US Set To Kick-Off 2022 Midterms With Democrats At Risk Of Losing Grip On Congress

US Set To Kick-Off 2022 Midterms With Democrats At Risk Of Losing Grip On Congress

Updated: 27 days, 8 hours, 46 minutes, 49 seconds ago


WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th November, 2022) US voters head to the polls to cast ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday with control of Congress hanging in the balance, as Republicans hope to break Democrats' hold of both chambers, a possibility amid economic challenges like high inflation, despite jobless claims remaining at record lows.

Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the US Senate and all 435 House seats are up for election this year, in addition to state and local positions. Voters in 36 states and three territories will be choosing their governor, the most critical of non-federal positions on the ballot.

The Democrats currently control the House of Representatives by eight seats while the Senate is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote in her role as president of the upper chamber.

Republicans appear well-positioned to seize the House while the Senate remains a toss-up, according to the most recent polls.

The 2022 races are projected to be the most expensive midterms in US history, with over $16 billion invested in the contests, including a record $2.1 billion of "outside spending," according to the Open Secrets watchdog group. This also includes nearly $300 million of "dark money," which is funding from groups that do not disclose donor identity.

The first polls open at 6:00 a.m. EST (11:00 a.m. GMT) on the east coast, except for the state of Vermont which opens at 5:00 a.m. The last polls close in Alaska at 1:00 a.m. EST.

More than 40.5 million Americans have cast early ballots in the midterm elections, according to data released by the US Elections Project on Monday. Roughly four in ten Americans, 41%, voted or planned on voting before Election Day, a Gallup poll released last week also found.

Republicans are more likely to vote in-person on Election Day than Democrats, while women, voters over 65-years old and people living in the western US are more likely to vote early, the poll added.

Turnout has been a big concern especially among Democrats, who some activists fear are demotivated and frustrated.

"I think these midterms are going to be eye-opening. We're going to see a low turnout," Florida-based constitutional lawyer Dimitra Stathopoulos, a Democratic supporter, told Sputnik. "I have had my ballot in my hand for 2 weeks. Nothing was motivating."

Redress Movement Digital Organizing Director Ria Thompson-Washington said she is concerned that the apathy will be decisive in key races.

In terms of issues, economic fears have dominated the campaign season, with inflation at 40-year highs although unemployment sits at a 50-year low, giving both sides something to boast about.

Graylan Hagler, the director of Faith Strategies, a social and political advocacy group, told Sputnik that prospects for Democrats look dim because voters are obsessed with inflation as opposed to other issues like civil rights.

"I'm afraid that people will vote for .25 cents less at the gas pump. It's sad. They would sacrifice democracy and racial justice for their own little pocketbook," Hagler said.

Kerra Bolton, a former Democratic National Committee organizer in North Carolina, thought key issues like abortion would lead to a Democratic surge at the polls but it has yet to materialize.

"Abortion was supposed to be the big issue galvanizing white women. There were all of these women who said they'd march after Roe v Wade, but they hardly did anything," Bolton said.

There have been some concerns over ballot counting, election security, misinformation and voter deception ahead of Tuesday's vote.

The FBI in a tweet on Monday warned that intentionally deceiving people who are eligible to vote so they don't show up to the polls "is a Federal crime called voter suppression."

It may take days before the final results of the election are known due to ballot counting issues. Whichever candidate wins Pennsylvania, for example, is expected to win by a razor thin margin, hence nearly all ballots will be counted and there could be recounts.

Election workers in the Keystone state will not begin counting some 1.12 million mail-in ballots until Tuesday.

According to RealClearPolitics (RCP), Republicans are favored to win a majority of seats in the House, 227, well above the 218 needed to secure control of the lower chamber, while 34 contests are still categorized as "toss-ups.


The most hotly contested seats in the Senate include Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. Polls in all of these races are within three points.

With the exception of Washington, all of the aforementioned states are considered "battleground" states in presidential elections, meaning support for Democrats and Republicans is variable and close.

Easily the most-watched race is in Pennsylvania, where Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman are in an open-seat race that appears to be a tie at the moment, according to RCP.

President Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump descended upon the state over the weekend, in a race that has attracted $233 million in outside spending.

Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker are tied in the Senate race in Georgia, which is destined to trigger a run-off.

Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is in a virtual tie with Trump-backed Republican opponent Blake Masters. Nevada's incumbent Democratic senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, faces Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. RCP's poll average for October 21 to November 4 puts Laxalt 2.8 points ahead

Senator Maggie Hassan has a nearly one point lead over her Republican opponent Don Bolduc in the senate race in New Hampshire.

Washington, a state that is typically considered an easy win for Democrats, is also seeing a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Patty Murray and Republican candidate Tiffany Smiley. RCP's poll average for October 25 to October 31 places Murray three points ahead, although Smiley is up 15 points with the Hispanic demographic, according to a Seattle Times poll.

Biden won the state of Washington by 20 points in the 2020 presidential race.

Lastly, in Wisconsin, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson also holds a three-point lead over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes. RCP's poll average for October 24 to November 4 has Johnson 2.8 points ahead of Barnes.

Kevin McCarthy is slated to become House Speaker if Republicans win control of the House, taking over the position from Nancy Pelosi. Republicans' prospective agenda includes border security, oversight investigations and increased accountability of Ukraine funding, McCarthy said.

Some things could change on domestic policy, but on the foreign policy front it may be business as usual.

"Foreign policy, while influenced by Congress, is essentially the role of the Administration. Based on the current leadership team, I see no change in the suicidal path policy currently being pursued, hence little chance for any real dialogue of improvement in US-Russian relations," Washington-based Eurasia Center Executive Vice President Earl Rasmussen told Sputnik.

Most voters, according to polls, do not have Ukraine on their minds as they cast ballots, although the outcome of the election could have consequences for Washington's aid to Kiev. Some Republicans vowed not to give Ukraine an "open check book."

However, Congressional Republican candidate Wesley Hallman told Sputnik he expects there to be enough bipartisan support to continue approving additional security assistance for Ukraine regardless of which party gains power after the midterm elections.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez told Sputnik he would prefer that some of the billions of Dollars being sent to Ukraine be used to address needs in the United States, especially on Native American reservations.

The race is seen by many as a referendum on President Joe Biden's performance, and the outcome some experts say could steer his decision to run in 2024. A Republican sweep of both chambers could make the next two years problematic in terms of implementing his agenda.

Moreover, Republicans have vowed to investigate the Biden administration's border policies, the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Hunter Biden's business dealings, among other dilemmas. Some have even threatened to impeach the president.

Meanwhile, Trump reportedly plans on announcing his run for 2024 in coming weeks or even days, as he eagerly waits to see which party will control Congress.

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