Updates on the 2022 races and our endorsed candidates from Senior Fellow John Isaacs
November 10, 2022
We have winners: The pundits and pollsters were sure that the 2022 elections would produce substantial gains for conservatives and include a massive takeover of the House of Representatives and an even shot at taking the Senate as well.
Two days after polls closed, control of the Senate and, surprisingly, the House is still in doubt. The GOP Red Tide turned out to be a Red Trickle.
In fact, we may well not know who wins the Senate until a December 6 runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and former football star Herschel Walker. And, as of late November 9, there were 42 undecided House races.
All nine of the Senate races the Council endorsed in have been called, and six of our endorsed Senate candidates won their races:
- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
- Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
- Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
- John Fetterman (D-PA)
- Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
The Council endorsed 26 House candidates, and so far, 20 have been called or conceded. Of those 20, 18 of our candidates have won.
Not yet decided:
- Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK-AL)
- Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA-06)
- Christy Smith (D-CA-27)
- Jay Chen (D-CA-45)
- Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-47)
- Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA-49)
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who won the closest Senate race in the country in 2016 and whose race appeared to be closing in the last days, won by 10 points over a far-right conservative candidate. Late in the campaign, Democrats put additional money into Sen. Michael Bennet’s Colorado Senate race and Sen. Patty Murray’s Washington Senate race. They both won by 12-14 points.
The one Senate progressive pickup of a conservative’s seat, John Fetterman, overcame celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz despite the Democrat’s ongoing recovery from a stroke. Fetterman is the only Senate candidate of either party to flip a seat from the opposing party so far.
One of the big losers yesterday: former President Donald Trump. His endorsements were magic in GOP primaries, but much less so in the general election. Trump helped nominate weak candidates in a number of races.
One surprise winner in the election: President Joe Biden. He was considered dead weight for Democrats going into Election Day, but did not drag Democrats to total defeat. As former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats in 1994, Barack Obama lost 63 in 2010.” Biden’s final tally is not yet clear, but it is much fewer than his two predecessors.
With a more promising than expected Congress taking office in 2023 the Council will continue to work to reduce nuclear risks and champion diplomacy with a president who has a new lease on life. When Congress returns to session the week of November 14, passing the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Appropriations Act and all 12 appropriations bills are high on the agenda.
October 19, 2022
20 days til polls close: As is frequently the case, the 2022 elections are coming down to the wire. Early voting has begun in a number of states and the airwaves are flooded with the usual last-minute onslaught of political ads, many of which focus on the foibles and weakness of political opponents.
These past two weeks featured many candidate debates, but it is not clear whether the debates – beloved by the media for snippets — influence many voters.
What is the least likely election outcome is a blowout for either party in the Senate or the House. What is more likely is that there will be surprises for both parties.
The most astounding recent news is a Des Moines Register poll in Iowa by a highly respected firm that suggests long-time incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is in trouble. Grassley, an Iowa institution first elected in 1981, is seeking an eighth Senate term and is 89 years old. His Democratic opponent is retired Admiral Mike Franken in his second attempt to win a Senate seat. In his last election, Grassley won by 24 points. Grassley’s polling lead is three points, within the margin of error.
The other upset special is the Utah Senate race where ultra-conservative Mike Lee is being challenged by Evan McMullin. McMullin is running as an independent who, if elected, has pledged to refrain from joining either the Republican or Democratic caucus. While he still trails, he has amassed a coalition of moderate Republicans and independents, joined by Democrats who have not put forward their own candidate.
The tightest Senate races are still close, within the margin of error in most polling. Those close contests are in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Nevada, which include Council-endorsed candidates John Fetterman, Cheri Beasley, and Rep. Tim Ryan.
Most candidates filed their third quarter fundraising reports by October 15. Senator Raphael Warnock appears to be the fundraising champ, having raised an incredible $111 million for his reelection campaign. Warnock faces a tough challenge against beleaguered former football star Herschel Walker. However, an old saw is that money does not buy happiness and it also does not guarantee success in politics. In 2020, Democrat Jaime Harrison raised $132 million, topping South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham’s total, and Democrat Amy McGrath took in more than $96 million, outraising Sen. Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Both Graham and McConnell won handily.
The pundit predictions: Nate Silver’s 538 suggests that Democrats have a two in three chance of winning the Senate, though that could mean a continued 50-50 split. A New York Times/Siena College poll found recent modest gains for Republican House candidates compared to narrow Democratic advantage a few weeks ago. That same poll identified the economy and inflation as likely voters’ most important problems facing the country today. Republicans are hammering Democrats on the economy, inflation, crime and immigration, while Democrats highlight the strong jobs picture and the Supreme Court decision on women’s right to choose.
And if you are a betting person, you are better off putting your money on the ponies, not politics.
September 30, 2022
With five weeks to go … With control of the Senate in 2023 still very much in doubt, POLITICO has debatably boiled down the fight for control of the chamber to two races: Nevada and Georgia.
The Nevada contest is between incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Republicans’ likely strongest candidate, Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). This is a toss up race, with Laxalt having a slight lead in the latest polling. The current Real Clear Politics polling averages show Laxalt with a 1.7% advantage.
The Georgia Senate race pits incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) against former football star Herschel Walker (R). Walker is clearly a flawed candidate while Warnock may be the best funded Senate candidate in the country. However, polls show another toss up race, with some polls showing Warnock ahead and others Walker.
The POLITICO analysis is predicated on other races turning out as currently trending. This would mean Democratic candidates John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona, Sen. Patty Murray in Washington state and Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado maintain their modest leads.
It also assumes that Republican candidates hold onto seats currently held by Republicans, namely Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida.
Clearly, these assumptions ignore the real possibility that races will have different outcomes than expected by POLITICO. For example, if you like wild cards and adore betting on underdogs, Sen. Mike Lee (R) is being challenged by independent Evan McMullin in Utah in a close race. McMullin promises to join neither party caucus if elected, which could make for an interesting 50-49 balance in the Senate next year.
September 9, 2022
New Hampshire primary September 13: One of the last primaries in the nation will take place in a few days in New Hampshire. There will also be primaries that day in Delaware and Rhode Island, but neither state has races that bear on control of the U.S. Senate. Six years ago, Council-endorsed Senator Maggie Hassan won the closest Senate race in the country by a mere 1,017 votes. There is a crowded field of GOP contenders, but the front runners are retired Army General Don Bolduc and New Hampshire state senate president Chuck Morse. Bolduc is considered the weaker opponent for Sen. Hassan, but polls have consistently showed him with a double-digit polling primary lead. While former President Donald Trump has remained neutral to this point, popular Governor John Sununu endorsed Morse on September 8. Bolduc, who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2020, has strongly embraced the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen.”
September 9, 2022
Unexpected Senate race in Utah: Utah Senator Mike Lee, one of the more conservative GOP Senators, has transformed from an anti-Trumper to strong supporter. He is being challenged for reelection by independent Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and independent who ran for President in 2020, and a vehement critic of President Trump. In an unusual situation, the Utah Democratic Party declined to nominate any candidate, hoping a combination of anti-Trump Republicans, independents and Democrats could produce an upset. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has remained neutral in the contest – as has Council for a Livable World. An independent poll in July showed McMullin within five points of Lee; the McMullin campaign has just produced another poll giving the challenger a one-point lead (which Lee disputes). If an upset occurs, McMullin promises not to caucus with either party in the next Congress.
September 9, 2022
Chris Cillizza: Forecasters now predict Democrats have the edge in the fight for Senate control: Two prominent election forecasting models now give Democrats a 70% or better chance of retaining their Senate majority in November, a major shift that suggests the fight for control may no longer be the toss-up that it has long been considered.
The FiveThirtyEight election model finds that in 70 out of 100 election simulations, Democrats emerge from 2022 in the majority. The Economist’s model is even more optimistic for the party, finding that in 78 out of 100 simulations, Democrats retain their majority in November.
Both models take into account polling, demographic, fundraising and historical data to produce a prediction of what will happen in two months’ time. It’s worth noting that these forecasts are built on probable outcomes and their predictive power depends on how good the underlying data are.
Redistricting Fells Incumbent Mondaire Jones: Rep. Mondaire Jones is a 35-year-old Congressman representing New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. In 2020, he won a hard-fought, eight-person primary with 42% of the vote, before going on to win the general election 59-35%, with the Council’s support. He made history as the nation’s first openly gay, Black member of Congress. Jones was moving toward an easy reelection when the state supreme court mandated new district lines. After the new lines were announced, Jones faced a contest against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D). To avoid that clash, he ran instead in a newly reconfigured open 10th District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
In the end, there were 13 candidates for this open seat in a race that originally included a former New York City Mayor and a long-retired House Member. On August 23, former federal prosecutor Dan Goldman triumphed in this crowded field of Democrats. Goldman was counsel to House Democrats during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump. He is also an heir to the Levi Strauss & Co. fortune and poured $4 million from his own personal wealth into the race and received a cash infusion from family and company associates and the New York Times endorsement. Council for a Livable World earnestly hopes there will be a political future for Rep. Jones.
August 17, 2022
He’s back: John Fetterman returns to campaign trail: On August 12, Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman attended a 1,300-person campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. He returned from a three-month hiatus caused by a stroke, telling a large crowd that he is “grateful” to be alive. “Three months ago, three months ago, I might not have made it,” Fetterman said. He credited his wife Gisele for recognizing the signs of a health problem in mid-May and pushing him to go to the hospital. Fetterman has not lost any ground to his GOP opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who in Fetterman’s absence has run a scatter-shot and disorganized campaign. Polls show Fetterman with a sizable 11-17 point lead. Fetterman remains in fine online form: he mocked his Senate opponent after an Oz tweet on “crudities” went viral with several mistakes.
August 10, 2022
Close call for Omar: The Minnesota primary for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) was unexpectedly close. She defeated former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels by only two percentage points, 50-48%. The Minnesota Star-Tribune attributed the narrow margin to her support for last year’s failed Minneapolis ballot question to replace the city’s police department with a new public safety agency after George Floyd’s death, and her unsuccessful effort to oust the Minneapolis mayor. Her opponent was a 73-year-old Jamaican immigrant who has organized for more than two decades against gun violence. Omar will be the overwhelming favorite in the fall election.
August 9, 2022
Landslide for Rep. Peter Welch: Vermont solidified its reputation as a Democratic stronghold by giving Rep. Peter Welch an overwhelming 87% of the Democratic primary vote for Vermont Senator to replace Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), who is retiring. Welch can coast into the Senate seat in November; he will only be the second Democratic Senator from the state that has moved far from its Republican roots. There were 99,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary compared to 28,000 in the GOP race.
August 8, 2022
More good news on prospects for Democrats retaining control of Senate: As previously reported, Decision Desk HQ 2022 Senate election model predicted that Democrats have a 59.6% chance of controlling the Senate. Their mean seat projection is 50 (R) and 50 (D). Nate Silver’s 538 now says that the Senate is a tossup, with Democrats having 53 chances out of 100 for retaining control while Republicans have 47 chances. They have been joined by two more favorable analyses. Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik declared control of the Senate is now a toss-up, with a favorable political environment helping the GOP but balanced by their very untested candidates. In addition, the National Journal’s Hotline reported that “The Senate map has emerged as a bright spot for Democrats” even while President Biden’s approval ratings are still in the dumps. It helps, Hotline reports, that the top six most competitive Senate races this year are being held in state that Biden carried in 2020.
August 6, 2022
Sen. Patty Murray looks strong after primary victory: Republicans have been looking to the Washington State Senate race as a long-shot opportunity to pick off a Democrat, Council-endorsed Sen. Patty Murray. First-time candidate Tiffany Smiley (R) has raised a large campaign war chest. She has also built a reputation as a veterans’ advocate whose husband became the first blind active-duty Army officer after her work to convince the Army to restore him after he was injured in Iraq. Murray has been taking the threat seriously, and launched more than $1 million in negative TV ads against Smiley before the primary. But with votes still being counted after the 100% mail-in ballots (it can take weeks), Murray finished the jungle primary – where candidates of all parties compete against each other – with a very strong 52% of the vote against 17 opponents compared to only 34% for Smiley. While the margin will certainly tighten in November, Murray’s strong showing is a harbinger of a new term in the Senate.
August 3, 2022
Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) loses Democratic primary: An intra-party primary as a result of redistricting is almost always difficult and awkward. That was the case in the August 2 confrontation in Michigan between Council-endorsed Rep. Andy Levin and Rep. Haley Stevens, two colleagues who were forced by redistricting to run against each other. It was a contentious battle, with Stevens aided by new district lines that gave her more of her former district and by a $4.2 million advertising binge from the rightwing American Israel Public Affairs Committee in favor of Stevens. The district also is partial to women candidates. Stevens won 60-40%. The loss ended a 43-year stretch of Michigan’s Levin family serving in Congress, dating to his late Uncle Carl Levin’s time in the U.S. Senate starting in 1979, through Andy Levin succeeding his father, Rep. Sander Levin, in 2015. The seat is safely Democratic, and Rep. Stevens will return to Congress next year. Levin quickly held a post-election press conference and graciously endorsed his rival. He will be heard from again.
July 29, 2022
Then there was one: Candidates drop in Wisconsin Senate race: Democrats have long had their eye on the Wisconsin Senate race where conspiracy theorist Sen. Ron Johnson (R) has been considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for election. While Johnson has had an unfettered path to renomination, Democrats faced an August 9 multicandidate primary with four serious candidates. But on July 25, Tom Nelson, the Outagamie County executive, dropped out of the race and endorsed the frontrunner, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. That announcement was followed up on July 27 when multimillionaire Alex Lasry, who had already sunk $12 million into his own campaign, also quit the race and likewise backed the frontrunner. Two days later, state treasurer Sarah Godlewski withdrew; Mandela Barnes will be the Democratic nominee and he can begin the general election campaign immediately.
July 28, 2022
Good news on prospects for Democrats retaining control of Senate: While chances for Republicans to take over the House are still high, Decision Desk HQ 2022 Senate election model predicts that Democrats now have a 59.6% chance of controlling the Senate. Their mean seat projection is 50 (R) and 50 (D). And they are not alone in the changed forecast. Nate Silver’s 538 now says that the Senate is a tossup, with Democrats having 53 chances out of 100 for retaining control while Republicans have 47 chances. Thus, despite President Biden’s unpopularity and concerns over inflation, gas prices and Covid, the politics of 2022 are shifting again.
July 28, 2022
Tim Ryan’s Ohio Senate campaign pulls into tie with JD Vance: Rep. Tim Ryan’s campaign for an open Senate seat in Ohio has always been seen as a stretch in right-leaning Ohio. But recent polling plus new campaign fundraising figures suggest that Ryan has turned the contest against Trump favorite J.D. Vance into a tossup. Polls differ about who is ahead but agree it is a close race. Ryan is running in the model of Sen. Sherrod Brown, the populist progressive who has appealed to blue collar workers and won three statewide elections in Ohio since 2006. Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe recently praised Ryan’s “brilliant campaign.” Vance, on the other hand, finished the last fundraising quarter $250,000 in debt. Republicans are criticizing Vance’s lackluster campaign; a longtime Youngstown radio host declared, “I think he’s running the worst campaign that you could possibly run.” Nate Silver’s political website has officially pronounced the race a tossup.
July 18, 2022
Senator Hassan’s lucky break: Axios has run an article entitled “Maggie Hassan’s lucky break.” After winning in 2016 by a mere 1,017 votes, Hassan (D-NH) was initially seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election this year. The first break came when New Hampshire’s popular current Gov. Chris Sununu announced in November that he would not enter the race. Since then, her major advantage: a very late New Hampshire September 13 primary with no clear GOP frontrunner. In the meantime, the incumbent has been running fundraising circles over the Republican candidates. The political handicappers rate the race lean Democratic.
July 15, 2022
Ohio GOP Senate candidate JD Vance goes begging for money: J.D. Vance is working to raise money, but primarily to pay back the $700,000 he loaned the campaign. Vance had the backing of former President Donald Trump and $10 million from venture capitalist Peter Theil to win the GOP primary, but has raised little money since. According to his latest Federal Election Commission report, Vance has $628,000 cash-on-hand combined with $883,000 in debt. In the meantime, Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan’s copious fundraising has run circles around Vance, and polls show a close race. Vance, after characterizing former President Trump as an “idiot” and a “noxious” person during his first run, later called him the best president of his lifetime.
July 14, 2022
Rep. Bill Foster takes the lead on important national security issues: Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11) is the only PhD physicist in Congress. He has frequently engaged in oversight of nuclear policy issues, where his physicist background gives him a unique perspective to evaluate technical aspects of non-proliferation, arms control, and verification issues. When the House of Representatives took up the annual National Defense Authorization Act in mid-July, he successfully offered an amendment to reverse the prohibition on funding the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. He also co-sponsored a successful amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) to authorize funding of research into low enriched uranium to fuel U.S. nuclear submarines, which reduces the risk of nuclear proliferation.
July 10, 2022
Fetterman trolls Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania: While Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) is still recovering from his health scare, he is having fun trolling his GOP opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, on the airwaves and in the skies. Fetterman went up with an ad trashing Oz for his non-existent ties to Pennsylvania (he has lived in New Jersey for more than three decades) and flew a banner over New Jersey shores reading “HEY DR. OZ, WELCOME HOME TO NJ! ❤️ JOHN.” Who says politics can’t be fun.
July 6, 2022
Control of Senate a toss-up; GOP chances undermined by flaky candidates: Political pundits are now saying control of the Senate is a toss-up. A recent New York Times piece suggested “a brighter picture is coming together for Democrats on the Senate side.” The Times quoted a Republican strategist criticizing GOP nominees for Senate as an “island of misfit toys,” candidates Democrats will attempt to portray as out of the mainstream on policy, personally compromised and too cozy with Donald Trump. The articles cites Blake Masters (R-AZ), who in past writings has criticized the entry of the United States into the 1st & 2nd World Wars; Herschel Walker (R-GA), who has inveighed railed against absentee fathers while claiming to have one child when three others have been discovered; Dr. Mehmet Oz (R-PA), who lived in New Jersey before announcing his Senate run, recently misspelled the name of his new hometown on an official document and has been slow out of the gate after his narrow primary win; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who, it was recently revealed, tried to hand-deliver a fraudulent list of electors to former Vice President Mike Pence, on January 6. Nate Silver’s 538 recently released is Senate forecast, calling the Senate a toss-up.
July 5, 2022
New Hampshire Senate race and abortion politics: The recent Supreme Court decision overturning the Roe v. Wade that had legalized abortions has, in many of the 2022 elections races, provided an opportunity for Democrats to go on the offensive on the issue. In late June, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) became the first Senate candidate in a battleground state directly addressing the overturning of Roe. She had begun running a direct–to–camera ad in which she stated, “This decision catapults us backwards, and there are politicians like Mitch McConnell who’ve made it clear that their objective is to ban abortion nationwide. We will not be intimidated. I will fight and never back down.” All five of the GOP candidates endorsed the recent decision. Polls show Hassan with a modest lead over her opponents; the New Hampshire primary is one of the latest in the country, September 13.
June 29, 2022
Colorado Senate election becomes more challenging for Sen. Bennet: While Colorado is a Democratic-trending state and President Biden easily carried the state, the 2022 Senate contest has become more difficult for incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) as he will face a more moderate Republican in November. In the June 28 GOP primary, businessman Joe O’Dea beat state Rep. Ron Hanks, an ardent advocate of Donald Trump’s stolen 2020 election charge, 55.5-45.5%. A Democratic-linked outside group spent almost $4 million on ads that proclaimed Hanks’ right-wing credentials and attacked O’Dea. This media campaign attempted to duplicate Sen. Claire McCaskill’s gambit in 2012 that helped make Rep. Todd Akin (R) the GOP nominee, where he self-destructed. Bennet won his last election in 2016 50-44% and a recent poll showed him ahead of O’Dea 49-36%, but national Democrats are not taking this race for granted this year.
June 29, 2022
Results of Illinois internecine progressive primary: Redistricting has led to multiple incumbent- vs.-incumbent primaries in a number of states, including Illinois. Two progressives, two-term Rep. Sean Casten and freshman Rep. Marie Newman, were forced into a face-off in an Illinois primary. Casten prevailed by a substantial 68-29% margin in Chicago’s inner western suburbs. Newman was hurt by an ethics investigation into charges she sought to keep a potential primary opponent out of the race when she ran in 2020 by offering him a job as a top aide if she won.
June 28, 2022
AIPAC intervenes against Rep. Andy Levin: Speaking of incumbent-vs.-incumbent races forced by redistricting, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Super PAC has purchased roughly $820,000 in the Detroit media market for one week of TV ads supporting Rep. Haley Stevens (D) in Michigan’s newly-drawn 11th District against Council-endorsed Rep. Andy Levin (D). AIPAC has endorsed more than 100 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. AIPAC also bundled $280,000 in individual contributions for Stevens’ campaign, making her a top Democratic recipient of their money. Levin, besides his Council endorsement, is being backed by many progressive organizations, national unions, environmental groups, Planned Parenthood, J Street, and teacher groups. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is featured in a Levin ad saying, “He’s the true progressive in this race.”
June 28, 2022
PA Senate candidate John Fetterman’s unusual campaign: Since John Fetterman, the Council-endorsed Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, suffered a stroke in mid-May he has, at the behest of doctors and his wife, stayed off the campaign trail. However, the New York Times reports: “More than a month into his recovery, Fetterman is trying something utterly novel in American politics: a towel-snapping virtual campaign of sassy online memes, withering mockery of his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and fourth-wall-bending television ads and online videos that explode many of the usual tropes of political campaigns.” The Times also relates that Fetterman “is still very much his old self — gruff and iconoclastic, flaunting his stinging sense of humor, razor-sharp memory and an encyclopedic knowledge of political and cultural arcana.” Polls indicated that Fetterman has a six-to-nine point lead over his GOP opponent, who came out of a close Republican primary bruised by his New Jersey roots and uncertain science on his television shows.
June 15, 2022
Mondaire Jones introduces himself “differently” to new district: Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) has launched his first ad, called “Different,” in his new district: “Do I stand out in Washington? Yes. Let’s see: I’m a New Yorker. I grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps, raised by a single mom. I’m Black, I’m gay, and damn proud to be different.”
June 14, 2022
Murray runs negative ad, signaling concerns: Sen. Patty Murray is running a negative ad against her Republican opponent, motivational speaker Tiffany Smiley. The ad plays an audio of Smiley saying “I met with President Trump, and I was so impressed.” The ad says that Smiley “still has serious questions about the 2020 elections.” This move is evidence that Murray has a real race on her hands.
June 13, 2022
Democrats run ad in Colorado Senate contest to boost extreme candidate: In 2012, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) ran ads praising one of her opponents to encourage Republicans to nominate a more extreme candidate. It worked: the Missouri GOP nominated Todd Akin, who self-destructed in the general election. This year, Democrats are trying to repeat this strategy in several states, including in Colorado where Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is running for re-election. An independent group called Democratic Colorado is spending up to $2 million running an ad that praises GOP candidate Ron Hanks, who proudly participated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. The ad states that Hanks is too conservative for the state, highlighting his record on border security, gun rights and opposing abortion. A Washington Post article on this campaign and two others suggests that this strategy as risking electing to office more extreme candidates.
June 8, 2022
Primary results some key primaries
California 27th district: State Assembly Representative Christy Smith (D) easily topped John “Quaye” Quartey (D) with 37% of the vote compared to 6%, setting up a third toss up contest in November between Rep. Mike Garcia (R) and Smith. In 2020, Smith lost by only 333 votes.
California 47th district: Rep. Katie Porter (D) finished the primary in the newly formed 47th district with a very strong 51% of the vote, setting up a contest with Scott Baugh (R), the former leader of the California State Assembly, in November. This is a “Lean Democratic” district according to the Cook Political Report.
California 49th district: Rep. Mike Levin (D) advanced to the November ballot with 50% of the vote. He faces a rematch with his 2020 opponent Brian Maryott (R), who received 19% of the vote.
New Jersey 3rd district: Rep. Andy Kim (D) easily won his primary, and now faces yacht business owner Bob Healey (R). Kim is one of the few Democrats representing a district also carried by President Donald Trump in 2020.
New Jersey 7th district: Back for a rematch is 2020 nominee and former state Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R) against Council endorsee Rep. Tom Malinowski (D). The Malinowski staved off Kean in 2020 by only 1.2 percentage points, and redistricting has moved the district several points toward GOP favorability.
June 3, 2022
Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary ends: Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate David McCormick conceded the close primary contest to Dr. Mehmet Oz even though the state recount was still underway and there has been no official race call. Dr. Oz had a lead of fewer than 1,000 votes, or .07 percent, before the county-by-county recount began last week. This decision sets up one of the major Senate races in the country against Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is still recovering from a heart condition.
May 31, 2022
Encouraging poll in Ohio Senate race: A Columbus Dispatch/Suffolk poll shows a close race emerging in Ohio since J.D. Vance became the GOP nominee against Rep. Tim Ryan. The poll showed Vance only ahead by 42-39%. A separate Innovation Ohio poll put Ryan in the lead by two points. Vance won the Republican primary, but did so after converting from an anti-Trumper to a Trump disciple. Vance also tweeted, “I gotta be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine,” and praised Hungary’s authoritarian and anti-migrant leader Viktor Orban. Rep. Ryan emerged from the primary with favorability of 17 points while Vance has a net unfavorability of 4 points.
May 27, 2022
New Hampshire redistricting finally concluded: New Hampshire was the last state to finish its decennial congressional redistricting — aside from pending legal challenges in Florida and elsewhere — despite having only two districts. The state’s court-appointed special master has proposed lines that make minimal changes and make seats held by Rep. Annie Kuster (D) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D) competitive. The Republican-controlled state legislature had proposed lines that would have helped Kuster by adding blue portions of the state while undercutting Pappas in the hope of electing a Republican to replace Pappas. However, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed the legislative plan, leading to a result where just five towns changed districts.
May 26, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate race on hold: The critically important Pennsylvania Senate race is in limbo a week after the primary. Council-endorsed John Fetterman is out of the hospital after suffering a stroke, but the timing of his return to the campaign trail is unclear. Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, has said that her husband has no set timeline.
At the same time, Fetterman’s Republican opponent is also not yet clear. Pennsylvania’s acting secretary announced that a recount of the primary votes will be launched. Each of the state’s 67 counties can start their recounts as of May 26 and must finish by June 7. There are also uncounted mail-in ballots. According to the official count to this point, Dr. Mehmet Oz leads Dave McCormick by 902 votes out of 1.3 million votes counted. The two candidates are also fighting in the courts over which mail-in ballots can be tabulated.
May 25, 2022
Another close contest for Jessica Cisneros in Texas: The outcome of Council-endorsed Jessica Cisneros’ run-off primary election challenging Rep. Henry Cueller in Texas’ 28th district is still up in the air. Following the initial tally, Cisneros trails Cuellar by 177 votes out of more than 45,000 votes cast. Cuellar won 50.2% compared to Cisneros’ 49.8% of the vote, and the race has not yet been officially called. The House Democratic leadership endorsed the incumbent, who has declared victory even though a recount is likely.
May 25, 2022
Trump’s mixed 2022 election endorsement record in competitive races: One of the major questions about the 2022 elections is former President Donald Trump’s continued sway over the Republican Party. As the accounting below indicates after Trump-supported candidates in Georgia failed dramatically, his record is mixed:
July 27, 2021
Trump Loss: Texas special House election: Susan Wright
November 21, 2021
Trump Loss: Pennsylvania Senate: Sean Parnell (dropped out)
May 3, 2022
Trump Win: Ohio Senate: JD Vance
Trump Loss: Ohio Gov. DeWine wins renomination
Trump Win: Ohio Secretary of State: Frank LaRose
Trump Win: OH-13: Madison Gilbert
Trump Win: OH-7: Max Miller
May 10, 2022
Trump Loss: Nebraska Governor: Charles Herbster
Trump Win: WV-02: Rep. Alex Mooney over Rep. David McKinley
Trump Loss: NB-02: Rep. Don Bacon, who won
May 17, 2022
Trump Win: North Carolina Senate: Rep. Ted Budd
Trump Win: Pennsylvania Governor: Doug Mastriano
Trump Loss: NC-11: Madison Cawthorn
Trump Win: NC-13: Rep. Bo Hines
Trump Loss: Idaho Governor: Janice McGeachin
May 24, 2022
Trump Win: Georgia Senator: Herschel Walker
Trump Loss: Georgia Governor: David Perdue
Trump Loss: Georgia Attorney General: Chris Carr, who won
Trump Loss: Georgia Secretary of State: Brad Raffensberger, who won
Trump Win: Arkansas Governor: Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Trump Win: Texas Attorney General: Ken Paxton
Trump Loss: Alabama Senate: endorsed, later withdrew endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks, who moves onto a run-off
Unknown: Pennsylvania Senate: Dr. Mehmet Oz – too close to call; recount expected
Unknown: GA-06 – Jake Evans; runoff June 21
Unknown: GA-10 – Vernon Jones/ runoff June 21
May 21, 2022
New York State redistricting finalized : The New York State Supreme Court approved a new congressional redistricting plan that drastically modified a plan previously drawn by the Democratic legislature. Some highlights:
►The previous Democratic gerrymander would have favored Democrats to win 22 out of 26 seats; the new plan has 15 safe Democratic seats, three safe Republican seats and eight swing seats.
►Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D) and Jerrold Nadler (D), who have served alongside each other for 30 years, are forced to run against each other in a new 12 th district.
►Rep. Mondaire Jones (D), who appeared to face a contest against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), will run instead in a newly reconfigured 10th District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, a race that will also include former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other candidates
►A district that had been reconfigured that would have helped former Rep. Max Rose’s (D) comeback has been returned to its mostly former GOP-leaning form.
►Two upstate Republicans, Reps. Claudia Tenney and Chris Jacobs, no longer must run against each other.
May 16, 2022
North Carolina Senate primary results : Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley easily won her primary in the Tar Heel state, and faces Rep. Ted Budd (R), who swamped former Gov. Pat McCrory (R).
May 16, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate primary results : Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) easily beat Rep. Conor Lamb (D) in the Democratic primary, 59-26%. Lamb immediately endorsed the winner. The Republican primary is still too close to call, and with absentee ballots still to be counted and a recount very possible, the winner may not be determined for weeks. Dr. Mehmet Oz barely leads Dave McCormack 21.2-31.1%, a margin of about 1,000 votes. From Politico : “Pennsylvania Republicans are predicting trench warfare that could drag out for weeks — and be fought in the media, as well as potentially in the courts.”
May 15, 2022
PA Senate candidate suffers stroke : Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading Democratic candidate vying for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, says he suffered a stroke on Friday but is on his way to a full recovery.
May 14, 2022
Cuellar ducks and dodges in TX-28 : If you need evidence of the challenges resulting from Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, look no further than Rep. Henry Cuellar’s attempt to pretend to be what he is not. A super PAC called Mainstream Democrats supporting Cuellar is running an ad before the May 24 primary runoff claiming he opposes a ban on abortion. In fact, Cuellar supports the Supreme Court opinion and has voted for abortion bans in the past.
May 11, 2022
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act: Council-endorsed Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM-03 ) played a key role in the successful passage of a two-year extension to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to cover people exposed to harmful radiation from U.S. nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining. As their joint statement indicates, t hey continue to fight to expand and strengthen the measure. Leger Fernandez is a CLW endorsee who serves New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, which she first won in 2020 with 59% of the vote. Redistricting has led her seat to geographically grow and become more competitive this cycle.
May 7, 2022
Donald Trump Continues Senate Campaigning: Fresh off his claimed victory for J.D. Vance in Ohio, the former president rallied in Pennsylvania with his preferred candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is engaged in a hot GOP primary that will take place May 17. The winner will almost surely face Council-endorsed candidate John Fetterman. Rolling Stone reported, “Trump attempted to sell his supporters on Oz in a variety of ways, ranging from the banal to the bizarre — even going so far as to remind the audience that Oz was ‘in the bedrooms’ of women across America, as if that was a good, totally un-creepy asset for a would-be politician.”
May 6, 2022
Ohio Senate Primary : In almost final results, Rep. Tim Ryan received 70% of the Democratic primary with 355,764 votes. He received more votes than author J.D. Vance, who was given a tremendous boost by former President Donald Trump, and won the Republican nomination with 32% of the vote and 340,991 votes. However, twice as many people voted in the Republican primary compared to Democrats. As the New York Times reported, “[The suburbs] is where Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat hoping to appeal to establishment Republicans and working-class voters, will have to drive up the vote to overcome conservative shifts in more rural parts of the state.”
May 6, 2022
Minnesota Toss-up : The political prognosticators agree: Minnesota’s Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) is in for a tight race. Craig, who first won this seat in 2018, won a narrow victory in 2020, 48-46%. The estimates of the race in 2022:
Cook Political Report: Toss up
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Toss up
Inside Elections: Tilt Democratic
May 5, 2022
Pennsylvania Senate : John Fetterman has widened his Democratic primary lead over his main opponent. He now leads Rep. Conor Lamb by 53-14% in a new Franklin & Marshall Poll . The primary is May 17. In the meantime, Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidates are engaged in a donnybrook, with three candidates are within a few points of each other. Donald Trump has given his still-powerful endorsement to celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, who hailed from New Jersey until recently.
May 3, 2022
Texas Progressive Primary : One House race where the Council has endorsed may see an early test over the enormous national controversy over the Politico leak of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is the Jessica Cisneros primary challenge to Rep. Henry Cuellar. The runoff primary is May 24. Cuellar is the only House Democrat to vote against legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. An article in the Texas Tribune pointed out that, “The tight race between Cuellar, a moderate Democrat who famously opposes abortion, and Cisneros, a young progressive, represents the most vivid illustration of how the leaked opinion could reshape a number of the fast-approaching runoffs.”