2022 Midterms: Top 10 States to Watch

September 29, 2022

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The 2022 midterm elections kicked off with primaries in Texas on March 1, 2022. Additional high-profile primary elections will be held throughout the summer in Governor and Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and beyond. Those contests will tee up Election Day on November 8, when control of the U.S. House and Senate will be up for grabs as well as several high-profile gubernatorial races in key battleground states.

Ten states in particular will play a significant role in deciding the balance of the U.S. House and Senate and shaping the map of governorships going forward.

  • Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania are home to targeted U.S. Senate and House and Governors races.
  • Kansas has targeted House and Governors races.
  • New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin each have targeted Senate and Governors races.
  • In North Carolina, there will be a high-profile, open seat election for Senate as well as targeted House races.

McGuireWoods Consulting is carefully watching the primary election results in these 10 states and will capture the significance of the results as the elections unfold on our website and social media channels.

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New Hampshire Midterm Elections Update

The final primary in our series concluded on September 13, 2022, with the New Hampshire primary. The closely watched races were to fill the Republican nominees for Senate and U.S. House. After national Republicans failed to recruit popular Gov. Chris Sununu to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan, the attention on the Granite State has lessened. However, Republicans are confident that their pick of retired Army Brigadier General Donald Bolduc will be competitive in November.

Bolduc ran as an unabashed supporter of former President Trump and said he believed that President Biden was not the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. Bolduc edged out more mainstream GOP pick State Senate President Chuck Morse by just shy of 2%. Bolduc ran strong in the rural parts of the state and linked himself to supporters of the former President. Nonetheless, Sen. Maggie Hassan is slightly favored to win the upcoming election due to her large stockpile of campaign funds and is betting on her challenger’s strict view on abortion to sway independents in this largely libertarian state.

In the House, Republicans selected Karoline Leavitt to take on Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas in a Congressional District that many think will be a bellwether in November. Leavitt is a 25-year-old veteran of the Trump Administration and is modeling herself after rising Republican star Rep. Elise Stefanik. In the less competitive 2nd District, GOP nominated Robert Burns will take on Congresswoman Ann Kuster. Kuster has been in the House since 2013 and is seen as the safer of the two seats; although trouble for her on election night could spell trouble for Democrats early in their battle to keep the House.

Florida Midterm Results Update

Republicans dominated turnout in Florida’s primary elections on Aug. 23, 2022, with 195,000 more Republicans voting than did Democrats despite having no competitive statewide races at the top of the ticket. This is not a good omen for Democrats in competitive races throughout the state of Florida, as their turnout lagged significantly behind 2018 off-year election primary turnout. If these turnout trends are similar in November, it will be a tough general election for Florida Democrats trying to make inroads into heavy Republican majorities and statewide offices. 

Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book held off a tough primary challenge and will remain a state senator representing Broward County.

With an endorsement from DeSantis, political outsider Kiyan Michael, won the state primary for House District 16.

Former members Bruce Antone, a Democrat, and Republican Kim Berfield won their respective state legislative primaries for seats 41 and 58.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the defeat of a number of incumbents on various school boards across Florida. Mirroring the issues raised in the Virginia election months ago related to parental rights in education, candidates across the state battled over ideological issues pertaining to teachings in the classroom on race, gender, and political ideology. When the dust settled, DeSantis claimed victory in many of these races, as the overwhelming majority of candidates he endorsed won their races.

These primaries will set up contentious battles in the November general election, with between five and seven state Senate seats and 15 to 20 state House seats expected to be competitive races.

Read the full analysis from the MWC Florida team here.

Wisconsin Midterm Results Update

On Aug. 9, 2022, the polls were open in Wisconsin for the primary races ahead of the midterms in November. There is increased focus in the state races as Republicans in Wisconsin are looking for a state trifecta by holding control of the governor’s mansion, state House, and state Senate. In the Republican primary race for governor, businessman Tim Michels won with 47.2% of the vote. Michels had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, which helped solidify the lead over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Kleefisch had the endorsement of former Vice President Mike Pence and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Michels will face current Democrat Gov. Tony Evers in November.

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is up for re-election, winning his primary with an 83.7% lead against former educator David Schroder. Johnson will face current Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who received 77.8% of the vote. Barnes won easily following basketball executive Alex Lasry and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski withdrawing from the Democratic primary.

There has also been national attention surrounding the U.S. House race in Congressional District 3, a small-town, mostly rural district that historically leans Democrat. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Kind is retiring, and following redistricting, Trump would have won the district in 2020. Republicans consolidated around one candidate, retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden. Van Orden will face Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff after winning the four-way primary Democratic race.

Arizona Midterm Results Update

On Aug. 2, 2022, Arizona voters took to the polls to decide their primary elections. One key race was the Republican nomination for governor in which another Trump-endorsed candidate fought against a Pence-backed primary candidate. In the end, after several days of counting ballots, Trump-backed Kari Lake, a former television news anchor, won the nomination. Lake will face Katie Hobbs, the former Democratic secretary of state in November.

Blake Masters, who was endorsed by former President Trump and tech-entrepreneur Peter Thiel, won the nomination for U.S. Senate, with 39% of the vote against Mark Brnovich and Jim Lamon. Masters will face incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, who gained the position after winning the special election in 2020.

The secretary of state position is left open following Katie Hobbs’s decision to run for governor. The Republican primary field for secretary of state included Mark Finchem, Beau Lane, Shawnna Bolick, and Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Finchem won the Republican primary with 41% of the vote following the support of former President Trump. Finchem will face Democrat Adrian Fontes on Nov. 8.

Kansas Midterm Results Update

On Aug. 2, 2022, the Kansas primary election took center stage, with Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, winning the race. Kelly will face a difficult general election after former President Trump won the state by 15 percentage points in 2020. Kelly will face Derek Schmidt, the current attorney general, who took the majority in each county and won by 80.6% of the vote.

Sen. Jerry Moran, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, is up for re-election. Moran will face former Kansas City Mayor Mark Holland, who won the Democratic nomination. Holland won by 38% of the vote; however, the state was divided giving votes to Paul Buskirk and Patrick Wiesner. Buskirk works for University of Kansas Athletics and Wiesner works as a lawyer, each gaining a portion of the state’s support.

Nevada Midterm Results Update

On June 14, 2022, Nevada voters made key decisions heading into the general election on Nov. 8. The key races in the state are the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor races. Adam Laxalt won all but one congressional district in the U.S. Senate Republican primary. The former attorney general won the primary with 56.1% of the vote against the retired Army captain with a Purple Heart, Sam Brown. Laxalt became the front-runner following the backing of former President Trump. Laxalt will face the incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, in the general election. Masto won 90.1% of the vote in the primary.

Former President Trump’s pick for governor, Joe Lombardo, won the primary in that race. Lombardo, Clark County sheriff, took 38.4% of the vote after a tight race. Lombardo will challenge current Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The key House race was the First Congressional District. Congresswoman Dina Titus was able to hold off a more progressive challenger Amy Viela by winning 82.4% of the votes in the district. Titus will face Republican Mark Robertson in the general election in a redder district following redistricting. 

Georgia Midterm Results Update

On May 24, 2022, Georgia voters went to the polls to cast their votes for the nominees they want to see represent their party in the November’s general election. Voter turnout was significantly higher among both parties compared to the previous midterm elections in 2018.

The Republican Gubernatorial Primary resulted in a landslide victory for incumbent Brian Kemp despite former President Donald Trump endorsing his challenger, former Senator David Purdue. Gov. Kemp garnered 73.7% of the Republican vote. His victory sets up a rematch of the highly contested 2018 race against Stacey Abrams, who ran unopposed on the Democratic side.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Herschel Walker easily secured the Republican nomination over a field of other GOP candidates, including state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Walker was endorsed by former President Donald Trump shortly after announcing his campaign. This sets up a clash with freshman Senator Raphael Warnock, who cruised to victory in his Democratic primary. This race is poised to be crucial in deciding Senate control.

The redistricting of Congresswoman Lucy McBath’s district prompted her to run in the neighboring 7th congressional district against Democratic colleague Carolyn Bourdeaux. McBath won the Democratic primary contest with 64% of the vote. She will now face either Michael Corbin or Mark Gonsalves in November’s general election.

In the 6th district, the election for an open seat in Congress resulted in a runoff on the Republican side. Rich McCormick and Jake Evans, whom Trump endorsed, advanced to a runoff election on June 21. The winner will take on Democrat Bob Christian in November. The winner of the Republican primary will likely be the next Congressman from the 6th District.

North Carolina Midterm Results Update

North Carolina recently held its primary elections for several key midterm races that are poised to decide the make-up of both the U.S. House and Senate. The battleground state had every House seat up for re-election and additionally one of its Senate seats. The redrawing of North Carolina’s congressional districts in 2022 resulted in the addition of a 14th seat, with about half leaning towards each party and one district being deemed as highly competitive. Voters went to the polls to nominate their respective candidates in a midterm race that is poised to decide the control of the Senate. On the republican side, Trump-endorsed Ted Budd emerged as the winner with 59%. The current Congressman defeated challenges from former Governor Pat McCrory and former Congressman Mark Walker. The Democratic side featured former North Carolina Chief Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley easily cruising to the party’s nomination with 81% of the vote.

The race in North Carolina’s 11th featured Freshman representative Madison Cawthorn vying for another term in Congress. Cawthorn, known for his pro-Trump policies was defeated narrowly by three-term state senator Chuck Edwards by a margin of 1.5%. Edwards had gained the endorsements of the state GOP and Senator Thom Tills amid several controversies that plagued the campaign of Cawthorn. Edwards should win the general election easily as the seat is safely Republican. Another notable race took place in the 13th district where candidates were vying for the open seat left by Republican senate nominee Ted Budd. Bo Hines, a 26-year-old endorsed by former President Trump won the Republican nomination. Democrat Wiley Nickel secured the nomination for his party with over 50% of the vote in the 13th district, which is situated outside of Raleigh. This race is slated to be one of the most highly contested Congressional races in the country. In North Carolina’s 4th district, state Senator Valerie Foushee defeated Nida Allam, who was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Foushee will face Courtney Gels in the heavily Democratic leaning district.

All eyes move to November’s general election, which are certain to be crucial in determining party control in Congress and the Senate.

Pennsylvania Midterm Results Update

On May 17, 2022, the Pennsylvania voters took their opinions to the polls for key primary races before the November election comes up. Democratic Senate nominee is current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman who beat out Congressman Conor Lamb. Congressman Conor Lamb was the leading candidate with scores of Democratic endorsements, including mayors of key cities, and had won Trump territory, but fell in the primaries to the unconventional politician Fetterman in every county. The Republican senate primary race is headed for a recount between the TV personality Mehmet Oz, who has Trump’s endorsement, and CEO Dave McCormick. Despite the recount, Oz has claimed himself the presumptive nominee. McCormick is also suing over “undated” ballots which could head to the Supreme Court and change the gap between the two candidates. The governor’s race on the Democratic side was an unopposed race for State Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro will face Doug Mastriano, the Republican primary winner who secured a last-minute endorsement from former President Trump and gained a large amount of support following his campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Mastriano took the majority of the state except the northeast region surrounding Scranton which went to Lou Barletta.

State Representative of Alleghany County Austin Davis won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor leading in all counties. Davis will face State Representative of Alleghany County Carrie Lewis DelRosso who came out ahead of the nine candidate Republican race. The redistricting of Pennsylvania has resulted in 17 seats of which 15 running are incumbents. The 12th House District will be Republican Michael Doyle against Democrat Summer Lee who prevailed in a large Democratic field hoping to take the retiring Rep. Mike Doyle’s seat. After Rep. Conor Lamb’s choice to run for Senate, both parties held contested primary elections where Democrat Chris Deluzio and Republican Jeremey Shaffer prevailed to race in November.

Ohio Midterm Results Update

Results in Ohio provide an interesting window into the minds of voters going into the midterm elections. The most marquee and profiled race was the Republican primary for U.S. Senate where former author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance was elected as the Republican nominee. Vance won a plurality of voters with strongholds in the rural and suburban parts of the state. Notably, he received the backing of former President Donald Trump and was supported by a large outside effort financed by Peter Thiel. Both Trump and the financial backing of Theil are factors to watch going forward in Republican primaries. Gov. Mike DeWine held off interparty challenges from his right flank.

The Democratic side saw wins for the establishment wing of the party as populist candidate Congressman Tim Ryan easily won the Democratic Senate primary. He won every county in Ohio and held off challenges from the more progressive wings. In the gubernatorial race, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley received from the nod from Ohio Democrats, dominating her opponent in every area of the state except the Cincinnati suburbs and the counties surrounding Toledo. Also of note was the win by Congresswoman Shontel Brown over former Bernie Sanders presidential campaign Chair Nina Turner. Establishment Democrats flooded the zone to support the sitting Congresswoman and ensure that Rep. Brown would have the resources to win.

The results point to a general election in Ohio that will be heavily contested and centered on populist rhetoric as well as the policies of the Trump and Biden Administrations.