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The 2022 GOP Comeback Potential

Erik Sofranko

Posted on January 24, 2021 02:50

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The Republican Party is on track to take back control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, and the Senate also presents several opportunities for pickups.

The 2020 election was not expected to go well for House Republicans. The polling averages pointed towards a more favorable environment for Democrats. The GOP not only had to defend many open seats that Republican incumbents abandoned, but they were also running behind in fundraising in many competitive races. Contrary to expectations, the GOP actually had a net gain of 11 House seats. The current makeup of the House is represented by 222 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and two Independents who caucus with the Republican Party. Many of the gains for Republicans in 2020 came in suburban districts that they had lost in 2018.

The GOP has an initial advantage in 2022 due to the fact the political party in control of the White House almost always does poorly in midterm elections. A recent rare exception occurred in 2002 when the GOP gained House and Senate seats at a time when the country was united behind President Bush who had enjoyed a nearly 90 percent approval rating nationwide following the 9/11 attacks. 

Since the end of World War II, the political party in control of the White House has lost on average 27 House seats in midterm elections. In 2022, the GOP needs a net gain of at least seven seats to reach the 218 needed for the majority.

Control of the Senate remains more of a question at this point. States, where Republicans believe they can pick up Senate seats, include Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Illinois. In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennett’s seat is seen as a target for the GOP if they put forth a nominee similar to Cory Gardner, who defeated Democrat Mark Udall in the 2014 Senate election.

Arizona also presents an opportunity for a GOP pickup as incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, who was elected to serve the remainder of John McCain’s term, will face a tough challenge if the GOP nominates a stronger candidate than Martha McSally. Incumbent Republican Governor Doug Ducey is the strong candidate that they need. 

Nevada is another state for a potential GOP Senate pickup as former Republican Governor Brian Sandoval has expressed interest in a run for the Senate to challenge incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, who succeeded Harry Reid.  

In New Hampshire, incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu is very popular in the state and seems to be the frontrunner to challenge incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen. In 2016, Shaheen unseated incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte by just over a thousand votes.

Incumbent Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan has also expressed interest in running for Senate in 2022. With his high favorability rating in the state, he has a solid chance of securing a Senate pickup in Maryland.

A GOP Senate pickup in Illinois is also on their list of targets. Republican Senator Mark Kirk lost his seat in 2016 to Tammy Duckworth but is reportedly considering a comeback.  

Lastly, in governorships, the GOP currently is aiming for pickups in Colorado, Nevada, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, and Kentucky. 

Erik Sofranko

Posted on January 24, 2021 02:50

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Source: KOAT 7
1

Senate adjourned pending House adjustments

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