On Nov. 8, Democrats and Republicans will compete in races across the country in several key races in to gain control of the next Congress.
For Republicans, a large victory would signify a rebuke of President Biden’s first term in office by allowing them to stall his legislative agenda for at least the next two years. Moreover, Democrats need a victory to hold onto their razor-thin majority in the House and Senate in order to pass Biden’s campaign promises by 2024.
However, the GOP only needs to capture a net of five additional seats in the House to gain a majority in the 118th Congress and hold at least one additional seat in the Senate.
Polls and prediction forecasts indicate that the Republicans will likely take over the House, but the fate of the Senate will be decided in only a handful of states, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire and Ohio. The GOP has a strong lead in several of these closely watched races.
The statewide and federal elections taking place in Arizona are some of the most significant of the November midterm cycle. The state will have one Senate seat up for a vote, an open gubernatorial race, as well as several statewide elections, including the state’s attorney general.
Arizona, which used to be dominated by Senators like John McCain and moderate conservatives such as Doug Ducey, now has total Republican political outsiders running for the state’s top positions. Each of the GOP candidates was hand-picked by former President Trump, and many of them are campaigning on far more conservative positions regarding immigration, border security, trade and election fraud.
All of Arizona’s 9 Congressional seats will be up for vote with five Democrats and four Republican incumbents. During the last presidential cycle, Biden narrowly won the state by 0.3% of the vote, but four years prior, Trump captured the typically red state by over 100,000 votes.
About the Arizona Senate races:
One of the most interesting facts about the upcoming Arizona Senate race is that Republican contender Blake Masters is one of many Trump-endorsed Senate running as an outsider against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly.
Masters is also bankrolled by his longtime mentor Paypal co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel, a GOP mega-donor and ally of the former Republican president, played a major role in lobbying Trump to endorse Masters during the Republican primary.
Masters has situated himself as a strong ally of the 45th president and has campaigned on issues that make him stand out from former Republican contenders, such as announcing his support for suspending H-1B visas, immigration moratorium and upholding abortion laws. Moreover, Masters supports Trump’s allegations of election fraud surrounding the 2020 presidential race.
Kelly, a former astronaut, won his seat in 2020 during a special election to fill the seat vacated by the late Sen. John McCain. Going into the general election, Kelly had a strong lead over his Republican rival, but amid uncontrolled inflation and rising interest rates, as well as Biden’s growing disapproval numbers, Masters has closed the gap, making the Grand Canyon State a toss-up race.
Kelly’s lead over Masters has slowly dwindled from 6% to a polling average of just 1.0%, according to RealClearPolitics. Moreover, the Cook Political Report changed its rating in Arizona’s Senate race from “Lean Democrat” to toss-up, indicating Democrats may not hold onto their slim majority come November.
About the Arizona Governor elections:
The two main contenders for the governor’s mansion are Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and former news anchor Kari Lake. Lake, another Arizona political outsider like Masters, received Trump’s endorsement during a contentious GOP primary race.
Current Republican Gov. Doug Ducey cannot run for re-election again due to term limits; however, Ducey initially opposed Lake’s candidacy, along with former Vice President Mike Pence, by supporting her primary opponent Karrin Robson.
Lake is viewed as less moderate than Ducey and has campaigned on banning critical race theory, banning late-term abortion, restricting illegal and legal immigration, and has endorsed Trump’s claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. If elected, Lake would be one of the most pro-Trump governors in charge of signing voting laws in a key swing state.
Throughout the general election and during the finals of the campaign, polling has shown Lakes maintaining a consistent lead over Hobbs, with a polling average of 1.8%, according to Real Clear Politics.
About the Arizona House elections:
Arizona does not have many consequential races during the midterm elections for the House. Almost all the nine Congressional races are considered either solid or likely Republican holds or solid or likely Democratic wins. However, Arizona District 1 race between Republican incumbent Rep. David Schweikert and Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge is one of the closest House races in the state.
Schweikert, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, won his last race for Arizona’s 6th District by 52.2% of the vote. He currently sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and has been an opponent of Biden’s economic and infrastructure agenda. Some key issues Schweikert is running his campaign on include inflation, reducing taxes and stopping illegal immigration on Arizona’s southern border with Mexico.
Meanwhile, Hodge is the president of an Arizona nonprofit called the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center. He previously unsuccessfully ran in 2020 to be on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “I’m running for Congress because I got my opportunity,” Hodge states on the website. “I want to do everything I possibly can to fight for everyday Arizonans to get theirs.”
His main issues include income inequality, universal healthcare, and protecting voting rights. The race is considered a toss-up, according to Cook Political report but other polling indicates the seat is likely to remain in Republican control.