There could be signs relatively early on Tuesday night that reveal which way the 2022 midterm elections are going, according to analysts at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“While most results will not come in until late Tuesday, there are enough competitive contests in the Eastern and Central time zones that help give us a pretty good sense of whether this is a red wave or more of a red ripple type of election,” they wrote in a note.
In the fight for control of the U.S. Senate, Cook analysts recommend keeping an eye on the races in North Carolina and Ohio, noting that polls close in those battleground states at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. North Carolina’s Senate contest features Democrat Cheri Beasley against Republican Ted Budd, while Ohio’s has Democrat Tim Ryan running against Republican J.D. Vance.
“The Republican candidate is slightly favored to win in both states. If Democrat Cheri Beasley (NC) or Tim Ryan (OH) are declared the winner, that suggests that not only will Democrats hold their tenuous Senate majority but will likely expand it,” the Cook Political Report team said.
The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Democrats in control because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes.
The Senate race in New Hampshire, where polls close at 7 p.m., is also worth watching, according to the CPR analysts. It features Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan vs. GOP challenger Don Bolduc.
“If Hassan loses, that’s an indication of a red wave that will win Republicans the majority in the Senate by up to four seats,” the analysts said.
In the battle for the U.S. House of Representatives, the analysts suggest paying attention to the race for Indiana’s First Congressional District.
“Indiana’s 1st, which includes Gary and Hammond, is a blue-collar, traditionally Democratic seat. If Republicans flip this seat, they’re well on their way to a gain of 20+ seats,” the analysts wrote.
MarketWatch ran a feature story in August on that House contest, which pits first-term Rep. Frank Mrvan, a Democrat, against Republican challenger Jennifer-Ruth Green.
Polls close for that northwest Indiana race at 7 p.m. Eastern; the congressional district is located in the Central time zone, while most of the rest of the state is on Eastern time.
The CPR team notes that polls also close at 7 p.m. Eastern in Virginia. That state has two bellwether House contests — one between Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and GOP challenger Yesli Vega, and the other between Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans.
Betting market Predictit currently gives Republicans about a 90% chance of winning the House and more than a 70% chance of taking control of the Senate.
The chart below shows the nine Senate races that CPR currently views as competitive, meaning they’re either rated as toss-ups or as leaning toward one party.