Control of the U.S. Senate could depend on results in a handful of states from next week’s midterm election.
If the Republican Party can hold onto the seats they have and flip just one Senate seat, they will win control of the chamber, meaning the party will control judicial and other nominations and policy debates through 2024.
So where are the battles for that one seat likely to take place? Here is a look at which races you should be watching.
Georgia: Herschel Walker (R) vs. Raphael Warnock (D)
Raphael Warnock, who was elected in 2020 in a special election to finish out the term of Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired because of ill health, faces off with Herschel Walker, a former football star at the University of Georgia, who is new to politics. It was Warnock’s victory in the 2020 election that helped to swing control of the Senate to Democrats — something that could happen again this year.
According to a poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the University of Georgia, the race is a dead heat less than a week before the election.
Voters got a look at how Democratic leadership saw the race last week when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, was caught on a hot mic on an airport tarmac last week telling President Joe Biden that Democrats are “going downhill” in Georgia. Biden had been on a campaign trip in New York.
“The state where we’re going downhill is Georgia,” Schumer told Biden. “It’s hard to believe that they will go for Herschel Walker.”
Walker, 60, has seen his own troubles in the race. Two women have come forward to say he pressured them and paid for them to have abortions after they became pregnant with Walker’s children.
Neither woman publicly identified themselves. Walker has called both reports “flat-out lies.”
In Georgia, a candidate must get more than 50% of the vote to win the Senate seat. If neither of the men — or a third-party candidate who is in the race — get to that number, a run-off will be held in December.
Ohio: Tim Ryan (D) vs. J.D. Vance (R)
In a Fox News Channel town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Ryan went after Vance and those who support Former President Donald Trump and the MAGA political movement for their “extremism.”
Ryan said such behavior may be encouraging violence across the country, like the attack last week on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
Vance was once a critic of Trump, but has since changed his mind about him and has asked trump for his support.
During the town hall, Vance said one of the major issues that the country faces is the flow of immigrants over the southern border. He claimed Ryan is soft on border security. He also pointed out the difference between he and Ryan on the issue of abortion.
Vance said he is pro-life, while Ryan said the decision about an abortion should be up to the woman.
Both candidates also spoke to WHIO where each shared what actions they would take to address inflation and how they would help support Wright-Patterson Air Force Base if elected.
Arizona: Mark Kelly (D) vs. Blake Masters (R)
Blake Masters calls himself an “American First conservative” who is a Trump supporter, a Big Tech critic and a fan of the creation of a federal Bitcoin reserve.
Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, was appointed to the Senate seat once held by Sen. John McCain who died of brain cancer in 2018. Kelly is the husband of Gabby Giffords, a former member of the US House who was nearly killed in a shooting in 2011.
Kelly says he supports increased domestic oil production and legislation that would reinstate Roe v. Wade.
Masters, a venture capitalist who worked for tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel and ran his nonprofit foundation, has claimed that Arizona needs someone other than Kelly who he says is soft on immigration, something Kelly denies.
Masters supports a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and is against what he calls Big Tech censorship against conservatives on their platforms.
As the election nears, Masters has been cutting into Kelly’s lead in the state, where, as of Wednesday, Kelly was up by 3 points in a Siena College/New York Times poll, and up by 1 point in a Fox News poll.
Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (D) vs. Mehmet Oz (R)
The contest for Senate in Pennsylvania has gotten more attention than it may have in any other year.
John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, had a stroke in May, days before the Democratic primary. He won the primary and that set him up to face a TV celebrity, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon and was the host of a daytime TV show.
The two had a debate last week, and Fetterman struggled at times to find words and to give reasons behind his policies.
During the debate, Fetterman reversed an earlier decision in which he said he did not support fracking — or the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rock to fracture it and extract oil or gas — but could not explain why he did so.
Fetterman says he supports codifying abortion protections. Oz said the decision for an abortion is between “women, doctors, local political leaders — letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive — to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves.”
Wisconsin: Mandela Barnes (D) vs. Ron Johnson (R)
Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, is looking to become the state’s first Black senator. Johnson, the incumbent, is looking to hold on to his seat in a state that Biden won in 2020.
The two men have gone after each other on the campaign trail with Barnes saying Johnson has “lied to our faces for 12 straight years,” and Johnson saying that “These people (Democrats) are fundamentally destroying this country. They have to be stopped. They need to be defeated. They need a real shellacking.”
The two debated earlier this month, with each suggesting that the other one did not know how to get the country on a better economic path.
Johnson said Barnes “never signed the front of a paycheck. He doesn’t have a clue how to create jobs, he certainly doesn’t have a clue how the economy works and how you run a business.”
Barnes said, “The biggest achievement in business was Ron Johnson saying ‘I do.’ He married into his business. He didn’t start that from the ground up.”
Nevada: Adam Laxalt (R) vs. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)
Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, is running against Adam Laxalt, the son and grandson of U.S. senators.
Masto, the first Latina senator in the country’s history, is facing a state economy that was hit hard by the pandemic, and where nearly half of Nevada’s voters rate it as “poor.”
While Laxalt has put forth plans to help the state economy, he also says he sees immigration as a major issue for Nevada and he has pledged to finish the wall along the country’s southern border to help stem illegal immigration.
Cortez Masto says she stands with the Dreamers, or people who illegally entered the United States before the age of 16 but have continuously lived in the country for at least five years, have graduated from a United States high school or obtained a GED in the U.S. and who qualify for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
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