Checking in on US Senate Races Before Election Day

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #40 | By: Ian Milden | October 31, 2022

Header photo taken from: Demetrius Freeman / The Washington Post




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The Republicans’ Senate campaign arm cuts TV ad buys in 3 states. In a sign that fund-raising trouble is taking a serious toll, a key political committee cancels ad plans in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Photo taken from: Sean Simmers / The Associated Press

Policy Summary

Election Day is November 8th. This brief will take a look at some of the Senate Races I previewed over the summer and provide some short updates on the state of those races.

Policy Analysis

Georgia – The headlines have not improved for Herschel Walker (R-GA) since I last wrote about this race. He’s been accused of paying for his mistress’ abortion and criticized by his son for his behavior. He’s still in the race because he still has the support of the Republican Party and most Republicans in Georgia. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) appears to be in a good position, though this race could still head to a runoff if nobody gets a majority of the vote.

 Republicans might appreciate a runoff because that might help their chances of winning the seat. Republicans might dread a runoff because they would have to campaign with Herschel Walker for two more months.

Pennsylvania – The margin in the polls has become tighter as I thought it would. Lt. Governor John Fetterman (D-PA) still leads Dr. Mehmet Oz (R-PA). 

Dr. Oz has struggled to improve his image among the electorate as most polls, including ones with more favorable results for Republicans, indicate a high percentage of voters still hold negative opinions of Dr. Oz. His tasteless attacks on Fetterman’s health likely did not help. This race remains Democrats’ best hope of picking up a Republican-held Senate race.

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Former President Barack Obama endorsed North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley in a new campaign ad as Democrats zero in on the southern swing state as one of the few where they could flip a seat in the deadlocked chamber.

In pivotal Nevada Senate race, Democrats’ abortion focus might not overcome voters’ economic concerns.

Photo taken from: John Lochner / Associated Press

Nevada The polls have moved a few points in the direction of Republican Adam Laxalt, which isn’t a great sign for Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV). 

The polls still show a margin of error race and Nevada has a reputation for being a difficult state to get an accurate poll from, so Democrats still have a shot to keep the seat. However, the movement in the polls and the internal squabbles within the Democratic Party make this race the most concerning one for Democrats where they have an incumbent to defend.

North Carolina – This race hasn’t gained the national attention that some other U.S. Senate races have received. Most polls show margin of error races with several polls showing both candidates having support in the mid-40s. 

That’s a sign that voters don’t know the candidates very well, which I indicated might be an issue for both candidates several months ago. This race will be decided based on who turns out to vote. Over the past decade, that has worked out better for the Republicans in North Carolina.

Photo taken from: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Pres

Ohio – Republican Super PACs are spending about $3 million in TV ads a week in Ohio, which they didn’t plan on doing. Republicans had to invest that much money to prop up J.D. Vance (R-OH) because it is hard for Republicans to win back control of the U.S. Senate if they lose in Ohio. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) has kept this a margin of error race despite little investment from national Democratic groups. It doesn’t seem likely that Congressman Ryan will win, but the race is close enough where a Democratic win isn’t impossible.

Iowa – I wrote back in July that Democrats were not going to win in Iowa unless something substantially changes the race by late October. I have not seen anything that substantially changes from that assessment. Republicans have been running more ads on TV than Democrats, not just in the race for the U.S. Senate seat, but also in races for U.S. House seats and several statewide offices. Election night is likely to bring more disappointment for Democrats in Iowa.

Engagement Resources​

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DSCC – Official Campaign Arm of Senate Democrats

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