Midterms: the five duels to watch for the Senate

Written November 6, 2022, 5:01 p.m

Ohio: the “hiccup” and the mad parliamentarian

JD Vance vs. Tim Ryan

Ohio voted Republican without fail in 2016 and 2020. However, James David Vance is one of the “weak” Republican candidates: selected thanks to the support of Donald Trump, but fragile in the face of the voters. This venture capitalist is one of the offspring of liberal billionaire Peter Thiel. New to the political scene, he made a name for himself by publishing memoirs entitled “Élégie du péquenaud”, brought to the screen by Netflix. His democratic rival Tim Ryan, on the contrary, is an experienced and curate parliamentarian, close to the people, who is able to stand out from Joe Biden in order to capture the right-wing voters, for example on weapons.

Georgia: the priest and the football player

Raphael Warnock vs. Herschel Walker

In January 2021, the election between Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia caused the Senate to side with the Democrats. A blow to Republicans, who feel at home in this southern state, where outgoing governor Brian Kemp is currently the big winner against Democrat Stacey Abrams. His re-election candidate, Raphael Warnock, incurred nearly $82 million in campaign spending, a record. This Baptist minister faces a former American football star, Herschel Walker. The Trumpist was an outspoken supporter of the hard line against abortion and pressured two of his ex-girlfriends to have an abortion. He was condemned by the stakeholders and by a son whom he neglected. He completely denied it and recalled in his defense that he had previously suffered from multiple personality disorder.

Nevada: The Latina and the Heiress

Catherine Cortez Masto vs. Adam Laxalt

Will the first Hispanic senator save her seat? Catherine Cortez Masto, elected for the first time in 2016, should again benefit from the votes of the Latino community, which weighs 20% of the electorate. Over the years, however, the pro-democracy tropism of Spanish-speaking voters disappears. In addition, the departing majority may be sanctioned: In Las Vegas, Covid has been bad for business and prices at the pump have increased. Heir to a dynasty of Nevada politicians, Adam Laxalt waves the Trumpist banner. The slim, friendly officer, trained in law by the Navy, served as a prosecutor in Iraq in 2005.

Pennsylvania: The Chosen One and the Outsider

Mehmet Oz vs. John Fetterman

To replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is not running, Pennsylvania voters have a choice between a TV host — Republican Mehmet Oz — and the state’s lieutenant governor, Democrat John Fetterman. If the latter was initially given the favourite, a heavy blow in the spring disrupted his campaign and handicapped him in his only televised duel against Mehmet Oz.

This giant (2.03 meters), social worker and Harvard graduate, mayor of a suburb of Pittsburgh for thirteen years and almost always in a hoodie, could be weakened by the increase in violence in Philadelphia. In a state where deindustrialization has tipped workers toward the Republican vote, suburbanites are likely to be the arbiters of the vote. Accused of not living in the state, but supported by Donald Trump, “Doctor Oz” – a former cardiologist – has worked to make himself more credible in the eyes of voters with a conservative profile on values.

Arizona: The Astronaut vs. The Financier

Blake Masters vs. Mark Kelly

Along with JD Vance in Ohio, Blake Masters is the second “baby Thiel,” a political novice funded by his former boss and backed by Donald Trump. The angular 30-year-old has waged an aggressive campaign centered around illegal immigration and the Fentanyl trade at the gateway to this state, which borders Mexico.

Facing Blake Masters, Mark Kelly had started his campaign with quiet assurance. Elected to Republican John McCain’s seat two years ago after his death, this former Navy pilot and NASA astronaut, like his predecessor, has a solid reputation with moderate voters. He is the husband of former representative Gabby Giffords, seriously injured after an assassination attempt in 2011. Long trailing Mark Kelly, Blake Masters has come back up the slope in recent weeks and has particularly benefited from the momentum surrounding Kari Lake, media candidate for state governor . Libertarian candidate Marc Victor just called for an endorsement of Blake Masters, which could help him close the gap on the Democrat.

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