Is it already election season again? For the politically minded, we’re already gearing up to go full-steam ahead in the 2022 midterm elections, when 34 senate seats are up for election. That includes, as of the writing of this article, 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats. If any Senators retire, die or otherwise step down from their position in the next year, there could be another special election to add to those 34 races in 2022. 

Republicans could win back control of the senate, or they could become even more of a minority. Currently, the Senate is 50-50 across the political aisle, and with Biden and Harris in the White House, Democrats have the 51st vote they need to break ties should they occur. Thus, Chuck Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader, and McConnell the Senate Minority Leader. 

Two senators who won special elections in 2020 will have to compete for a full six year term in 2022: Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia. 

Four incumbent Republican Senators have announced they are retiring–Richard Shelby of Alabama, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Richard Burr of North Carolina. Several of those seats will likely be hot races to watch. 

Here are the 2022 Senate races on the docket. At the end, we’ll discuss ways to get involved! 

The Races

Alabama: Richard Shelby (Retiring)

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has announced he will not be seeking re-election. Alabama, being a pretty red state, does not expect the seat to flip, especially since Republicans flipped the other Senate seat in the state in 2020. 

Alaska: Lisa Murkowski

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was famously elected in a write-in campaign, is seeking re-election. Due to her vote in the impeachment trial, many expect her to face a primary challenge, but the seat is likely to stay in the hands of Republicans. 

Arizona: Mark Kelly

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly just won his Senate seat, and now he’ll have to defend it. Don’t expect Arizona Republicans to give up easily–several state legislators are considered potential candidates to compete against Kelly, and this race will be tightly watched since it was so pivotal in the 2020 election cycle. 

Arkansas: John Boozman

Boozman, a Republican, is seeking a third term, and there’s every indication–based on Arkansas politics–that he’ll be successful. 

California: Alex Padilla

Democrat Alex Padilla was appointed to fill the California senate seat vacated by Kamala Harris when she became vice-president. Since he was an elected official in the state beforehand, his support is expected to result in an easy election. 

Colorado: Michael Bennett

Colorado Democrat Michelle Bennett is running for a third term in 2022. The state has recently seen a flip in the other Senate seat, so it will be interesting to watch how it shakes out. Bennett did not receive more than 50% of the vote in his last race, but there is not yet a clear frontrunner for the Republican party. 

Connecticut: Richard Blumenthal

Democrat Sen. Blumenthal is expected to easily win a third term in the consistently blue state. Richard Hyde, a businessman and veteran, is expected to be his challenger. 

Florida: Marco Rubio

Former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, a Republican, is seeking a third term in 2022. Florida, always a state that garners lots of political attention, will likely see many challengers from the other side of the aisle. Former President Donald Trump also calls Florida home now. Will he get involved? 

Georgia: Raphael Warnock

Warnock won his seat through a special race in 2020 that resulted in a January 2021 run-off, where he defeated appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler, who was finishing the term of Johnny Isaakson. Now, he must compete for a full six-year term. Don’t expect Georgia to let us down this time–it’ll likely be another battleground state with lots of boots on the ground on both sides. It’s possible that either Loeffler or Perdue, who also lost his special election in Georgia, could run as Republicans for the seat. 

Hawaii: Brian Schatz

Everyone forgets about Hawaii, don’t they? That will likely benefit Brian Schatz, who is seeking a second full-term. Hawaii is pretty blue these days, and he’ll likely win easily, though campaigning against him could be a lovely chance to see the islands. 

Idaho: Mike Crapo

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo is seeking another six year–and knowing Idaho, he’ll win it easily. It’s a very solidly red state. 

Illinois: Tammy Duckworth

In recent years, Tammy Duckworth has gained more and more popularity in the Democratic party, as well as more media coverage. She is seeking a second term, and will likely be successful in that pursuit, though Illinois Republicans will likely run a state legislator or former legislator against her. 

Indiana: Todd Young

Republican Todd Young is seeking a second term. While Indiana does lean red, he will likely see a few in-state challenges from thought-leaders and former legislators. Ultimately, the seat is expected to stay red. 

Iowa: Chuck Grassley

Iowa, oh Iowa. In presidential years, all eyes are on Iowa, but trust me when I assure you that Chuck Grassley is not going anywhere anytime soon, if he can help it. It would be his 8th term though–so if he does retire, expect a hand-picked successor to be named immediately. The seat won’t flip, but if Grassley retires, the Senate leadership will look very different!

Kansas: Jerry Moran

Republican Jerry Moran is seeking re-election, but rumors are swirling that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might primary him. Can you imagine–from the House to the CIA and then to the Senate? While this seat is expected to stay red, it will be interesting to see if such a high-level Trump cabinet member decides to re-integrate themselves in the Senate. 

Kentucky: Rand Paul

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell easily won his 2020 re-election campaign, and now his liberty-loving colleague, Rand Paul, is expected to do the same. Kentucky has a few “perennial candidates” on the left–including Amy McGrath–who may challenge him. Charles Booker, who also challenged McConnell in 2020, might run against Paul or whichever Republican candidate emerges should Paul retire. 

Louisiana: John Kennedy

Democrats would struggle with flipping John Kennedy’s Republican seat based on current pollings, but he may be challenged by the current governor, who will not be allowed to run for another term after he leaves office in early 2023. 

Maryland: Chris Van Hollen

Maryland’s Senators are mostly under the radar these days–Chris Van Hollen especially. He is a one-term Democrat, and will seek re-election, but there’s not much else on the table. No clear challenger has arisen, and the polls consider the seat strongly Democrat. 

Missouri: Roy Blunt

Republican Roy Blunt is seeking a third term in the solidly red state. If he does face a primary challenge, it will likely come from former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens who had to resign from office pending charges, but was never ultimately convicted of anything. The seat is expected to stay red, but Greitens running in the primary would be an interesting test of party loyalty in the state. 

Nevada: Catherine Cortez Masto

One-term Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is seeking a second-term, and expected to win it slightly. The state isn’t completely blue, but it does lean that way now. No formal challenger has emerged from the right as of yet. 

New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan

Democrat Maggie Hassen is seeking a term. Her first election was contentious, and while she’s favored for this race, she will face challengers! It’s possible her old opponent–Kelly Ayotte–will try to get her old seat back, but there will likely be new faces too. 

New York: Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is up for election, and don’t get your hopes up about him going anywhere. Without a doubt, some up and comer Republican will challenge him, raise a lot of money, and ultimately lose by twenty points. If he does face a serious primary challenge, expect it to get dirty quick. 

North Carolina: Richard Burr (Retiring)

North Carolina Republican Richard Burr announced that he would not seek re-election in 2022, so his seat will be an open race. North Carolina has been an interesting state to watch electorally recently, and this will likely be a battleground state to keep an eye on. Lots of people–legislators, businesspeople, etc–will throw their hats in the ring, so keep an eye out for the candidates that align with your values, and who the party throws their support behind. Lara Trump has also, post-2nd impeachment, been floated as a potential candidate.  

North Dakota: John Hoeven

Very few people worry about North Dakota politics, outside of North Dakota, and 2022 will be no different. Republican John Hoeven is seeking a third term, which he will likely win as handily as he won his second term. 

Ohio: Rob Portman (Retiring)

Republican Rob Portman has announced that he is retiring, so eyes will be on Ohio in 2022 as both parties compete for that seat. There are likely to be several candidates on both sides–so there will be lots of campaign opportunities, though the state does lean slightly red in recent rolls polls. 

Oklahoma: James Lankford

Republican James Lankford is seeking a second full-term. He was appointed to fill the seat initially after the retirement of Tom Coburn. No challengers have emerged yet, and the seat is considered a solid keep for the Republicans. 

Oregon: Ron Wyden

Democrat Ron Wyden is seeking a fifth term. Oregon, not known for being very red these days, is not expected to flip. A few Republican candidates have expressed interest, but none of them are expected to get much traction nationally. 

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (Retiring)

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring after two terms. Like in North Carolina, there will be a rush of candidates for this seat, from both sides of the aisle. Some former high-level legislators in Pennsylvania have already expressed interest, and it will definitely be a tossup state with so many wheels in motion. 

South Carolina: Tim Scott

There are a few Senators who have expressed support in term limits–and in following those themselves. Tim Scott is one of them. All signs point to him running for reelection in 2022, but expect that to be his last term, according to his previous statements. He will likely be challenged by one of the House members from the state, but the polls favor him at this time. 

South Dakota: John Thune

Another Dakota, another obvious outcome. The last time Thune ran for re-election, he got over 70% of the vote, and since he’s doing it again and the state’s politics haven’t changed much, don’t expect a different outcome. Thune may face a Republican primary challenger–maybe from a staunch Trump supporter–but there’s not a chance this seat flips this year. 

Utah: Mike Lee

In another instance of term limits, Mike Lee’s re-election decision is still pending, as of the writing of this article. Lee has expressed support for term limits, and served two full terms. If he chooses not to run, former Utah Governor and Ambassador Jon Huntsman will likely throw his hat in the ring. It’s a solid red state–and there are no well-known challengers from the left yet. 

Vermont: Patrick Leahy

Patrick Leahy is the current most-senior senator. He has served eight full terms, and is currently the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He has not announced a decision about his re-election plans, but he is 80. It wouldn’t be surprising if he chose to retire, and hand the seat off to a Democrat successor. A few Republicans have expressed potential interest or been named as potential candidates in challenging Leahy, including current Vermont Governor Phil Scott. 

Washington: Patty Murray

Democrat Patty Murray appears to be seeking a sixth term in the Senate, and the solidly blue state would gladly keep her. There’s not much going on in this race otherwise—the seat is expected to stay with Democrats. 

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson

Wisconsin is another interesting case of term-limits maybe coming into play. Ron Johnson, the incumbent Republican, initially said he would not seek a third term in 2022, but then he seemed to walk that back and leave it up in the air. Regardless, expect a strong push from Democrats to try and flip the seat. A handful of Democrats have expressed interest, and after the focus on Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election, it will be interesting to see if they can build some momentum. 

How To Get Involved

First things first, reach out to local political parties on the county or state level–they can help connect you to the best campaign opportunities, or more general opportunities to support Senate races rather than working on the campaign directly. 

Then, reach out to the campaign. Almost every campaign will have interns this cycle–offering chances to door knock, make phone calls from home, place literature, etc.

When you reach out to a party or campaign, I recommend highlighting, briefly, what sort of support you can provide. If you’re interested in remote work, specify that! If you’re interested in communications, say so.

If there is not a campaign that excites you in your area, you can reach out to other campaigns and states! Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona are likely going to be the “hot states” looking for Republican campaign volunteers this year, though there are always plentiful opportunities in states like Georgia and Ohio, especially based on recent years. 

You can also reach out to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for opportunities, or connect with local chapters of the College Republicans or Young Republicans. 

It’s also a great help to candidates for you to put their sign in their yard, help your family and neighbors register to vote, and help spread the word of their campaign. There’s so much you can do without leaving your home. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member