5 Key Races To Watch for the House

Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2022
by AMAC, Bob Carlstrom

Headed into election day, there is a lot of talk about polling and which party will control Congress next year. Projections from Democrat and Republican pollsters alike are showing a rightward shift among the electorate, particularly among late-breaking independents who appear to be driving the shift. House Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been zigzagging the country, raising funds, and trying to get out the vote for Republicans as he eyes the Speaker’s gavel. Republicans have boasted about 2022 being a ‘red wave’ year and the GOP picking up upwards of 40 seats. Democrats, meanwhile, have maintained a fundraising edge and even led the generic Congressional ballot up until a few weeks ago. With Democrats currently holding a 3-seat majority in the House of Representatives, here are the top five races to watch that could determine control of the House.

California’s 22nd Congressional District

Incumbent Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) is one of two Members of Congress who voted to impeach President Donald Trump and is running for re-election in November, the other eight lost their re-election bids or retired. Valadao will face State Assembly Member Rudy Salas (D-CA) for the central valley district that Joe Biden won by 10 points.

The seat has switched hands between Democrats and Republicans, as Valadao was first elected in 2012, was unseated in 2018, and won a rare comeback bid in 2020 a year when Democrats won control of Congress. Polling website FiveThirtyEight ranks the race as a ‘toss up’ with Valadao having a slight advantage.

Michigan’s 7th Congressional District

Similarly, incumbent Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) represents one of the few districts won by President Donald Trump and a House Democrat in 2020. The two-term Congresswoman and former CIA analyst faces State Senator Tom Barrett (R-MI), a member of the state’s national guard and avid critic of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D-MI) COVID-19 lockdowns and use of so-called emergency power. 

While polling shows the race neck and neck, going into the final stretch of the campaign Slotkin has $3.68 million more cash-on-hand than Barrett, according to mid-October campaign finance report filings. The race is rated as a ‘toss up’ by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District

In the Granite State, incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) is fighting for his life in a district that neither party has been able to control for more than two consecutive terms in the last two decades. Pappas is seeking to break that trend this cycle as he seeks his third term against Republican Karoline Leavitt, a 25-year-old Trump White House press shop alum. 

As election day nears, Pappas holds a slight money advantage with $1.61 million more cash-on-hand than Leavitt. Polls in the closing days indicate a 6-7 point shift toward the Republican from two weeks ago, 

Virginia’s 7th Congressional District

In what many are calling one of the few bellwether contests of election day, incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) will face Republican Yesli Vega, a law enforcement officer who is the daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. The northern Virginia district has a large and growing Hispanic population, which has been turned off from Democrats’ high-tax, high-crime, high-cost of living policies. While Republicans have significantly benefited from redistricting, the seat went for Joe Biden by seven points in 2020 and then backed Governor Glenn Youngkin by six points in 2021.

Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District

After serving in the House for 25 years, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WA) announced his retirement last year at the end of the term, giving us one of the few open race contests of the election cycle. Like Slotkin, Kind represents one of the few House districts represented by a Democrat in a district that Trump won in 2020. 

Considered one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities in the House this cycle, the race features a head-to-head between Democrat State Sen. Brad Pfaff and Derrick Van Orden (R), a retired Navy SEAL who lost to Kind in 2020. Cook Political Report rates the race as ‘Leans Republican’ while FiveThirtyEight gives Van Orden the advantage as well.

Election night watchers will be paying close attention to the New Hampshire and Virginia races as early indicators as to which party is headed toward victory. With fewer and fewer competitive districts at play, greater attention and resources naturally flow to those battlegrounds. The next Congress will likely give the controlling party more than the current three-seat majority, but it may not be too far off as things come down to the wire in what is shaping up to be one of the closest contests for control of Congress in U.S. history.

Many of our AMAC employees, including myself, will be serving as poll watchers all day today to help ensure things function as they should. Be sure to get to the polls and make your voice heard!

Bob Carlstrom is president at AMAC Action 

URL : https://amac.us/newsline/society/5-key-races-to-watch-for-the-house/