The Daily Brew: An early look at the 2022 Senate elections

Welcome to the Thursday, Feb. 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. An early look at the 2022 Senate elections
  2. Oklahoma school board primary results
  3. January state legislature count: 54% Republican, 45% Democrat

An early look at the 2022 Senate elections

Now that the 2020 election cycle is completed, we’re pivoting to take a look at the 2022 elections. Today, let’s dive into what we know about the 2022 U.S. Senate elections so far.

On Nov. 8, 2022, 34 U.S. Senate seats will be up for election. Heading into those elections, the Senate is tied 50-50 – Democrats control the majority owing to the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Of the 34 Senate seats up for election in 2022, Republicans currently hold 20 and Democrats hold 14. Four Republicans – Alabama’s Richard Shelby, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey – have announced they will not run for re-election.

Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden won: Pennsylvania (held by Sen. Pat Toomey) and Wisconsin (held by Sen. Ron Johnson).

Early race ratings

Outlets including The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball have released early race ratings. The outlets agreed in their ratings of 15 races as Safe/Solid Republican and 10 as Safe/Solid Democratic. The nine elections with more competitive ratings from two or more outlets are:

Toss-up or Democratic advantage



New Hampshire


Toss-up or Republican advantage


North Carolina




Seats that changed party hands

Four of the seats up for election in 2022 changed party hands the last time they were up for election. In 2020/2021, Democrats picked up Senate seats in special elections in Georgia and Arizona. In 2016, Democrats picked up Senate seats in Illinois and New Hampshire.

The last time these Senate seats were up for election, seven were won by a margin of fewer than 5 percentage points. They are listed below by margin. Of those seven seats, Democrats won four and Republicans won three.

  • Wisconsin: Ron Johnson (R) won by 3.4 percentage points in 2016.
  • Missouri: Roy Blunt (R) won by 2.8 percentage points in 2016.
  • Arizona: Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) by 2.4 percentage points in the 2020 special election.
  • Nevada: Catherine Cortez Masto (D) won by 2.4 percentage points in 2016.
  • Georgia: Raphael Warnock (D) defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) by 2.1 percentage points in the special runoff election last month.
  • Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (R) won by 1.5 percentage points in 2016.
  • New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan (D) defeated incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R) by 0.1 percentage point in 2016.

Read on

Oklahoma school board primary results

February means Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and school board primaries in Oklahoma. On Feb. 9, Oklahoma held its primary elections for school boards across the state. Ballotpedia covered elections for 35 seats across 27 of those boards. 

Below are some quick stats from the results. Oklahoma is one of 14 states that cancel primary elections when they are unopposed.

  • Seventeen elections (49%) were won outright by unopposed candidates.
  • In thirteen other races (37%), two candidates automatically advanced from the primary to the general election on April 6. 
  • The remaining five seats (14%) held primaries between three or more candidates. 

The 49% of elections won outright by unopposed candidates in 2021 was lower than in the last two years. That number was 18 (64%) in 2020 and 16 (53%) in 2019. 

Elections can be won outright in the primary if a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

Read on 

January state legislature count: 54% Republican, 45% Democrat

Last week, I mentioned our monthly count of the partisan breakdown in all 99 state legislative chambers. Let’s take a look at January’s report. 

Out of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States, 54.3% of all state legislators are Republicans and 44.9% are Democrats as of Jan. 31.

Before the 2020 general election, Republicans held a majority in 59 chambers and Democrats held a majority in 39 chambers, with Alaska’s House of Representatives organized under a power-sharing agreement. 

After the elections, Republicans control 61 chambers, and Democrats hold 37. Control of Alaska’s state House remains undetermined.

Nationally, there are 1,953 state senators and 5,366 state representatives. Democrats hold 864 state Senate seats and 2,448 state House seats. Republicans hold 4,007 total seats—1,089 in state Senates and 2,918 in state Houses. Independent or third-party legislators hold 36 seats: 31 state House seats and five state Senate seats. There are 28 vacant seats.

Read on