Our final election preview installment completes the entirety that covers all 50 states. This edition looks at the country’s eastern region.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) faces a re-match campaign with his close 2018 competitor, financial executive Bob Stefanowski (R). Polling suggests that the Governor will well exceed his 49-46% victory margin of four years ago. Surveys also tell us that GOP challenger Leora Levy is on the edge of competitiveness against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), but the incumbent is poised to again prevail.
The state’s hotly contested electoral contest comes in the northwestern 5th Congressional District where Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Wolcott) is in a tight re-election battle with former state Senator George Logan (R). National GOP officials are high on Mr. Logan, so we can expect a maximum Republican turnout effort in an attempt to convert a strong campaign effort into an upset victory.
The only federal race before the First State voters is at-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester*’s (D-Wilmington) re-election, and she is a prohibitive favorite to claim a fourth term. Delaware is also one of the states that elects its Governors in presidential election years.
Gov. Janet Mills (D) faces former Governor Paul LePage (R) who returns to elective politics after previously serving eight years as the state’s chief executive. What began as a tight race appears to be less competitive now, and Gov. Mills is expected to win re-election.
The 2nd Congressional District is the most Republican seat in the country that sends a Democratic Representative to the House. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) defeated then-Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) through the Ranked Choice Voting system after the Republican had garnered the most votes in the actual election. The same could happen this time in the re-match between the two, but certain polls project Rep. Golden as positioned to win outright on Tuesday night.
The Free State routinely elects Democrats to every office, but has had a Republican Governor for the last eight years. With incumbent Larry Hogan (R) ineligible to seek a third term, Democratic newcomer Wes Moore is in strong position to convert the Governor’s office back to the Democratic column on Tuesday night with a victory over state Delegate Dan Cox (R-Frederick). Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) seeks a second term, and will also win easily.
The court-drawn redistricting map returns the western 6th District to competitive form, but it appears that Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), despite his residence no longer lying within the 6th CD, will score another convincing win. His opponent, state Delegate Neil Parrott (R-Frederick) has not run the type of campaign likely to unseat a two-term Democratic incumbent.
The Bay State is also one of the northeast’s staunchly Democratic states that tend to elects Republican Governors. This year, with GOP Gov. Charlie Baker choosing not to seek a third term, the Governor’s office is poised to return to the Democratic column in the person of Attorney General Maura Healey. She is projected to easily defeat former state Representative and 2018 US Senate nominee Geoff Diehl (R).
All nine Democratic Massachusetts delegation members are seeking re-election and each will notch decisive wins.
In what is arguably the most prevalent swing state in the country, the Granite State ballot is filled with competitive races. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) looks set to win a fourth two-year term, but the state’s US Senate race is one of the country’s hottest. Though retired Gen. Don Bolduc (R) was virtually left for politically dead after winning the September 13th primary by a percentage point, he has battled back into competitive status against one-term incumbent and former Governor Maggie Hassan (D). This race is now in upset alert status.
New Hampshire’s two congressional districts are also highly competitive. Two-term Rep. Chris Pappas’ (D-Manchester) 1st District has defeated more incumbents since 2004 than any seat in the country. Polling has generally posted him ahead of former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt (R), but nothing is ever certain in such a volatile political domain.
Rep. Annie Kuster’s (D-Hopkinton/Concord) western state 2nd District is more Democratic than the eastern 1st, but this seat too can record close elections. If what some predict is a coming red wave truly develops, both Democratic incumbents could be unseated.
With no Senate race on the ballot and the Governor’s election held last year, the 12 US House seats lead the midterm Garden State ballot. Redistricting has secured some of the more vulnerable Democratic seats, but with a price. Rep. Tom Malinowski’s (D-Rocky Hill/Westfield) 7th CD became more Republican as a result of the redistricting commission members shoring up Democratic areas for adjoining districts, and the Congressman only held off former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R) in 2020 with less than 52% of the vote. Therefore, we can be assured of another close finish here, but the new district might tip the scale in Mr. Kean’s favor.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) is on the ballot for re-election and should have little trouble winning again, though his victory margin may be a bit smaller in what could become a difficult year for Democrats. The Governor’s race is becoming close, and incumbent Kathy Hochul (D), who ascended to the office when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was forced to resign, finds herself in a much more difficult campaign against GOP US Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) than she originally anticipated. Polling is now showing that the Governor’s race is a potential toss-up. Still, the overwhelming Democratic margin in New York City should be enough to deliver Ms. Hochul a close victory at the very least.
The House races yield several competitive battles with three seats on Long Island being open and three more Democratic seats in the Hudson Valley heading into the toss-up realm, including Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-Cold Spring) district. Two state Assemblymen and a former Republican gubernatorial nominee gives the GOP strong candidates for each of these latter campaigns. The open Syracuse Republican seat is also a major competitive battle.
Though the Republicans fared better in the court-drawn redistricting map than the legislature’s plan, the Democrats will still dominate the delegation. Breaking even with maintaining their eight seats when the state lost a district would be a major national victory for the GOP.
The Senate race dominates the Buckeye State political landscape as US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) and author J.D. Vance* (R) battle to the last day of this election cycle. Mr. Vance has led in most polls, 15 of the last 19 with two ties, but the Democrats appear to be performing slightly better in early voting. Mr. Vance has to be rated at least a soft favorite to win on Tuesday. Ohio is a must-win for the GOP.
Helping Mr. Vance is a strong Gov. Mike DeWine (R) at the top of the ticket who is poised to win a landslide victory. Keeping the DeWine coalition consistent for Vance will be a boost that could well propel him to the victory.
In the House races, veteran Cincinnati Rep. Steve Chabot (R) has a much more difficult district (D+3 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization) than his previous seat. Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman (D) is the Democratic nominee. Rep. Chabot will need a strong turnout model to record another victory in his long 26-year congressional career.
Though veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), the dean of the Democratic conference with 40 years of congressional service, fared poorly in redistricting as her seat went from D+16 to R+6, the Republicans nominating January 6th participant J.D. Majewski has helped paved the path for the Congresswoman’s re-election.
The new 13th District, located southeast of Cleveland and anchored in Akron, features a tight contest between Republican attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert and Democratic state Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). In a seat rated R+2, this contest is anybody’s game.
Possibly the most publicized Senate race in the country, the open contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and television’s Dr. Mehmet Oz* (R), could well decide the Senate majority. Many believe that the party carrying Pennsylvania punches their majority ticket. Dr. Oz now leads in most polls after the two met in a highly publicized debate on October 25th. Early voting patterns, however, appear to favor the Democrats. Remembering that the Republican primary took about a month to decide because the result was so close, it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar occur for the general election.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is now a heavy favorite to win the open Governor’s race and succeed term-limited incumbent Tom Wolf (D).
In the House races, the state hosts three critical toss-up campaigns, all currently in Democratic possession. Reps. Susan Wild (D-Allentown) and Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic/Scranton) reside in districts that now lean Republican, and both seats, in re-match campaigns with their 2020 Republican opponents, Lisa Scheller* and Jim Bognet*, respectively, are considered toss-ups. In the Pittsburgh area, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pittsburgh) running unsuccessfully for Senate opens this district rated D+1. Democratic election law attorney Chris DeLuzio and Republican engineer and former local official Jeremy Shaffer are also embroiled in a toss-up battle.
With no Senate race on the ballot, the Governor’s contest becomes the main statewide campaign. Gov. Dan McKee (D) ascended to his position when then-Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) was appointed US Commerce Secretary. He won a tight Democratic primary in September and now hopes to clinch a full term on Tuesday night. Gov. McKee faces a spirited challenge from Republican Ashley Kalus who has proven herself more than a political sacrificial lamb. The Governor is favored, but this race will be closer than a typical Rhode Island statewide campaign.
In the open 2nd District with Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Warwick) retiring after 11 terms, Republicans appear to have a chance of carrying a district rated D+17. Former Cranston Mayor and two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung* has been leading Democratic state Treasurer Seth Magaziner in the published polls. This is a race to watch on election night and could be one that sets the tone for what we will see in the rest of the country. Winning this seat will go a long way toward Republicans clinching the House majority.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) is retiring as a historic American figure. When he completes this term, he will be the third longest-serving Senator in American history. Mr. Leahy was originally elected in 1974. At-large Rep. Peter Welch (D-Norwich) is the prohibitive favorite to replace Sen. Leahy in what is basically a run for re-election for the Congressman since he already represents a statewide constituency.
Gov. Phil Scott (R), another Republican who has won multiple terms as Governor in a heavily Democratic eastern state. He is perched to win another on Tuesday.
In the open House seat, state Senate President Becca Balint (D-Burlington) indirectly won the congressional seat when she won a crowded Democratic primary in August. She is the prohibitive favorite on Tuesday night.
Another state with no Senate or Governor’s election on the ballot, most of the political intrigue was decided in the May Republican primary. Since West Virginia lost a seat in national reapportionment, GOP Reps. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) and David McKinley* (R-Wheeling) were paired into a new northern 2nd District, a tough battle that Mr. Mooney won. Both Mr. Mooney and Rep. Carol Miller (R-Huntington) will be easy winners on Tuesday night.
* denotes the candidate has received an AGC PAC contribution during the 2021-2022 election cycle.
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