The midterms are officially less than one week away, and the candidates are making their final push to secure votes. The high-stakes election has both chambers of Congress and several governorship up for grabs. Here is a snapshot of what is happening around the country heading into the election on November 8.
Early Voting Numbers Update
Over 21.4 million ballots have already been cast across 46 states, according to the latest data dump from Edison Research and Catalist. This figure is outpacing 2018 at this point in the election cycle. Experts caution that it is still too early to tell if the 2022 turnout will trump the historic turnout of 2018.Read More »
The state of Wisconsin is reporting a nearly 50% increase in absentee ballots that have already been returned compared to the same timeframe prior to the 2018 midterms. This is particularly significant because 2018 was a record-breaking year for total voters during a midterm election. However, some experts hypothesize that the higher numbers of absentee ballots may not translate to an overall increase in voters. The COVID-19 pandemic and the shift toward mail-in balloting has changed many voting preferences over the last few years.
First lady Jill Biden is one voter who already cast her ballot. She cast her vote Tuesday afternoon at the Shipyard Shops poll in Wilmington, Delaware. This is the same spot that President Joe Biden cast his ballot over the weekend.
Biden and Obama Hit the Road
Both President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama have been hitting the campaign road in recent days in an effort to drum up support for the Democratic Party. Biden spoke at a rally featuring Florida Democrats in Miami Gardens on Tuesday evening. The rally was in support of senatorial candidate Val Demings as well as the Sunshine State’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
As usual, Florida is expected to remain a battleground state for this election cycle. Although both Crist and Demings are behind in the polls, Biden is looking to use this time to advance the Democratic Party and paint the GOP as the extreme choice.
While Biden was speaking in Florida, Obama appeared at a rally for Democrats in Las Vegas in support of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, currently locked in a tight race with Republican candidate Adam Laxalt. Obama will also speak in favor of incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak in addition to Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and secretary of state candidate Cisco Aguilar.
Although Obama has primarily stayed out of the spotlight over the last six years, he is stepping up his campaign schedule in recent days. In addition to Tuesday’s visit to Nevada, the former president has also visited rallies in Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin. In Milwaukee, Obama endorsed incumbent candidate Gov. Tony Evers and Senate candidate Mandela Barnes. While in Detroit, Obama campaigned for incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The former president will travel to Arizona on Wednesday to stump for the Democrats at a speech at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix. Obama is endorsing incumbent Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and Democratic governor nominee Katie Hobbs.
The low approval ratings currently plaguing Biden have made Obama the top ticket for Democratic candidates hoping to secure the votes to put them over the top.
Trump and Pence Also on Campaign Trail
Obama is not the only former president diving into the election. Former President Donald Trump has also been busy on the campaign trail, speaking in support of a number of GOP candidates. Trump has already been to Nevada twice to lift up Laxalt and to endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo.
In addition to the appearances in Nevada, Trump has also campaigned for his party in Arizona and Texas. Up next, the former president will travel to Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Former Vice President Mike Pence appeared alongside Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday in two events about an hour from downtown Atlanta. Kemp is batting it out with Stacey Abrams to keep hold of the governorship.
Pennsylvania Candidates for Senate Launch New Ads in Final Week
One of the most contested Senate races is happening in Pennsylvania as Democratic nominee John Fetterman is teeing up against Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. Both campaigns launched new advertising designed to reiterate their closing arguments heading into the final week of battle.
The commonwealth’s U.S. Senate race is already distinguished as being the most expensive contest in this year’s election, totaling over $150 million in advertising spending since the beginning of September. Democrats have funneled nearly $86 million into the campaign with Republicans spending about $65.7 million.
The messaging of the final ads is clear. Fetterman is seeking to play up his deep Pennsylvania roots while painting Oz as not being in touch with the voters of the state. The new ad accuses Oz of moving to Pennsylvania solely to run for office.
Conversely, Oz’s new ads focus on his moderate policies, criticizing the left for what he has routinely referred to as extremist views. Oz is also promising to cut taxes and build up Social Security, leveraging the importance of the economy in this critical election.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that there is much at stake over the next week, forcing candidates to call on the heavyweights such as Biden, Obama, and Trump while ratcheting up their spending. All three of these party leaders will be in Pennsylvania on Saturday, signaling that each group believes that the Keystone State will be key in the election.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. 35 U.S. Senate seats also hang in the balance along with 36 governorship. The Democrats are hoping to hold on to their majorities in the House and Senate, however, many polls show both chambers within reach of the Republicans.
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