This Early Virginia Race May Be a Bellwether

Fate of Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger is being closely watched
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2022 7:53 AM CST
This Early Virginia Race May Be a Bellwether
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., is fighting to keep her House seat.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

It could be days before a complete picture of the 2022 midterms emerges, but it might be possible to get a sense from early races about where things are headed—and specifically whether Democrats will be able to fend off an expected Republican wave. A handful of those potential bellwethers:

  • Spanberger: In the eyes of Axios, the "best early bellwether" is the Virginia race between Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and GOP challenger Yesli Vega. If Vega wins, it suggests the GOP might have a good night across the country, per the Hill. Polls close at 7pm Eastern, and Virginia tends to count results quickly.
  • Virginia trio: Two other Democratic Virginia congresswomen are fighting for their seats as well: Reps. Elaine Luria (a member of the Jan. 6 panel) and Jennifer Wexton. Those two, along with Spanberger, came to power in the "blue wave" of 2018. "If Republicans take back two or all three of these seats, their party will likely have a good night," per the New York Times. "If they take only one, the outcome could be close. And if Republicans lose all three, the polls might have overestimated them." The toss-up contests with Spanberger and Luria in particular "are as good a bellwether as anywhere," per the Washington Post.

  • New Hampshire Senate: The Senate race in New Hampshire is on the radar of the Times, too. Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is favored by 3.5 points over Republican Don Bolduc. If she wins by a bigger margin, it's a good sign for Democrats generally. If she loses, "the party is probably in trouble." All polls will be closed by 8 Eastern.
  • Michigan House seat: Axios is keeping an eye on the race between Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is in a tight race with GOP challenger Tom Barrett. "If Barrett defeats the two-term lawmaker, he'll be emblematic of the new MAGA-aligned Republican majority." Polls close at 8 local time (most counties are in the Eastern time zone, but a few are in Central.)
  • Red wave? If a "red wave" is coming, another race that might suggest so is the one between Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes and Republican George Lohan in Connecticut, per the Hill. The race is close in a district that President Biden won by nearly 11 points. “If we’re picking off a double-digit Biden seat with an incumbent—I think that says it’s a pretty significant night,” says Dan Conston of the Congressional Leadership Fund PAC. Polls close at 8 Eastern.
(Read more 2022 midterms stories.)

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