The Midterm Campaigns That Are Turning Heads Across The Country

When a politician says that they're not yet thinking about their re-election campaign, you can pretty much guarantee that they are, for it always seems as though we're in an election year. With sights already set on the 2024 presidential election, candidates, pundits, and media outlets alike are looking to the 2022 midterms to set the stage, as Democrats and Republicans will be battling it out for Senate, House, and gubernatorial seats. To say that politicians and their parties are on edge is an understatement, as the ongoing pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine, and inflation have made the last two years incredibly difficult to navigate.


As noted by New York Magazine, Democrats are looking to hold onto power in 2022 and have less to lose than their Republican counterparts. The Democrats have 14 seats in the Senate up for grabs, as opposed to the 20 for Republicans, and zero of those 14 seats are in states that President Joe Biden lost in 2020. However, two years can change a lot, and the field is looking rather rocky given Biden's steadily low approval ratings (via Gallup). So what do you need to know about the 2022 midterms, and what races should you keep an eye on? Here are 14 elections that are already heating up.

Stacey Abrams faces a fight in Georgia's gubernatorial race

When Stacey Abrams joined the political fight in 2018, not a ton of people knew her name. Now, many people know her name as Abrams has proven to be a powerful candidate and organizer who has dedicated her time and attention to voter registration. In a matchup that is eerily similar to four years ago, Abrams is once again vying for Georgia's governorship and is running against former opponent and incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) as well as former Senator David Perdue (R-Ga). These are all big players in the Georgia gubernatorial race.


As noted by the Associated Press, Abrams qualified to run in Georgia after announcing her candidacy in December 2021. Abrams said at the time that she is "trying again to do what's right for Georgia" after having dedicated her efforts to on-the-ground registration and political outreach. Many credited Abrams with the blue wave that hit Georgia in 2020, resulting in the elections of Senator Jon Ossoff and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga), WXIA-TV has reported. Will 2022 be her year? We'll have to wait and see.

The Georgia gubernatorial Democratic primary is on May 24, followed by the general election on November 8. The candidates that win their primary races will face off in the general.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock is receiving huge re-election campaign donations

Speaking of Stacey Abrams, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) — who is running for re-election — greatly benefited from her on-the-ground voter registration in Georgia in 2020. Warnock became a Democratic representative for the state in the Senate, and he's looking to repeat history in 2022. Per AP News, Warnock faces some competition from the GOP, but he's maintaining a steady cash intake ahead of the midterms.


In the first months of 2022, Warnock's re-election campaign raked in a total of $13.6 million, beating out his own October to December 2021 fundraising record of $9.8 million. AP News reported that Warnock's efforts have resulted in "the most money ever raised by a U.S. Senate candidate in the first quarter of an election year," and to face down six GOP candidates, Warnock has just over $25 million on hand. The reverend is set to face Democratic primary opponent Tamara Johnson-Shealey and is destined to combat Republican Herschel Walker and a litany of other GOP candidates (as well as one Libertarian candidate). Walker is set to be the GOP frontrunner, and AP News notes that friend and former President Donald Trump is backing his campaign. 


As per Ballotpedia, the Georgia primary is scheduled for May 24, with a primary runoff set for June 21. The general run-off election will, of course, follow, set for December 6.

Gretchen Whitmer faces an uphill battle in Michigan

All eyes are on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is seeking re-election. Whitmer gained national attention after two men plotted to kidnap her, prompting subsequent arrests and public outcry (via NPR). Despite the dangers that holding office has presented, Whitmer is determined to be re-elected and has a large amount of campaign money at her disposal (per Bridge Michigan). There are a number of Republican candidates throwing their hats in the ring, and a number of issues are working against Whitmer, including her comparatively strict stance on COVID-19 restrictions (via NBC News) and her renewed policy within Michigan state schools that is costing billions of dollars to implement, Bridge Michigan added in a further report. The outlet noted that 10 Republican candidates filed to run against Whitmer as of the April 19 deadline, so to say the field is crowded is an understatement.


Of course, Whitmer's accomplishments — including her state's budget surplus, GDP rate, infrastructure investment, and more — coupled with her high profile near-kidnapping could bring the governor back into the minds of compassionate voters, as the two men who plotted against her are currently battling it out in court. Per the Detroit Free Press, the prosecutors assigned to Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr.'s case are requesting their June 8 sentencing be delayed. As of publication, a trial date has not been scheduled. 

As per Ballotpedia, the gubernatorial primary is scheduled for August 2, followed by the general election on November 8. 

Louisiana Senate candidate Gary Chambers turns heads with campaign videos

There are some politicians — namely those who are younger than your average representative — who are turning heads these days. Think Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) or Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). Their ranks may see another young member in Democratic Senate candidate Gary Chambers. As per NPR, Chambers' run for the Senate is sparking intense attention, as his campaign videos are poignant and raw and challenge the very nature of Jim Crow, institutionalized racism, and drug laws. One such campaign video saw Chambers smoking marijuana while discussing the war on drugs and suggested that many men of color are unfairly imprisoned due to such substance use. Another ad pictured Chambers setting fire to a Confederate flag as he confronted what he laid out as the long-term impacts of segregation laws.


"Here in Louisiana, and all over the South, Jim Crow never really left ... Our system isn't broken," Chambers is heard saying in one of his campaign videos. "It's designed to do exactly what it's doing, which is producing measurable inequity."

As noted by Ballotpedia, Louisiana's primary date for the Senate race is November 8, followed by the general election on December 10. 

The Pennsylvania Senate race has everyone talking

When former President Donald Trump first came on the political scene, it certainly shifted the field from politician-turned-celebrity to celebrity-turned-politician — and it looks as though others are hoping to jump on the bandwagon. All eyes, subsequently, have been on the Pennsylvania Senate race, as celebrity physician, Dr. Mehmet Oz, is making a name for himself among the GOP candidates vying for the Senate seat. As per NPR, Oz has gained a high-profile status, as Trump himself has endorsed him. Has the race, then, been a bit chaotic? You bet.


As is typical with many politicians, late-night hosts have gone to bat over Oz's political aspirations, including HBO host John Oliver. In a recent episode of his show, "Last Week Tonight," Oliver let loose on Oz and his political aspirations, telling viewers that the celebrity doctor will never be able to relate to the everyday person (as he's trying to do while on the campaign trail).

"The truth is that is his what his life be like because he's ****ing rich," Oliver said. "What he doesn't get to do ... is stand in front of gas pumps and pretend he's personally affected by those numbers."

As noted by Ballotpedia, the primary election for the Pennsylvania Senate seat is scheduled for May 17, followed by the general election on November 8. 


Wisconsin Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has received huge endorsements

Mandela Barnes, Democratic lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, is running for a Senate seat this midterm election, and he's already raised $1.7 million in the first months of 2022. His campaign even said that he's out-raised all the other candidates he's facing thus far, per The Hill. Barnes — should he win the Democratic primary — is set to challenge incumbent Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis). The Cook Political Report further categorizes the race as a "toss-up," The Hill included. 


Barnes might see some increased attention in his efforts, however, as he scored a high-profile endorsement. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently announced her support of the lieutenant governor, per Wisconsin Public Radio, citing his dedication to the issues at present.

"With Mandela Barnes fighting alongside me in the Senate, we have a real opportunity to build an economy that works for all of us, strengthen and protect our democracy, expand health care, and tackle the climate crisis head-on," Warren said.

According to Ballotpedia, the Wisconsin Senate primary is set for August 9. Voters will decide who will represent them in the Senate come November 8. 

North Carolina could see its first Black female senator

North Carolina's Senate race could make history. As noted by ABC News, former State Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley is running to fill the seat of retiring North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr. Republicans are hoping that Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) will snag the seat, but he's up against some stiff competition from the Democrats, and Beasley's campaign (and potential win) would make history in the state, as she would be the only Black woman serving in the Senate and the first Black woman to represent the state.


Beasley started making a name for herself in the late 1990s when she was made a state district court judge. She went on to serve on the court of appeals in 2008, making her the first Black woman to win a North Carolina state election. She joined the state Supreme Court in 2014 and five years later became chief justice. She is now running for the Senate and is supported by the storied political group, which has backed candidates including Kamala Harris, Val Demings, Tammy Duckworth, and many more. 

The North Carolina Senate primary, as noted by Ballotpedia, is set for May 17, followed by a primary runoff on either July 5 or July 26 — the date is dependent on possible federal involvement. The final tally, of course, will be decided on November 8.  


Will Republican Lisa Murkowski be ousted in 2022?

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is known for her moderate stance on a variety of issues, and she has not shied away from joining some Senate Democrats on key votes. Most recently, she was one of the few Republican senators to vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.


Murkowski is facing a battle back in Alaska, as she is facing off against Republican candidate Kelly Tshibaka, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, per AP News. While Murkowski has a war chest with more than $5.2 million in it ready to go, Tshibaka is reveling in Trump-sponsored cash, as the former president hosted a fundraising campaign for the political hopeful at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort.

Despite the challenger, Murkowski's team remains hopeful, with campaign manager Nate Adams saying, "We are humbled by the overwhelming support our campaign continues to receive."

Ballotpedia indicates that the Alaska Senate primary will take place on August 16. Murkowski's fate, should she win the primary, will be decided on Election Day, November 8. 


The Ohio Senate race is heating up too

If the name J.D. Vance sounds familiar to you, it most likely isn't to do with politics. Vance — who won the Ohio GOP primary, per the Ohio Capital Journal — is a prominent author and the storied mind behind the acclaimed book-turned-film "Hillbilly Elegy." Vance will face incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan (D) during the state's general election. Vance, another Trump-endorsed candidate, told WLWT-TV that Trump relayed the news in a phone call while he was out with his children.


"You know, how many times does the (former) president call you? And he said, 'Yeah, it is and I want to endorse you in this race. I think you're gonna win, and I think you're the best person to take on Tim Ryan.' And I said, 'Sir, I'm honored by that,'" Vance said of the phone call ahead of the May 3 primary.

Still, Trump's endorsement might not win over voters in the long run. WLWT noted that Vance "denounced" the former president back in 2016, so while the two men have certainly come a long way, voters might not be so convinced.

Ballotpedia notes that J.D. Vance, Tim Ryan, and independent candidate Kelli Prather will face off on Election Day, November 8. 

Mark Kelly is turning heads in the Arizona race

All eyes are turning to Arizona amid the 2022 midterm elections, as 2020 was a historic year for the state. As noted by ABC News, incumbent Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) won a Senate seat in a special election in the state, which resulted in two Democratic senators for the first time in more than five decades. Kelly is now facing re-election and a Republican primary with a bevy of candidates hoping to oust him from his seat. Of course, Arizona has largely been synonymous with the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who represented the state in the Senate and famously joined Democrats to uphold the Affordable Care Act. As the state is moving "into solidly purple territory," per ABC News, Kelly's re-election efforts are bound to be a sight to watch.


So who could Kelly face from the GOP? Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is a political hopeful, as well as author and businessman Blake Masters, who has received some prominent endorsements from fellow businessmen and Silicon Valley insiders.

Ballotpedia notes that the Arizona Senate primary is set to take place on August 2, and the final fate of the seat will be sealed on Election Day, November 8. 

Rep. Liz Cheney faces a fight for her House seat

If one Republican lawmaker has become synonymous with extending her support to her colleagues across the aisle, it's Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo). The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the sole representative of Wyoming in the House is also seeking re-election come 2022 and is looking at an uphill battle and help from a potentially unlikely source — Democrats. Per Politico, the Wyoming representative is facing some serious hate at home from Trump supporters, who are said to be trying their hardest to prevent her congressional re-election. 


And while Cheney has certainly made it clear that she is not a Republican with which to be messed, experts at FiveThirtyEight estimate that she shouldn't count on Democrats to come to her political rescue. About 70% of registered voters in Wyoming are Republican, and the GOP has a stronghold in the state.

So who could Cheney face in her uphill battle? A litany of Republican candidates, including former Donald Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman (via The New York Times). Ballotpedia further details that the primary election will take place on August 16, followed by the Election Day decision on November 8.  

All eyes are on the Wisconsin gubernatorial race

Get ready, because the fate of Wisconsin's gubernatorial race may leave you feeling exhausted. Some people might write off Wisconsin as a fly-over state, but its fate in the 2022 midterms could shake up the country in a big way. Incumbent Governor Tony Evers (D) narrowly won the title of governor in 2018 and is facing a number of hurdles between now and re-election. As noted by The Week, the state's legislature is currently Republican-controlled.


The Week also noted that Wisconsin is dynamic when it comes to today's politics, as the gubernatorial race is battling such ideologies including court legitimacy, a lack of faith in the electoral process, progressive cultural battles, and gerrymandering. 

So who is Evers facing down in the election? The current governor is unchallenged in his own party but is facing six Republican candidates as of publication, per Ballotpedia. Among them is Rebecca Kleefisch, who — according to a poll conducted by FiveThirtyEight — is neck-and-neck with Evers at 41%. The primary election in Wisconsin is scheduled to take place on August 9, followed by the general election on November 8.

Nevada Democrats are trying to fend off big losses

There are a few states that are solidly in purple territory, and Nevada is one of them. Democrats, however, could lose power due to the results of their own redistricting lines. As per New York Magazine, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) — facing re-election in 2022 — approved the new district lines that the Democratic majority state legislature established. This should all work in the Dems' favor, right? Not so fast.


"When Democrats set out to redraw Nevada's four congressional districts, they could have virtually guaranteed that Nevada would elect at least two Democratic representatives by drawing two safely blue seats," FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich wrote. "But they decided to roll the dice and draw three less secure Democratic seats instead."

So what does this mean? Democrats essentially aren't destined to take all three Nevada seats, but instead, the redistricted zones could "backfire." If Republicans have a 5% point higher performance, they could snag all four House posts, Rakich estimated. As Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) said during a town hall, "I totally got ****** by the legislature on my district."


So who is Sisolak facing down come 2022? As noted by Ballotpedia, the governor is facing five independent candidates, a member of his own party — Tom Collins — and 15 Republican candidates (yes, 15). The primary is surely going to be one to watch and is scheduled for June 14. If Sisolak survives the primary season, he'll face off once again on Election Day, November 8.