2022: The midterms of a lifetime
October 25, 2022
Ohio Senate Race-
As a future Ohionian, I am particularly interested in the Ohio senate race. I will be attending Kenyon for college which is located in Gambier, Ohio. This race could decide which political party wins the Senate. Ohio has always been known as a swing state meaning that it will go red in some elections and blue in others. However, in the past few election cycles, Ohio has gone red. Trump won Ohio in both 2016 and 2020. Also, out of Ohio’s 16 congressional seats, only 4 are held bySdemocrats. Some could argue that the state is now leaning right.
Tim Ryan will have something to say about that. Ryan is a current Democratic congressman for Ohio and he is running for senate. He ran for President in 2020 so he has some national connections. He prides himself as a true Ohionian and is a huge Buckeye fan. He hopes to end Ohio’s recent trend of voting republican. His opponent, J.D. Vance is venture capitalist, lawyer, and author. He is running as a disciple of Donald Trump and will never speak negatively about the former president. This is an extremely complicated race. For the Republicans, it is a must-win seat. The party has to dominate the midwest for any chance of winning back the Senate and the White House in 2024. Because of this, Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConell’s pack has poured 10s of millions into this race. On the other hand, winning this seat would be a surprising plus for the Democrats. Chuck Schumer, who is the Senate majority leader, has put little money into this race and Ryan has depended on individual donors for his success. It is clear that this race is not a priority for the Democrats but Ryan’s chances of winning have been steadily increasing. Initially, it was looking like a red wave all over the country but with the recent supreme court ruling on Roe v Wade, Democrats all across the country have been gaining momentum. Recent polls have shown that this Ohio senate race is neck and neck. According to FiveThirtyEight, Ryan currently leads Vance 45% to 44.8%. The race could not be closer.
Now my prediction: Tim Ryan is going to pull off the upset. He recently crushed Vance in the most recent Ohio senate debate. If Democratic leaders start to make this race a priority, more and more money will enter the state which will increase Ryan’s chances. I believe that Ryan will be a political force over the next decade.
Pennsylvania Senate Race:
Pennsylvania, known as the biggest swing state in the country, is an extremely important state in the 2022 midterms. In the last few general elections, whichever candidate won Pennsylvania, won the election. Obama won Pennsylvania in both 2008 and 2012. Trump won it in 2016 and Biden in 2020. In the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race, Democrat John Fetterman, will take on Republican Dr. Oz. Fetterman, the former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, was born in Pennsylvania and promotes his background. He claims that he “isn’t like other Democrats” and that he doesn’t look like one either. On the other hand, Dr. Oz is well known for his reality television show. Unknown to most, he is a practicing secular Muslim and would make history if elected to the Senate.
Throughout the race, Fetterman has retained a sizable lead over Oz. In July, Fetterman was up by 5% and now he is up by 6%. Fetterman has been able to make Oz out to be an outsider who only came to Pennsylvania for a Senate race. He says that Oz lives in New Jersey and isn’t a true Pennslyvanian. However, Fetterman’s recent health problems have come to light. Fetterman has experienced strokes throughout his adult life and has clear heart problems. He claims that his height of 6’’8’ increases his chance of having heart problems. It is unknown if these medical problems will hurt Fetterman’s election bid as he still maintains that he is able to run a Senate campaign successfully. This question will be answered on election day.
Prediction: Fetterman will win this election and will help lead the Democratic party of tomorrow.
Wisconsin Senate Race –
In a similar fashion to the Texas Governor’s race, Mandela Barnes, the first African-American Lieutenant General in Wisconsin history, is running against long-time incumbent Ron Johnson. Barnes has humble origins as the son of a third-shift union worker and a teacher. His hope is that his origin story provides some sympathy to lower class workers/voters. Barnes has the charm that sways a lot of younger progressive voters, but Wisconsin is historically a swing-state with deep red ties. Once a guaranteed blue state, voting in favor of the Democratic nominee for President in 7 straight elections, Republicans have made tremendous strides in the state. The 2020 district map is almost all red with pockets of blue in more populated areas (because as we should all know, land can’t vote.) Ron Johnson, the incumbent Senator, has held his position since 2010. Johnson is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, so much so he denied election results saying Joe Biden won the presidency. Johnson also questioned the idea of the January 6th riot being as bad as reported. He stated that it didn’t look like “what an armed insurrection would look like.” Even with this baggage, Johnson is still leading in the polls. However Mandela Barnes still has a couple tricks up his sleeve: the debate results and the President’s seal of approval. In the final Wisconsin debate, Barnes and Johnson were asked to say something nice to each other. Barnes gave a relatively barebones but genuine answer about Johnson being a family man. Johnson did not. Johnson said “I appreciate the fact that Lieutenant Governor Barnes has loving parents. What puzzles me is why has he turned on America?” This response prompted a cascade of boos from the wound-up crowd. Another method Barnes is using is getting the endorsement of former President Barack Obama. Mandela Barnes has announced that Obama will speak at a rally soon. This is huge for Barnes, as Obama won Wisconsin in his two election wins.
Prediction: Ron Johnson
– Eli Kernaghan
Georgia Senate Race –
The 2022 Georgia Senate Race is one of the most pivotal elections in a long time for Georgia voters. Raphael Warnock, who won Kelly Loeffler’s seat in the 2020 run-off election, is the Democratic nominee. Warnock was a historical candidate for many reasons. Warnock was the first African American to represent Georgia in the senate and the first black Democrat senator since the days of Reconstruction. In 2020, Warnock and Jon Ossoff won both senate elections in Georgia, flipping the senate in hopes of liberal policies like the codification of Roe V. Wade seeing the light of day. Warnocks opponent is a case study. Hershel Walker is a legend in Georgia, just not a political one. Walker is one of the most accomplished athletes ever at the University of Georgia, and when he set his sights on the Georgia senate, Republicans were quick to nominate him. Walker however has been mired in controversy since he began his candidacy. He is a climate-change denialist, has violent urges due to multiple personality disorder, and of course, his recent scandal of abandoning two children and attempting to pay for an abortion while running a pro-life campaign. The Georgia Senate race is less of a race for Warnack to win but a race for Walker to lose. All Warnock has to do is not mess up his wide margin in the polls and keep the Democrats majority in the Senate.
Prediction: Raphael Warnock
– Eli Kernaghan
Texas Governor’s Race –
In a state that has been trending blue, Beto O’Rourke looks to shock incumbent Greg Abbott and provide a huge win for Democrats. Beto is a strong candidate to contend with Abbott. Greg Abbott has been struggling in the past year or so. His handling of the Uvalde school shooting has been mired in controversy. Abbott was quoted as saying “it could have been worse” when defending Uvalde law enforcement who had failed to apprehended the shooter thoroughly. He also encouraged the NRA to continue with their convention in Houston only days after the shooting. Also, Abbott was involved in sending migrants to New York, a move that has been criticized as unethical. On the other hand, Beto is a darling amongst younger, more progressive voters in Texas, specifically in areas like Houston and Austin. Beto also hopes to fight back against the trigger laws going into effect only days after the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Even in one of the most sure-fire red states, recent poll data puts Beto O’Rourke only 5 points behind Abbott, and very much still in the race. However a big knock on O’Rourke’s campaign is that he didn’t really gain ground on Abbott in the polls after the debate between the two. Many outsiders were calling Beto’s showing at the debate a win, however polls showed him down eight points. Of course, it has slimmed to five, and with early voting done in Texas, we just have to wait and see what happens on election night.
Prediction: Greg Abbott
– Eli Kernaghan
South Carolina Governor’s Race –
Now for some local news. Joe Cunningham is kind of like South Carolina’s version of Beto O’Rourke. His positions are very progressive – he is pro-choice, pro-gun control, and pro-majuana legalizating – and he is running against a guy who in Cunnighams words “has been in politics as long as I’ve been alive”. Henry McMaster has had a stranglehold on the governor’s spot for a while, however it is not without controversy. His Covid-19 response was scrutinized as South Carolina’s positive test rates were up there with places like Florida and South Dakota. His education reforms have also been criticized as propping up the select private school students (such as us) above the regular students in public school. His school reform has also left teachers in the dark. McMaster has also overseen South Carolina’s crumbling infrastructure, and as any good South Carolinian will note, the roads are terrible in this state. It’s unlikely Cunningham will win, but as we have seen with Jaime Harrison, who lost to Lindsey Graham in 2020 but was given the DNC chairman position, the Democrats are willing to offer positions of power to southern Democrats to appeal to more voters.
Prediction: Henry McMaster
– Eli Kernaghan
South Carolina Superintendent of Education –
This race is chaotic to say the least. In June, Ellen Weaver won the Republican nomination for South Carolina superintendent. However, a South Carolina law stipulates that in order to run for the position she is running for, you must have a masters degree. Weaver does not. So who is this lady? A graduate of Bob Jones University, Weaver was the leader of conservative think tank Palmetto Promise. In 2019, she was appointed to the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee and held the position for 2 years. When she declared her candidacy for the superintendent spot, donations flooded in. Unlike her opponent Lisa Ellis, Weaver has over 250,000 dollars invested in her campaign, and those numbers are just from June. So what makes her so controversial? Well beside her lack of masters degree and her taking a six month course – which many have questioned the legitimacy of – Weaver is popular for her anti-critical race theory rhetoric. and like many Republicans, has weaponized the fear of it for their advantage. Weaver stated publicly that CRT is being taught in South Carolina schools, the Greenville News talked to many school officials who said that CRT is not being taught in SC schools, and to suggest such is baseless and unfounded. Now let’s talk about Lisa Ellis, the Democratic nominee. Ellis is a former teacher at many different Richmond county schools and has started a non-profit organization called SC For ED. SC For ED had gained some notoriety after organizing a teacher walkout in 2019 for a variety of issues (better pay, resources, and benefits). The walkout attracted over 10,000 SC teachers to the state house, and Ellis is well regarded amongst her fellow teachers. SC For ED, and more specifically Ellis, have sided with the NAACP and ACLU against the banning of critical race theory (or elements of it) in schools. While it’s only for the Superintendent spot, not a governor, senator, or representative seat, this election could dramatically change how students are taught in SC schools. Will the fear of CRT win out? How will teachers be affected? How do South Carolina voters view this race? It all remains to be seen.
Prediction: Lisa Ellis
– Eli Kernaghan
In the 2022 midterm election, the control of the house and senate is up for grabs. The historical trend of midterm elections is that the president’s party performs poorly. In 2010, the Republican Tea Party movement won both the house and senate from Obama. In 2018, the Democrats dominated the house of representatives election and picked up a net total of 41 seats. In my opinion, this 2022 midterm election won’t be much different. I predict that the Republicans will win the house and Kevin McCarthy will be the next speaker of the house. However, my beliefs on the Senate are different. If someone asked me in July about the senate election, I would have said that the Republicans will easily win. Nevertheless, with the recent supreme court decision on Roe v Wade, the Democrats have a fighting chance to retain the senate. The issue of abortion is on the ballot this midterm and it benefits the Democrats because it will increase voter turnout (Democrats usually benefit from higher voter turnout). Therefore, I believe that the Democrats will retain their majority in the Senate but they won’t gain any seats.
Prediction: Republicans will win the house; Democrats will win the Senate