Seven early signs Democrats could have a better-than-expected night

La'Ron Singletary
La’Ron Singletary of Henrietta, N.Y., votes at Henrietta Town Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Henrietta, N.Y. Singletary, former Rochester Police Chief, is running as the Republican candidate for the 25th Congressional District against Democratic incumbent Rep. Joseph Morelle. (Tina MacIntyre-Yee/Democrat & Chronicle via AP) Tina MacIntyre-Yee/AP

Seven early signs Democrats could have a better-than-expected night

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Democrats are widely projected to suffer losses on Tuesday night, but the extent of the GOP pickup rests on a handful of competitive races.

The Republican Party is likely to take control of the House of Representatives and has a small chance of winning control of the Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight. However, even if the GOP takes control of both chambers, the Democrats may still win a few hotly contested races to prevent the other party from having too much control.

As votes are tabulated Tuesday night, here are seven competitive races that will offer early clues as to whether Democrats’ blue wall will be completely shattered.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman beats Dr. Oz. in Pennsylvania Senate race

Fetterman’s race for the Pennsylvania Senate with Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate, comes to a conclusion on Tuesday night. The race between the two has been incredibly tight in the weeks leading up to Tuesday, with Oz pulling ahead by just a hair at 47.2% compared to Fetterman’s 46.8%, according to RealClearPolitics.

However, if Fetterman wins on Tuesday, he’d net a new Democratic seat in the upper chamber and make a Republican majority in the Senate less likely. For the Republicans to take control, the party will need a net gain of one seat in the upper chamber.

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Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-IN) beats Jennifer Ruth-Green in Indiana’s 1st District

Incumbent Mrvan, who was first elected to the district in 2021, has been locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Ruth-Green. The Democrat has been consistently ahead of his opponent, which could very well push him over the finish line.

As of Tuesday, Mrvan was the winner in 91 out of 100 simulated races, according to FiveThirtyEight. Back in May, Mrvan led Ruth-Green with 47%, compared to Ruth-Green’s 40%.

The Republican Party needs a net gain of five seats if it wishes to gain control of the House, and while the party is likely to have a majority by the end of the evening, Mrvan’s victory would make the GOP’s majority smaller.

Hillary Scholten beats John Gibbs in Michigan’s 3rd District

Democrat Scholten is running against Republican Gibbs, who beat Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) earlier this year in the primary election. Meijer was one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

A victory for Scholten would turn a red seat blue, leading to a loss for the Republican Party in the House.

As of Tuesday, Scholten beat Gibbs in 59 simulated elections out of 100, according to FiveThirtyEight. The district has been listed as a toss-up, though President Joe Biden did win the district against then-President Donald Trump in 2020, according to RealClearPolitics.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers holds on to his seat against Tim Michels

Evers, who won the gubernatorial election in 2018 against Republican Scott Walker, has been in a competitive race with Republican Michels. While Michels has pulled slightly ahead of Evers in the last couple of weeks, the incumbent governor may yet still keep his seat, allowing him to continue to serve the state of Wisconsin for another four years.

In a poll from Marquette University released on Wednesday, Evers and Michels were tied, with both candidates at 48%. The poll was conducted from Oct. 24 through Nov. 1 among 802 registered voters in Wisconsin and had a margin of error of 4.6%.

Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX) beats GOP firebrand Mayra Flores in Texas’s 34th District

Flores, the Republican candidate for Texas’s 34th District, won an upset victory in a special election held earlier this year. She now faces off against incumbent Gonzalez, who was first elected to office in 2017 in the state’s 15th District but is running in the 34th District this year.

The district Gonzalez and Flores are competing in leans toward the Democrats, according to RealClearPolitics. Meanwhile, the race appears to be in a dead heat on Election Day, with Gonzalez winning only 48 of 100 simulated races, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) holds on to New Jersey’s 7th District in GOP-leaning seat

Malinowski was first elected to represent New Jersey’s 7th District in 2018 and is seeking another two years in a district that is leaning toward the Republican Party. He is running against Thomas Kean Jr., the Republican challenger.

Kean is leading the race against Malinowski, winning in 72 of the 100 simulated races on Tuesday, according to FiveThirtyEight. In July, Kean had an 8% lead of 46% compared to Malinowski’s 38%, according to RealClearPolitics.

Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) beating out Colin Schmitt for New York’s 18th District

Ryan is running for the 18th District in New York on Tuesday after narrowly winning a special election for New York’s 19th District by campaigning on abortion rights. He has now swapped over to the 18th District after redistricting within the state.

The Democratic candidate is competing against Schmitt, the Republican challenger, in Tuesday’s election. The 18th District has been listed as leaning toward the GOP by RealClearPolitics, though Ryan emerged as the victor in 71 of 100 simulated races, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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