The Early Outlook for 2022 House and Senate Races

ONLY IN WASHINGTON: It’s a long way till the Nov. 8, 2022 House and Senate elections, but parties are ramping up already because both chambers appear to be up for grabs. Our very early take is that Democrats are in danger of losing the House but may retain the Senate by a seat or two.

HISTORY SHOWS THAT REPUBLICANS have a reason for optimism; they just need a net gain of five seats to take the House. An incumbent president’s party has lost House seats in 19 of the last 21 midterm elections; in those 19 losing elections, the average loss has been 33 seats.

AND THERE’S ANOTHER OMINOUS FACTOR for Democrats — the messy process of reapportionment and redistricting that follows the census (which has been delayed this cycle). The Democrats could lose ten seats alone in this process, according to Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, who was quoted in yesterday’s Roll Call.

REPUBLICANS NEED ONLY A NET PICKUP of one seat to recapture the Senate, but there are some intriguing pickup possibilities for Democrats, who could win hotly contested seats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and perhaps even Ohio. By contrast, the Democrats may have to worry about only two of their seats, in Georgia and Arizona.

THE KEY, AS USUAL, WILL BE THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY: We expect roaring GDP growth this year, but the 2022 outlook isn’t as clear. Rising interest rates and inflation could become a political headwind for the Democrats by then. If Covid is far in the rear view mirror in November of 2022, Biden’s popularity could soar.

FOR NOW, OUR BEST GUESS is that the Democrats will lose the House and barely hang on to the Senate, but much will change (including Donald Trump’s role). This uncertainty will motivate the Biden Administration to “go big” on legislation now, while they have the chance. More major spending bills are coming.

REUTERS IS REPORTING EARLY THIS MORNING that “at least” 10 rockets have hit an an Iraqi air base that houses U.S. and coalition forces. This may prompt another U.S. attack on Iranian proxies in the region.

WITH TEHRAN REJECTING TALKS with the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear program, a breakthrough seems unlikely for many more months, as the Biden Administration maintains a U.S. military presence in the region and perhaps considers sending more troops.

TRUMP LOYALISTS and the progressive left want to pull all the troops out, but that’s not going to happen, as Iran continues to enrich uranium and threatens U.S. allies in the region.

Related: Democrats’ Rift Widens on Key Issues, As GOP Doubles Down on Trump

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