Five bellwether races that may signal a red wave incoming

Election 2022 New York Governor
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (WABC via AP) AP

Five bellwether races that may signal a red wave incoming

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While several races are virtually guaranteed wins for either party, a handful of contests could be the difference between a GOP- or Democratic-controlled Congress.

The House is projected to be a large sweep and victory for Republicans, while the Senate remains a toss-up. Republicans are poised to gain an edge when it comes to governorships. The Cook Political Report projects the GOP with a 28-22 advantage after Tuesday.

Below are five races predicted to be easy wins for Democrats on Tuesday, but if Republicans manage to secure a win in each of these races, it will signify a red wave spreading across the nation and show voter sentiment is on the side of the GOP.

New York governor race — Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) vs. Lee Zeldin (R)

New York polling times: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Cook Political Report rating: likely Democratic

2020 presidential, according to CPR: Biden +23.1

Lee Zeldin is challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul for control over the Empire State. Despite the expectation for this to be an easy Democratic win, Zeldin has closed the gap in several recent polls.

New York is a Democratic stronghold, with Democrats holding the governorship since 2006. Zeldin spent most of his campaign criticizing Hochul for her handling of soaring crime rates, elevated costs of living, and COVID-19 policies.

As Democrats began to see the gap between Hochul and Zeldin getting narrow, President Joe Biden and other party members, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have rallied to support Hochul. At Hochul’s campaign event on Sunday, Biden chastised Zeldin as one of 350 “election deniers” on the midterm elections ballot. The governor said if Democratic voters show up to support her, she will easily win.

Cook Political Report analysis shows that flipping New York would be a “massive shock” on election night.

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New Hampshire Senate race — Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) vs. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire polling times: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (varies by municipality)

Cook Political Report rating: lean Democratic

2020 presidential, according to CPR: Biden +7.3

New Hampshire is considered to be a battleground state to determine which party will take control of the Senate. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) was thrown into the spotlight as a vulnerable incumbent, facing Republican challenger Don Bolduc.

Bolduc has met challenges during his campaign, even coming under fire from GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, who called him a conspiracy theorist. Sununu was projected to be the Republicans’ pick against Hassan, but he declined, paving the way for Bolduc’s selection. However, the governor did say he would endorse Bolduc if he wins.

He has tightened the polling gap between himself and Hassan, with recent polls showing him within striking distance of flipping the seat. Democrats have poured over $3.3 million in New Hampshire alone as part of efforts to maintain control. Soaring energy costs and inflation have factored heavily into the state’s campaigns, with several voters telling the Washington Examiner that their power bills have more than doubled before winter has even set in.

Michigan House 8 race — Rep. Dan Kildee (D) vs. Paul Junge (R)

Michigan polling times: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cook Political Report rating: lean Democratic

2020 presidential, according to Daily Kos: Biden +2.1

Michigan’s newly drawn 8th Congressional District is a race that can solidify a GOP House majority.

Rep. Dan Kildee is facing Paul Junge in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Kildee, who holds Michigan’s 5th District, is a legacy candidate. His uncle held the seat before him. Collectively, they’ve represented their seat since 1976. Republicans have agreed that Kildee’s prominent name recognition remains strong. However, the newly drawn district brought in independent and Republican voters from Midland and Tuscola counties, putting Kildee’s typically blue district seat at risk.

Democratic outside groups have spent about $2.6 million so far on ads that painted Junge as a “millionaire carpetbagger.” The Republican is a former Lansing news anchor and criminal prosecutor, and also worked within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in President Donald Trump’s administration. Cook Political Report analysis shows the ads have increased negative perceptions of Junge.

THE 11 ‘TOSS-UP’ RACES THAT COULD DECIDE CONTROL OF THE HOUSE

Rhode Island House 2 race — Seth Magaziner (D) vs. Allan Fung (R)

Michigan polling times: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cook Political Report rating: toss-up

2020 presidential, according to Daily Kos: Biden +13.7

Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District has historically been a Democratic stronghold. It has been over three decades since a Republican has won the congressional seat, and in that time, the GOP has hardly run any competitive races there.

However, the retirement of current Rep. Jim Langevin has thrown the race up in the air, allowing GOP candidate Allan Fung the chance to stake his claim by appealing to voters’ concerns over inflation and rising energy prices. Several polls throughout the election cycle showed Fung held a slight lead against Democrat Seth Magaziner. If elected, he would be the first Asian American in Rhode Island’s congressional delegation.

Magaziner, who is attempting to preserve his seat’s Democratic history, has pegged Fung for his ties to the GOP, releasing ads to convince voters that Fung would essentially be a puppet for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), former President Donald Trump, and policies aimed at cutting Social Security and imposing stringent restrictions on abortion. Fung has contested these accusations.

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Virginia House 10 race — Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D) vs. Hung Cao (R)

Michigan polling times: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cook Political Report rating: likely Democratic

2020 presidential, according to Daily Kos: Biden +18.1

Education is featured prominently on the ballot for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, home to Loudoun County, a county known as the epicenter of a nationwide movement of parental activism.

Republican Hung Cao, a political newcomer, is seeking to unseat two-term incumbent and former prosecutor Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D) on Tuesday. Cao has followed in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s footsteps, centering his campaign on parental rights in education. He has received support from the governor as well as several other GOP party members that are hoping to flip the seat to red.

Wexton’s race against Cao is considered to be less competitive than races in Virginia’s 2nd and 7th districts. Political analysts have projected that a Republican “megawave” would be necessary to flip the seat. The outcome and margin in the 10th Congressional District race could indicate how successful Republicans are on Tuesday.

Cook Political Report analysis shows that, without a statewide race to draw out Democratic voters, it is possible Republicans could take control of the seat.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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