Yes, we’re already thinking about what the political map looks like in 2022.
And no, it’s not too early, because it’s well-known in politics that a surge in early fundraising can help ward off a primary or general election challenger for vulnerable incumbents. And that’s especially true for women.
In 2022, we’ll have at least eight women to defend in statewide races—and hopefully a ninth, depending on who Gov. Newsom appoints to Kamala’s Senate seat.
They are four Senators—Maggie Hassan (NH), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) and Patty Murray (WA)—and four governors—Laura Kelly (KS), Janet Mills (ME), Gretchen Whitmer (MI) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM).
On the Senate front, Hassan will be a top target of Republicans, having won her race in 2016 by only 1,000 votes. Popular GOP Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to run which would make NH one of the most competitive races in the cycle. And Masto, the first ever Latina elected to the Senate, will be defending her seat in NV, where the Democratic margin is razor thin. The other two states are more reliably Democratic, but early money still helps shape the race.
And among the sitting Governors, Whitmer’s high profile during the pandemic is likely to make Michigan a top battleground next cycle. And Kelly is especially vulnerable; Kansas went to Trump by 15 points this year, and we can’t count on midterm-momentum to propel candidates like it did in 2018.
In fact, a Democrat in the White House means midterm momentum will likely flip, giving Republicans the energy advantage.