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Legislative elections to watch in the 2022 midterms

Here are some of the country’s most notable elections that could determine which direction the legislative branch will sway in this year’s midterms

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, speaks during a campaign stop.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, speaks during a campaign stop in Erie, Pa., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

David Dermer, Associated Press

The 2022 midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Although it may be too soon to call the race, analysts at Politico predict that the House will lean Republican in the upcoming election, but the Senate will be a toss-up.

That being said, here are some key races that will determine what the U.S. legislative branch will look like for the next session.

House

Alaska: Putting into practice its new ranked-choice voting system this year, Alaska’s primary elections were notable. In a historic turn, Democrat Mary Peltola beat two Republicans, vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, a local businessman. Even though ranked-choice voting was newly implemented this year, Reuters states that Peltola still would have won with the traditional voting method, given that she received the most votes.

However, the August election was only for a temporary seat. The three politicians will face off again in November to determine who will take on the permanent House seat.

Kansas: In Kansas’s 3rd District, there will be a rematch between Democrat Sharice Davids and Amanda Adkins, a Republican. In 2020, Davids defeated Adkins by only 10 percentage points, according to Ballotpedia. The closeness of the last polls, coupled with a redistricting move that changed Adkins’ previous Kansas City suburb district to take in more Republican-leaning rural areas, will make for an interesting election this year, according to Reuters.

New Hampshire: Democrat Chris Pappas is running for his second term in the U.S. House in New Hampshire’s 1st District, but this year he is challenged by Republican Karoline Leavitt — who, if elected, will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, according to Insider.

At only 25 years old, Leavitt is the second member of Gen Z to win a congressional primary this year. She is a former White House staff member of former President Donald Trump, working as a presidential writer and assistant press secretary.

Maine: Another rematch is taking place in Maine’s 2nd District this year. Democrat Rep. Jared Golden barely won his seat against Republican Bruce Poliquin in 2018, according to The Associated Press. The two will compete again for the seat this year, and like Alaska, Maine uses ranked-choice voting, which could produce unforeseen results.

Also running for the seat is independent Tiffany Bond. In Maine, independent candidates usually don’t hold office, but the ranked-choice voting could potentially swing things in another direction.

Senate

Georgia: Georgia’s Senate race will no doubt be on the radar for many Americans — Republican Herschel Walker, who built part of his campaign on being pro-life, has dealt with recent media reports for allegedly supporting the abortions of multiple women. Walker has denied the allegations. He has also gained popularity due to his football career and relationship with Trump, BBC reports.

Walker will run against Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Baptist preacher, and the state’s first black senator. Per Deseret News reporting, Warnock is currently leading unofficial polls with 51% of the vote, compared to 43% for Walker. This race is particularly notable because Georgia is likely a tipping point for whether the Senate leans red or blue, Madison Selcho for the Deseret News reported.

Pennsylvania: Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz’s position as a celebrity doctor has made his run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat one of the most highly watched races this year, according to CNBC. Pennsylvania’s primaries were a tight race, but the midterm race against Democrat John Fetterman will be even tighter.

Even though independent polls are currently putting Fetterman in the lead, Oz’s celebrity status, accompanied by millions of dollars in aid from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s PAC, will make this a tight race. CNBC reports that in recent weeks, the gap between the candidates has begun to close.

Arizona: Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, is another unique personality taking on the political sector this year. Kelly will be facing Republican Blake Masters, who has openly denied the results of the 2020 presidential election, per BBC.

Although earlier polls from CNN had placed Kelly ahead of Masters, on Thursday, Politico changed its predictions for the race from “Democratic-leaning” to “toss-up,” hinting at the closure of the gap. However, CNN still predicts that Kelly is slightly leading the race.