8 Races to Watch as Ballots are Counted
It’s Election Day once again in the U.S. As millions of Americans head to the polls, here are eight races to watch throughout the day.
1. Michigan Governor Race: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vs. Tudor Dixon
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is facing Republican challenger Tudor Dixon in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.
“Inspired by her family, she’s devoted her life to public service, governed through unprecedented, colliding crises, and remains focused on working with anyone to get things done that will make a difference in people’s lives,” Whitmer’s campaign website says.
Some of Whitmer’s priorities include the “economy and jobs” as well as “access to safe and legal abortion” and “education,” according to her website.
“Governor Whitmer is focused on getting things done that will make a difference in people’s lives right now,” her campaign website said.
Dixon clinched the Republican nomination after defeating seven other candidates in the Aug. 2 primary. She previously worked in the state’s steel industry and for America’s Voice News as a news anchor, her Ballotpedia page says.
“An experienced businesswoman with countless miles walked across factory floors, Tudor immediately recognized the enormous damage Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdowns would have on the economy, especially for working-class families,” Dixon’s campaign website says.
Trump endorsed Dixon on July 29, calling her “a Conservative Warrior who built an impressive career in the steel industry while working with her fabulous father, who is now watching her proudly from above.”
President Joe Biden narrowly won Michigan in the 2020 election with 49.9% of the vote compared to then-President Donald Trump’s 48.6% of the vote, Fox News reported.
2. Pennsylvania Senate Race: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman vs. Dr. Mehmet Oz
“All across Pennsylvania, we’re seeing soaring prices, hollowed out communities, and families getting ripped off by corporate greed. I’ve got a five-point plan to fix our economy and hold Washington accountable,” Fetterman’s campaign website states.
Should Fetterman win, he plans to “make more stuff in America, cut taxes for working people, ban Congress from trading stocks, slash ‘out of pocket’ health care costs,” and “end immoral price gouging,” his website said.
Oz, a heart surgeon, hosted “The Dr. Oz Show” for 13 seasons before launching his senate bid in December 2021, the Hollywood Reporter reported.
“Dr. Oz seeks to rebuild the middle layers of society — institutions like family and community — that have been hollowed out by failed policies, narrow thinking, and toxic culture wars,” his campaign website said.
Trump endorsed Oz in April and Biden endorsed Fetterman in May. The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rated the senate race as a “toss up” while Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the race as leaning Republican.
3. New York Governor Race: Gov. Kathy Hochul vs. Rep. Lee Zeldin
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is pitted against Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., in Tuesday’s New York governor election.
Zeldin is a former New York state senator and Hochul assumed office on Aug. 24, 2021 after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned.
New York has not had a statewide Republican officeholder in over a decade, but polls showed a tight race leading up to the election.
Zeldin’s message to voters has been strongly centered on concerns over rising crime, the economy, and education.
“They want safe streets and safe subways, they want life in New York to be more affordable, they want to bring down energy costs. Maybe they oppose congestion pricing. Whatever that issue is, that we’re able to work together to move the state forward,” Zeldin said on Monday.
Hochul’s message focused on guns and abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court.
She initially dismissed heightened crime concerns as a “conspiracy” by right-wing “manipulators.”
“These are master manipulators. They have this conspiracy going all across America trying to convince people in Democratic states that they’re not as safe. Well guess what? They’re also not only election deniers, they’re data deniers,” Hochul said on MSNBC on Oct. 30.
However, she later clarified her position.
“I acknowledge there is a crime issue. It’s not new to me because it’s election time, I’ve been working on this throughout my entire time as governor,” she said on Nov. 3.
Hochul committed to supporting abortion in New York, which has some of the most lenient abortion laws in the country.
“What is on our shoulders as the women of today, because those women back then were so brave and so audacious, they went against the tides of their time,” Hochul said of abortion at a rally on Nov. 3, per Fox News. “They were ridiculed and spit upon and jailed because they had the audacity to say, we have rights, and we have a right to fight for them.”
Cook Political Report rated the race as a “likely” Democratic victory.
4. Georgia Governor Race: Gov. Brian Kemp vs. Stacey Abrams
In Georgia’s governor race, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is pitted against Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives.
The election is a rematch of the closely contested 2018 gubernatorial election.
Election security has been a focus of both campaigns following Georgia’s passage of an election law in 2021, which Kemp supported.
“We now have photo ID for all forms of voting. We’ve instituted photo ID,” Kemp said in an interview with CNN on Nov. 2. “And that really helps you identify with, you know, enhanced security and confidence in the process. And so we’re seeing that people really feel that we have safe, secure and honest elections. And look at the numbers. We’re having record turnout for early voting. People are seeing that the lines are [moving] quickly. We’re not seeing any major issues in any area.”
Abrams, who didn’t concede following the 2018 election, has been a strong critic of the election law, saying recently, per the Washington Examiner, that it has been used “to not only game the system, but to suppress voting in the state of Georgia.”
Georgia’s early voting numbers broke records for the state. However, Abrams said that was not evidence that voter suppression didn’t happen.
“While the polls are always going to tell the story you want to see, what we know is that the untold story is that this is a tight race, it is neck and neck, and we believe that we are on a path to victory if we can get all our voters turned out and if they can navigate the difficulties put in place by Brian Kemp and [Secretary of State] Brad Raffensperger.”
Cook Political Report listed the Georgia governor race as “leaning” Republican.
5. Georgia Senate Race: Sen. Raphael Warnock vs. Herschel Walker
Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and Republican Herschel Walker are squaring off in the Georgia Senate election. Warnock is the incumbent.
This election also focused strongly on election integrity and voting rights, but focused even more on both candidates’ fitness for office.
“This is a man who lies about the most basic facts of his life,” Warnock said of Walker at an event with former President Barack Obama. “And now he wants the rest of us … to somehow imagine now that he’s a United States senator. … Herschel Walker is not ready. He’s not ready. Not only is he not ready, he’s not fit.”
Walker responded by saying that Warnock isn’t fit for the job and nearly always sides with Biden on issues.
“He talked about I’m not ready. No, you’re not ready,” Walker answered Thursday. “Because you either voted with Joe Biden 96% of the time, or you had no clue what you were doing. You pick which one you want — no clue of what you’re doing or you voted with him 96% of the time which is headed in the wrong direction.”
Both parties have spent an enormous amount of money on this race.
“Republicans and Democrats have spent the equivalent of $30.83 on every one of the 7.8 million eligible voters in Georgia,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. “That comes to somewhere north of $241 million and counting.”
The Cook Political Report rated the election a “toss up.”
6. Florida Governor’s Race: How Big a Win?
Polling suggests that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis will win big over Democrat — and former Republican governor — Charlie Crist, perhaps even by double digits. The RealClearPolitics polling average has him beating Crist by 11.6 points. FiveThirtyEight shows a similar spread. The Cook Political Report rates the race “likely Republican.”
DeSantis famously reopened Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspiring a slew of attacks from the Left but welcoming a large influx of Americans coming from other states. His surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, did not shy away from bucking the narrative on pandemic restrictions, and he has spearheaded efforts to examine whether controversial transgender medical interventions for children actually help or harm kids long term.
DeSantis signed the parental rights in education law infamously branded by opponents as “The Don’t Say Gay Bill.” When Disney attacked the law, he responded by signing a bill revoking Disney World’s special status in what many conservatives saw as a key win against “woke capitalism.”
DeSantis is rumored to be mulling a presidential race in 2024, and a big win on Election Night might propel him into a strong position for the presidential race. While former President Trump has endorsed him for reelection, Trump has not campaigned with DeSantis, and Trump even branded DeSantis “DeSanctimonious” over the weekend. This suggests that Trump may see DeSantis as a rival.
7. Ohio Senate Race: J.D. Vance vs. Tim Ryan
Some of the issues Ryan campaigned on were “cutting workers in on the deal, rebuilding our country,” and “investing in affordable health care,” according to his campaign website.
“In the Senate, Tim will fight to raise wages, make healthcare more affordable, invest in education, rebuild our public infrastructure, and revitalize manufacturing so we can make things in Ohio again — and he’ll make sure we’re cutting workers in on the deal every step of the way,” Ryan’s campaign website said.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Reps. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, endorsed Ryan.
“JD was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio, a once flourishing American manufacturing town where Ohioans could live content, middle-class lives on single incomes. But over time, he witnessed the steady decline of his town. Jobs and economic opportunities slowly disappeared, leaving family, friends, and neighbors with nothing,” his campaign website states.
His campaign focused on issues like “spending and inflation” as well as “[advocating] for energy independence” and “[combating the] drug and opioid epidemic.”
“The U.S. Senate needs someone who knows what it’s like to live in a left-behind community, not a career politician who has done nothing for the people of Ohio,” his campaign website said.
The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections have rated the race as leaning Republican and Sabato’s Crystal Ball has it as a “safe R.” Trump won 53.3% of Ohio’s vote in the 2020 presidential election, CNN reported.
8. Arizona Governor Race: Kari Lake vs. Katie Hobbs
The Arizona gubernatorial race features Republican Kari Lake facing off against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Dobbs, a Democrat. The previous governor was Republican Doug Ducey, who will be leaving office due to term limits in the state.
Immigration has been one of the most significant issues during the campaign.
“I know that if you ask people in other states that are not border states, they name this issue as one of the biggest issues affecting our nation,” Lake said in an interview with said on CBS 5 Sunday. “We’re losing more people to fentanyl since Joe Biden took office than we did in 9/11.”
Hobbs, who declined to debate Lake, made “democracy” a central campaign theme.
Lake argued that election fraud skewed the 2020 elections.
“We know that democracy is at stake,” Hobbs said at a rally in Tucson days before the election.
“Democracy is going to send Kari Lake back to whatever dark corner of the internet she came from,” Hobbs continued.
In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Lake said she would accept the result of the election as long as it was “fair, honest, and transparent election.”
The Cook Political Report rated the election a “toss up.”
Copyright 2022 The Daily Signal