With less than two weeks until the midterm election, political momentum appears to be further trending in the direction of Republicans. POLITICO’s election forecaster, Steve Shepard, has released an updated projection for the election, with five races changing “status.” Four of the five updates favor the Republicans.
Let’s walk through them.
The Arizona Senate race has moved from Lean Democrat to a Toss-up. Blake Masters, the GOP horse in the race, is staging a comeback against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly. Masters is a 36-year-old tech executive who enjoys the backing of GOP megadonor Peter Thiel, who just pumped another $5 million into the Masters campaign. Although much of Masters’s resurgence has nothing to do with Masters’s performance; voters are frustrated with the Biden administration, and with illegal immigration that they view the GOP as being tougher on. And Kari Lake, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, has become a national figure, touting MAGA principles with the polish of a broadcasting professional; Lake has raised the profile of the entire GOP in the state, offering Masters a wave to ride to victory.
Arizona’s trend towards Republican is significant, threatening to help the GOP flip the Senate. Five Senate races are now rated as Toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The outcomes in the Toss-up states will likely determine the Senate majority.
Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race has moved from Lean Democrat to Likely Democrat. The GOP seems to have abandoned their candidate, Doug Mastriano, who has struggled against Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro. The gubernatorial race offers a shimmer of hope for Pennsylvania Democrats, who are still reeling from John Fetterman’s uniquely poor debate performance last Tuesday.
Two races in southern California are trending towards Republicans.
California’s 27th District, north of Los Angeles, has been updated from Toss-up to Lean Republican. Democrats had entered the race with hopes of unseating GOP Representative Mike Garcia (Biden won the district by 13 points). Now that objective seems far-fetched. Democrats appear to be moving on, unwilling to spend valuable resources on advertisements in the super expensive Los Angeles media market, having classified the race as a lost cause.
California’s 49th district, near San Diego, has been updated from Lean Democrat to Toss-up. Democratic Representative Mike Levin is still in the race – but he’s no longer the clear favorite. Republican Brian Maryott has a real shot to win the seat.
The final update comes from my state of residence, Oregon, where the 5th district, near Portland, has been updated from Toss-up to Lean Republican. The race for the 5th has been a little bit messy. Democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who successfully ousted incumbent Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary, is suffering from the neglect of national Democrats – who have moved to salvage other Oregon races. Biden won the district by 9 points – and Portland is notoriously liberal – but rampant homelessness, crime, and wokeness have inspired a Republican resurgence in the area.
POLITICO’s updates suggest the Republicans are very capable of flipping the House in November; the current tally places 213 races favoring Republicans. Only 218 seats are needed for a majority. Meanwhile, Democrats are favored in 195; 27 House races are regarded as Toss-ups that could go either way.
Overall, Republicans are expected to “win” the midterm elections. The out-of-power party historically fares well in midterm elections, which typically serve as a referendum on the party in power. With inflation at record highs, gas prices at record highs, war underway in Europe, and GOP-favoring issues like crime, immigration, and the economy front of mind for American voters, the GOP may well take back Congress.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.