What are the crucial races in the 2022 midterm elections? Robert Gehrke explains what to watch on election night.

No matter who you are, tracking election night results can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of information coming in at once and it’s hard to get a good read on what it all means.

So I’ve put together a kind of midterm election how-to guide to get you ready to watch Tuesday night’s results like a pro – or at least give you an idea of ​​the six most important things I’ll pay attention to after the closing of the polls.

As my colleague and data scientist Andy Larsen has documented, attendance was rather poor so far and it has been made worse, it seems, by the slow processing of ballots.

Some context is important here, however.

Midterm elections never see the turnout we see in presidential years. So don’t expect to see 90% turnout from 2020 or 82% in 2016. We shouldn’t even expect 76% midterm turnout in 2018 because, bear in mind Mind that there were three ballot initiatives — medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion, and independent redistricting — that drove people to the polls. Realistically, I would expect about 2/3 of voters to vote.

We are able to know who voted earlier. Early voters leaned older and more Republican than normal, but toward the end of last week the margins tightened as ballots from younger, more progressive voters began to appear.

It’s also worth remembering that – at least in the race for the top of the ticket, Sen. Mike Lee vs. Evan McMullin – a strong Republican turnout isn’t necessarily a death knell, since McMullin hopes to win up to a third of those GOP voters.

The Democrats will lose the United States House of Representatives. It’s been clear for a while and the only question is by how much. So we will focus on the US Senate.

Polls close in Georgia at 5 p.m. PDT, so I’ll be watching the early counts in the race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker. The polls have closed this race – which is a bit disconcerting, given Walker’s missteps, exaggerations, repeated lies and, oh yeah, allegedly having paid for several abortionsdespite his support for a near total ban on the procedure.

So I think that’s a litmus test for raw partisan turnout in a swing state. Pay special attention to suburban Atlanta. When the Democrats made the state blue two years ago, it was the high turnout in these “suburbs” that pushed them to the top.

Every race and every state is different, but if this one turns Walker’s way, it could be the first signs of a red tide, a flipped Senate seat and a big night for Republicans.

Polls close in Pennsylvania an hour after Georgia, and we’ll have early indicators of where the race stands between Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, a Democrat, and famed GOP doctor Mehmet Oz. Fetterman had created a small respite in this race, but he closed the section.

Look at the early numbers for Erie County on the northwest tip of the state, Luzerne County on the northeast end, and Northampton on the east coast. Those are considered as the “hub” counties in the state and will give us an early indication if the Democrats have a chance of flipping a Republican seat.

While you’re there, don’t ignore New Hampshirewhere incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan had appeared to be a comfortable favorite over Donald Bolduc, but recent polls show close competition – competition that, if the Democrats end up losing, would make a Republican-controlled Senate all but inevitable .

We’ll have our first issues just after 8 p.m. MT.

Obviously the first race I’m going to watch is the game between Mike Lee and Evan McMullin. I suspect McMullin will have to be a few points ahead in the first ballot dump if there’s a chance. Also pay attention to the percentage of this first batch coming from Salt Lake County. If it is more than 35%, the county is overrepresented in these early numbers and later results will tend towards Lee.

Then I will look at the numbers in the Salt Lake County Council race between Republican Richard Snelgrove and State Rep. Suzanne Harrison. Harrison, a Democrat, will need to be solid in Sandy and Draper and not blow himself up on the southwest end of the valley. The same general rule applies to the other two high-profile county races – the district attorney race between Sim Gill and Danielle Ahn and the clerk contest between Lannie Chapman and Goud Maragani.

After that, my attention will turn to one of the most fascinating races: Republican candidate writes Steve Handy against republican Trevor Lee. Running a print campaign in Utah is a huge challenge, but Lee’s incendiary rhetoric has generated a lot of money for Handy’s cause. He drives around in a small Smart Car with a giant pen that says “Write In Steve Handy” on it and sent 10,000 full-size pens with the slogan on them to voters in the district.

Barring upheavals in New Hampshire, Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio or whatever, I agree with the folks at FiveThirtyEight that the party that wins two of the three races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada will emerge with control of the Senate.

Nevada could therefore be the last shoe to fall. That race has been tight between former Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, but Laxalt opened up a lead in the latest poll.

Keep an eye on Washoe County, or better yet, take to Twitter and follow Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent for the best analysis around.

We won’t have any final results on Tuesday night and some of these races may be too close to report, so don’t get impatient.

That said, I’m interested to see how willing some candidates are to concede defeat — particularly if Maragani loses the race for Salt Lake County clerks — or if we receive preposterous allegations of fraud.

There are several Utah House races to watch. The top races for Democrats are Fatima Dirie’s challenge to Rep. Judy Weeks-Rohner in West Valley City; Lynette Wendell’s rematch against Rep. Jim Dunnigan, who won in Taylorsville by 84 votes last time out; and Alan Anderson’s bid against Rep. Steve Eliason, who won by 23 votes last time out at Sandy.

Republicans are aiming for Jill Koford to knock down Rep. Rosemary Lesser in Weber County and Quin Kotter to upset Rep. Elizabeth Weight in a revised Magna and West Valley district.

* * * * *

“You should write a column about me.”

My friend Matt Seare often told me that. Usually it was at the end of a few beers and a bunch of jokes that had everyone rolling, none of which can be printed in a family newspaper.

I pumped him for cooking tips, offered my couch when the Vikings lost, and swore I’d beat him at the cornhole next time. Maybe I could write about how he beat me again, he suggested, but that wasn’t really news.

Above all, whenever our messed up little family was together, he would tell each of us how much he loved us. And everyone’s day was a little better because of him.

“So when are you going to write about me?”

I guess it’s today, even if it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. Last weekend, while Matt was watching a University of Minnesota Gophers football game, he wasn’t feeling well and decided he needed to go to the hospital. Turns out he suffered a massive stroke, much, much too young.

Naturally, Matt was an organ donor, so somewhere one lucky person got a used liver and someone else got an absolutely amazing heart.

This has not been easy.

It’s never easy to lose someone special, and Matt was special. He was special to his love, Leah, his precious daughter, Olivia, and our close-knit family. And he made sure, without a doubt, that we always knew we were special to him.

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