The 2022 election is nearly over, even as votes are still being counted in a few straggler races -- particularly in states with ludicrous counting systems and other lengthy processes in place. As we analyzed earlier in the week, Republicans have won the House of Representatives and will end up with a slim majority of either 221-214 or (perhaps more likely) 222-213, the latter of which would be a precise mirror image of the current narrow edge Democrats hold. On the Senate side, this cycle was a bust. Despite the various factors we've been discussing for months -- historical precedent, strong political environment for the opposition party, and widespread economic frustration among the electorate -- not a single incumbent lost his or her upper chamber seat. The only seat to change partisan hands was in Pennsylvania's open race, where it seems rather probable that GOP Sen. Pat Toomey would have won re-election if he hadn't chosen to retire. Instead, Democrats elected John Fetterman, the only flip of the cycle thus far.
As of right now, there will be 50 Democratic Senators in the next Congress, and 49 Republicans, with one race outstanding. It's Georgia's runoff on December 6th. Either Sen. Raphael Warnock will continue the trend of incumbents winning, and Democrats will actually gain one net seat in the Senate for a 51-49 advantage, or Herschel Walker will unseat Warnock and bring the partisan balance back to 50-50, where it's been for the last two years. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was just in Georgia stumping for Walker, and he explained on my radio show why the stakes are still high, even though Democrats will hold a razor-thin majority regardless of the outcome down there:
Full audio of our interview is here:
Cruz addressed his own 2024 plans by emphasizing that he'll be standing for re-election in the Senate without explicitly ruling out another presidential bid. As we've mentioned before, the 2024 Senate map should be very favorable for Republicans. Just look at it:
Even if 2023 majority not at stake, GA runoff is still really important as you look ahead to 2024 Senate map. Ds could really use an extra seat cushion given how exposed they are next time pic.twitter.com/fqSUL747tj— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) November 12, 2022
But 2022 "should" have been a lock for a red wave, but it wasn't -- even though in some respects, it sort of was, especially in certain places. I'll leave you with a new survey out of Georgia, where Warnock is slightly ahead, but it will be a turnout game. Whose base will be more motivated to show up (early voting started yesterday), and can Walker improve his standing a little bit among independents?
“Warnock has a commanding lead of 54% to 39% over Walker among independent voters — an important bloc that once reliably voted for Republicans in Georgia.”— Josh Kraushaar (@JoshKraushaar) November 22, 2022