After the two special elections in Georgia last fall, Democrats gained control of the United States Senate. As President Joe Biden pushes through his agenda with full control of Congress, Republicans are hugely motivated to retake the U.S. Senate in order to slow Biden’s progress.
The 2022 election landscape, at a quick glance, appears to be favorable to Democrats, especially as five Republican senators — Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), Roy Blunt (MO), Pat Toomey (PA), and Richard Burr (NC) — announced that they will be retiring. Political pundits and the media are focused on those five seats, especially those in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, but there are also numerous Democrats up for re-election in 2022 who look vulnerable.
For Republicans looking for hope ahead of 2022, these are the key races to watch.
Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
Former astronaut Mark Kelly came out victorious in November when he ran against Sen. Martha McSally (R) to fill the remainder of Sen. John McCain’s term.
Although Democrats were successful in flipping this seat from red to blue, Kelly won by a slim margin of a little more than 2% — roughly 100,000 votes — according to Ballotpedia. That should be close enough to catch the attention of Republicans looking for a seat to flip.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is already dedicating funds to hitting Kelly over his record on illegal immigration, which greatly impacts the Grand Canyon State.
“The NRSC argues that Kelly talks tough when it comes to the Biden immigration policy, but doesn’t vote that way, and accuses Kelly of not speaking up when Biden canceled the federal emergency declaration on border security,” CNN reported.
Polling data from RealClearPolitics indicates Sen. John McCain (R) won his seat by 12.9%, compared to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D) win in 2018 with a narrow 2.3% victory. Mark Kelly won his seat in November 2020 with a similarly narrow 2.4% margin, even though polling data showed him winning by over 5%.
Whether or not Republicans come out victorious in this race will depend on who runs against Kelly. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R), who is term-limited after this year, said he will not run for the seat. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs is reportedly contemplating throwing his hat in the ring.
Raphael Warnock (D-GA)
Freshman Sen. Raphael Warnock ran against the Trump agenda during the 2020 election cycle, something that proved to be favorable in the Peach State. Now, he has to run on his record and President Biden’s agenda.
According to a poll from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgians favor Biden’s COVID response but are divided on his economic plans and his failure to address the immigration crisis.
“Overall, only 38% of Georgians think the country is on the right track; 52% say it’s on the wrong one. The rest aren’t sure,” the poll concluded.
According to data from RealClearPolitics, polls between mid-September through Election Day showed Warnock ahead of then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) by as much as 19 points, with a 15.7% average. Although Warnock came out victorious, he only beat Loeffler by 7%, indicating that he’s not as popular as pollsters once thought.
If Biden and the Democrats continue with their radically progressive agenda — which has no signs of slowing down — Georgians may look to the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate. As of now, a handful of Republicans are looking at entering the race.
“Two military veterans — Kelvin King and Latham Saddler — quickly entered the race,” the AJC reported. “And many other Republicans are considering a run, including Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and former UGA football great Herschel Walker.”
Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Freshman Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto has walked a fine line between supporting President Joe Biden’s radical agenda and alienating her constituents.
In April, the senator was forced to walk that line again when she applauded the Nevada Democratic Party’s new leadership that consisted of members of the Democratic Socialists of America. According to The Nevada Independent, Cortez Masto said she “believes in capitalism” but supports raising corporate taxes.
Although she hasn’t come out publicly in support of eliminating the filibuster, she has also stated that “filibuster reform is important” to her.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has targeted her seat, primarily after North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee said he was leaving the Democratic Party because of their far-Left power grab.
“Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is losing allies in her own party. Is she to blame?” the NRSC asked in a press release.
There also appears to be further contention between Cortez Masto and other members of her party. According to the Nevada Current, the senator allegedly asked Clark County Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer to bow out of her candidacy for state party chair, which appears to be part of a larger fight between progressives and the establishment Left.
The senator also faces a competitive race based on voters’ views of Biden and Trump and their respective agendas. Biden snuck out a win in November with 50% of the vote, compared to Trump’s 47.7%.
RealClearPolitics’ polling data from 2016 showed Cortez Masto and her Republican opponent, Joe Heck (R), in a fairly close race through election day. Although a few polls had both candidates up 6-7% of the vote, the senator squeaked out a win by only 2.4%.
If Nevadans feel the Democratic Party moved too far to the Left, Republicans have a solid shot at flipping this seat.
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Polling data from the 2020 election predicted Biden would win the Badger State by 6.7%, respectively. When everything was said and done, Biden took the state by a little more than half a percent. It’s the percentage Trump had when he carried the state in 2016.
Some strongly favor Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and the work he’s done, especially on demanding accountability for Hunter Biden regarding his business ties. Others, however, feel he lost his small-town charm and forgot about the “little guy” who elected him.
As of now, Johnson has yet to announce whether or not he plans to run for re-election. President Trump, however, has endorsed him anyway, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Regardless of Johnson’s decision, this will be a race to watch in a notorious swing state.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter and Editor at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.