The Republican Party’s huge wins Tuesday in Virginia have shaken the national political landscape to such a degree that Georgia’s 2022 U.S. Senate race is now considered a toss-up.
That’s according to the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. In the Virginia governor’s race, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a longtime associate of both former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and a former Virginia governor himself.
Fellow Republicans Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares captured the lieutenant governor and attorney general posts, respectively. It also appears Republicans have taken the majority in the state House of Delegates, claiming at least 51 of the chamber’s 100 seats.
Democrats now hold a narrow majority in Virginia’s state Senate.
“Needless to say, this is a horrible result for Democrats, and for the White House,” writes the center’s Larry Sabato.
Now, Sabato is revising his nationally publicized Crystal Ball, and is now calling Georgia’s U.S. Senate race next year from Leans Democratic to Toss Up.
“Given the usual presidential party midterm drag, and the poor environment, our ratings are just too bullish on Democrats,” Sabato wrote.
Several Republicans are seeking the opportunity to face incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock next November – University of Georgia football legend (and first-time political candidate) Herschel Walker and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, along with Latham Saddler, Kelvin King, James Nestor and Jared Craig.
Walker is widely considered the frontrunner in terms of cash, name recognition and endorsements, including from former President Donald Trump and the top two Republicans in the U.S. Senate: Mitch McConnell from Kentucky and Missouri’s John Thune.
“While we have not been particularly impressed with Republican candidate recruiting in these races —Walker seems like a particularly risky choice in Georgia, assuming he wins the nomination — these moves are almost entirely about the environment,” Sabato wrote.
Sabato also has changed his projections from Leans Democratic to Toss Up in Arizona for Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and for Democratic Sen. C. Cotez Masto in Nevada. The Senate seat now held by Democrat Michael Bennet of Colorado is being changed from Safe Democratic to Leans Democratic.
“There were a lot of electoral questions that the Virginia gubernatorial race was well-positioned to help answer,” Sabato wrote. “Could Republicans make up ground in the suburbs with Donald Trump no longer in the White House? Would Republican voters turn out in force with Trump gone?
“Could Democrats fall even further in heavily white, rural/small town areas? Was the history that suggested holding the White House is a burden for the presidential party in Virginia still operative?
“Unfortunately for Democrats, and fortunately for Republicans, the answers to all of these questions were a resounding ‘yes.’ ”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.