the fact that he lived for a long time (and possibly still lives) in New Jersey. A recent debate between the two proved to be a win for Oz, with Fetterman’s stroke preventing a strong performance. As a result, his lead over Oz is steadily shrinking. Another interesting matchup, Fetterman and Oz’s race is one to watch as it could determine the balance of political power in the Senate.


Nevada Senate

The final Senate race on our list is in Nevada. This seat is seen as the most likely to flip in favor of the Republicans. Incumbent senators usually gain an advantage from being in office, but Democratic senator Catherine Cortez Masto faces the disadvantage of having been senator during a period of massive inflation: an economic situation which has affected Nevada’s tourism industry heavily. Republican challenger Adam Laxalt currently leads Masto in the polls. Laxalt, an “election denier” who propagated claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, was the Republican nominee for governor of Nevada in 2018. A Republican victory in Nevada, coupled with victories in other states, would vastly strengthen their position in Congress.


Texas Governor

Senate races will decide the national agenda set by either Democrats or Republicans. However, gubernatorial races will decide the political agendas of individual states. One state that has drawn lots of attention for its policies and political conflict is Texas. Incumbent Governor Greg Abbott is being challenged by Beto O’Rourke: a former congressman from Texas who gained national attention in his unsuccessful 2018 senate campaign against Ted Cruz. Republican voters have identified immigration and the border crisis as a key issue in this election: since President Biden took office, the number of immigrants traveling to the US-Mexico border has nearly quadrupled and many Texans worry that a Democratic governor would not properly address this crisis. Inflation was another key issue for Republicans, as it has been nationwide. For Democrats, abortion and gun policy are key issues. In May, 21 students and teachers were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde. Texas’s relatively loose gun laws and Abbott’s handling of the Uvalde shooting have prompted criticism from Democrats. As it has across the country, abortion is another issue that has polarized Texans, especially following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. 


New York Governor 

Closer to home, the race for governor of New York is another close one. Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo after his resignation, is challenged by Republican Lee Zeldin: a representative in New York’s first district. Zeldin’s campaign has focused on issues key to New York City voters including the rising crime rate and Covid-19 restrictions. Governor Hochul’s predesessor, Andrew Cuomo, drew criticism for Covid-19 mandates in New York, as well as a scandal involving the cover-up of Covid-related deaths in nursing homes. (He was eventually forced to resign after a sexual harassment investigation). Additionally, Zeldin has highlighted crime rates in New York City as an issue that Hochul, as well as Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, have failed to address. These issues will decide both New York’s next governor and New York City’s next mayor.