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Primary Date: May 3
The Republican Primary: J.D. Vance won a tense, expensive multi-candidate battle. All but one prospect (Matt Dolan) pledged fealty to Trump, but Vance — the venture capitalist, Hillbilly Elegy author, and populist favorite — won the ex-president’s endorsement and then the primary, edging out early front-runner Josh Mandel and late surging Dolan.
The Democratic Primary: Congressman and former 2020 presidential candidate Tim Ryan easiy won the Democratic nomination. He’s hoping the nasty GOP primary will help him overcome Ohio’s recent Republican trend.
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Primary Date: May 17
The Republican Primary: Senator Pat Toomey’s retirement sparked a highly competitive, multi-candidate GOP primary to succeed him. Trump upended the race when he endorsed Mehmet Oz. The TV doctor has been battling former hedge-fund executive David McCormick, with each man accusing the other of ideological heresy and affection for China. There are three other candidates (Jeff Bartos, Carla Sands, and Kathy Barnette) who have registered in the double digits in at least one poll, so it’s possible Oz and McCormick could damage each other enough to create an opening for a dark horse.
The Democrats: There are three Democratic primary candidates; polls show eccentric progressive Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman with a big lead over Congressman Conor Lamb and State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta.
The General Election: No matter who emerges from the primaries, this should be one of the most highly competitive 2022 races, as Pennsylvania narrowly went for Trump in 2016 and for Biden in 2020.
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Primary Date: May 17
The Republican Primary: Three major Republicans are competing for the seat of retiring GOP senator Richard Burr. The early front-runner was former governor Pat McCrory, but he has been eclipsed in the polls by three-term congressman and House Freedom Caucus member Ted Budd, who got an early endorsement from Trump. Former congressman Mark Walker is trailing badly. Budd has benefitted from massive ad spending, along with perceptions of McCrory as too moderate, and as a demonstrated loser.
The Democratic Primary: The Democratic field has been dominated by former state Supreme Court chief justice Cheri Beasley. She’s been a strong fundraiser, and has gained national visibility in her effort to become just the third Black woman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate.
The General Election: The race should be competitive, but since North Carolina leans slightly Republican, the GOP nominee is favored to win.
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Primary Date: May 24
The Republican Primary: The initial front-runner for the GOP nomination to succeed 86-year-old Senator Richard Shelby was Congressman Mo Brooks, who led the charge in Congress to execute Trump’s election coup. The former president endorsed Brooks only to drop him on absurd accusations of wokeness as he plunged in the polls. The primary is now a two-candidate race between Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff who later ran Alabama’s top business lobby, and Mike Durant, a wealthy businessman famed as a survivor of the Somalia firefight that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Durant surged in the polls after heavy ad spending from his own wallet, but Britt isn’t far behind. It’s unclear if Trump will make a second endorsement, and both candidates say they adore him. The key question is whether Brooks and several minor candidates will get enough votes to force Durant and Britt into a June 21 runoff.
The Democratic Primary: Democrats have all but conceded the Senate seat to Republicans, with perennial candidate and minister Will Boyd likely to win the nomination.
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Primary Date: May 24
The General Election: Less than two years after winning a special-election runoff to help Democrats flip two Georgia Senate seats and seize control of the chamber, Senator Raphael Warnock is running for a full term. He’s been raising money at an epic clip, and he’ll likely need it. The race will be one of the most-watched in the country given Georgia’s emergence as a national battleground state.
The Republican Primary: Warnock is likely to face Herschel Walker in November, if the Georgia football legend can avoid stumbling in the primary. The strongest of his five primary opponents is Gary Black, the state agriculture commissioner. He has gone after Walker for shady business dealings, allegedly making threats against his ex-wife, and his admitted history of mental illness. But “Herschel” is a living icon in the state, and with help from both Trump and Mitch McConnell, he’s raising a lot of money (though not as much as Warnock so far). Every public poll has shown him well over the 50 percent he needs to avoid a runoff.
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Primary Date: June 14
The General Election: Freshman senator Catherine Cortez Masto is one of this year’s most vulnerable Democratic senators. The general election should be a barn-burner, as Republicans have recently been chipping away at the advantage Democrats held when Harry Reid was their election strategist.
The Republican Primary: The Republican chosen by both Trump and state party leaders to take on Cortez Masto is former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, the grandson of legendary Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, and son of New Mexico senator Pete Domenici. Laxalt has been a loud booster of Trump’s election-fraud claims. His surprise challenger, severely injured Afghanistan veteran Sam Brown, is attacking Laxalt’s air of entitlement rather than his Trumpiness.
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Primary Date: June 28
The Republican Primary: Republicans are choosing between one Trumpy extremist (state legislator Ron Hanks, who won the state party convention) and a businessman running as a get-things-done pragmatist (Joe O’Dea, who got on the ballot by collecting signatures).
The General Election: Colorado is a fairly solid blue state, but Senator Michael Bennet, a failed presidential candidate who has never topped 50 percent in two prior elections, could be vulnerable. Bennet remains the favorite, but if the GOP wave is large, look out.
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Primary Date: June 28
The Republican Primary: Oklahoma voters get to choose two Senate nominees this year. The first is for the seat currently held by Republican James Lankford. His opponent, Evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, has been endorsed by an impressive array of the hardest-core MAGA extremists, including Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and Mike Lindell. Nevertheless, Lankford expected to win easily in both June and November.
The Special Election: The race to complete the term of Republican senator James Inhofe, who has announced he will step down next year, is dicier. The front-runner among 13 Republicans is probably Representative Markwayne Mullin, but the best known nationally is former Trump EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. With so large and varied a field it seems likely the nomination will go to an August 23 runoff (Oklahoma requires a majority for nominations). Democratic former congresswoman Kendra Horn is capable of giving Republicans a scare if their candidate stumbles.
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Primary Date: August 2
The Republican Primary: The GOP primary front-runner is state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the one candidate in the race who has been sharply criticized by Trump (for his lack of support for Maricopa County’s infamous 2020 election audit). Luckily for Brnovich, the MAGA vote has been splintered between self-funding businessman Jim Lamon, Thiel Capital executive Blake Masters, and former National Guard adjutant general Mick McGuire. Trump may be tempted to endorse one candidate to consolidate his supporters against Brnovich, who has performed better than his rivals in general-election polls.
The General Election: Freshman senator Mark Kelly is another Democratic incumbent who’s vulnerable because he’s running in a highly competitive state in a good year for Republicans. The astronaut-turned-senator has been quietly building a big fundraising haul while Republicans battle to see who will take him on.
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ReprPrimary Date: August 2
The Republican Primary: Eric Greitens, who was forced to resign as governor in 2018 thanks to a sex scandal and campaign-finance irregularities, is attempting a political comeback, campaigning as a MAGA outsider who has been victimized by corrupt politicians. Until recently he was leading a large field of conservative candidates, including state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Representative Vicky Hartzler, Trump favorite Billy Long, and lawyer Mark McCloskey. But then Greitens’s ex-wife accused him of physically abusing both her and their kids, causing him to lose some ground. A Trump endorsement could matter a lot.
The Democratic Primary: Trudy Busch Valentine, heir to the Busch beer fortune, is the likely nominee.
The General Election: The open Senate seat of retiring Republican Roy Blunt should be an easy win for the GOP in this rapidly red-trending state. But Greitens would be a white-knuckle proposition against the Democratic nominee.
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Primary Date: August 9
The Republican Primary: Two-term incumbent Senator Ron Johnson is a conspiracy theory-spouting conservative who seems perpetually in political trouble. But he has twice exceeded expectations in a state that has been trending conservative since 2010.
The Democratic Primary: Two Democrats appear to be ahead of the pack running to take on Johnson: Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry.
The General Election: Given Wisconsin’s degree of partisan polarization, the names of the candidates may not matter a lot, though Johnson has some demonstrable appeal to anti-government independents (if he can get them to vote). A lot of national money will come into the general election contest in this state.
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Primary Date: August 23
The Democratic Primary: In Representative Val Demings, Democrats have an unusually strong candidate to take on GOP senator Marco Rubio. Demings is raising a lot of money and seems well ahead of the large field of candidates.
The General Election: After 2020, the conventional wisdom held that Florida had tipped from purple to red thanks to Democratic losses among Hispanic voters and superior GOP campaign tactics. Demings may be the strongest possible Rubio opponent, but polls show the incumbent with a solid and steady lead in the high single digits. Given 2022’s pro-Republican dynamics, his seat should be safe.
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Primary Date: September 13
The Republican Primary: Popular New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu disappointed both state and national Republicans by opting not to run for the Senate. With Sununu out, Republicans do not have an impressive group of candidates. The front-runner is former Special Forces general Don Bolduc, a hard-core MAGA activist. His strongest rival on paper, former state senate president Chuck Morse, hasn’t really caught on yet. The filing deadline isn’t until June, so better-known Republicans could still enter the race.
The General Election: The best day of freshman Democratic senator Maggie Hassan’s reelection campaign was when Sununu said he wouldn’t run against her. Since then she’s been posting not very encouraging job-approval numbers, and President Biden seems to be very unpopular in the Granite State, despite having carried it handily in 2020.