Democrats’ odds of holding Senate in 2022 slip after Tuesday’s losses

A prominent political analyst on Wednesday said three 2022 Senate races where Democrats had held advantages are now considered “toss-ups” after Tuesday’s setbacks for the party in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere.

“Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” a respected political newsletter put out by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, downgraded its assessment of the reelection races of Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up.”

In addition, the analysts reassessed the chances of Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat, from “safe” to “likely.”

A Republican victory in any one of the races would give them control of the evenly-divided but Democrat-controlled Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris has the deciding vote in case of ties.

The newsletter reassessed 2022 after Republican Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s election against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Republicans also took control of the Virginia House of Delegates.

“The result helps confirm a poor environment for Democrats, which if replicated next November could help the Republicans win back the House and the Senate,” the newsletter said.

The analysis noted that next November’s midterms are still a year away.

“There are plenty of things that might change. Biden could find ways to improve his approval rating. Some of the problems that appear to be hurting Democrats right now — gas prices, inflation, supply-chain problems, D.C. infighting, COVID-19, and more — could subside over the next year,” according to the newsletter’s analysis. A Supreme Court decision gutting Roe v. Wade could make abortion a major issue rallying Democratic voters.

But the newsletter added that “If Biden’s approval rating is in the low-to-mid 40s next year, as it is now, everything we know about political trends and history suggests that the Democrats’ tiny majorities in the House and Senate are at major risk of becoming minorities.”