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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rakich and Skelley: 2022 Senate Race Map Looks Good for Dems

Some revealing strategic observations from Nathaniel Rakich and Geoffrey Skeeley from their article, “What All Those GOP Retirements Mean for the 2022 Senate Map” at FiveThirtyEight:

These retirements could be a helpful development for Democrats, too, as they provide the party with potential openings on what was already a decently favorable Senate map for them. Although the Senate’s rural biasstill makes the chamber advantageous to Republicans overall, the 2022 Senate map doesn’t force Democrats to compete on red turf nearly as much as the 2020 map or killer 2018 map did. In fact, no Democratic senators are running for reelection in states won by former President Donald Trump in 2020, while Republicans are defending two seats in states won by President Biden: the open seat in Pennsylvania and Sen. Ron Johnson’s seat in Wisconsin. (To make matters worse for Republicans, Johnson is considering retirement as well.)

However, the GOP may have one big advantage in 2022: a Republican-leaning national environment. As we saw in 2018 (and 2014, and 2010, and 2006, and…), midterm elections are usually bad for the president’s party. If that pattern holds true in 2022, the 2020 presidential results are probably not the best barometer of the partisanship of these states. Indeed, 2020 was actually a Democratic-leaning year, with Biden winning the national popular vote by 4.5 percentage points. So there’s a good chance that states will be at least a bit redder in 2022 than they were in 2020.

Skelley and Rakich conclude, noting that “the 2022 Senate map doesn’t force Democrats to compete on red turf nearly as much as the 2020 map or killer 2018 map did. In fact, no Democratic senators are running for reelection in states won by former President Donald Trump in 2020, while Republicans are defending two seats in states won by President Biden: the open seat in Pennsylvania and Sen. Ron Johnson’s seat in Wisconsin.”

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