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5 Surprising Races Republicans Might Actually Win in the Midterm Elections

In the final days before Tuesday’s midterm elections, the “red wave” has looked powerful enough to reach a number of races deep in Democratic territory.

SO WHAT

Rising prices, crime and illegal immigration are fueling a Republican surge in the polls.

WHAT HAPPENED

Republicans have been feeling increasingly bullish about their chances to take control of both houses of Congress and governor’s mansions across the country next Tuesday: Here are five races the GOP has no business winning — but might just anyway.

1. Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District:

Democrats have controlled the district for more than 30 years, and President Joe Biden carried it by about 14 points in 2020.

  • But a recent poll showed Republican Allan Fung, a former mayor of Cranson, up by 8 points against Democrat Seth Magaziner.
  • Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has poured about $3 million into the race for the open seat, and GOP heavyweights, from McCarthy to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have campaigned with Fung in Rhode Island.
  • The Cook Political Report has called the race a toss-up.

2. Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District:

Biden won the district by 11 points, and Republicans haven’t serious contested it since 2012.

  • Nonetheless, Republicans have spent $2.7 million to boost George Logan, a black Republican state legislator.
  • Logan has shown broad bipartisan appeal, and the newest polls put him within a point or two of Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes.
  • The contest is a toss-up, according to The Cook Political report.

3. New Hampshire’s Senate seat:

Republican Don Bolduc has come from way behind in polls from the state, which Biden won by 7 points.

  • While Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan still has a narrow lead in the polls, a new poll by Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics gave Bolduc a one-point advantage.
  • After having given up on the Senate seat, the Senate Republican’s campaign arm recently ramped up spending.
  • The Cook Political Report said the race is a “lean Democratic,” but Politico’s Election Forecast on Friday moved it rightward to “toss-up.”

4. Oregon’s governor’s mansion:

Oregon —where Democrats have enjoyed unified control of government for 15 years — might just elect their first Republican governor in 40 years.

  • The latest polls found Christine Drazan in a dead heat with Democrat Tina Kotek, ahead of third-party candidate Betsy Johnson, a moderate Democrat.
  • Oregon’s richest man, Nike co-founder Phil Knight, has donated millions to Drazan and Johnson, forcing Democrats to spend heavily on Kotek and Biden to travel to Portland to stump for her.
  • The Cook Political Report last month moved the race from “lean Republican” to “toss-up.”
  • Democrats have been playing furious defense in three Biden-friendly House battlegrounds in Oregon as well.

5. New York’s governor mansion:

New Yorker’s haven’t elected a Republican to statewide office in 20 years, but Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., has narrowed the race to single digits in the polls.

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul has a massive fundraising machine powered by wealthy donors and high-profile allies, like Vice President Harris and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who held a rally for her Thursday in New York City.
  • Zeldin has countered with energetic rallies featuring local Republican leaders, small donations and belated support from billionaire GOP mega-donor Ron Lauder.
  • Analysts, including the Cook Political Report, have continued to “lean” toward a historically narrow Hochul win.
  • Outside GOP groups have also spent money to flip four Democratic-held House seats in the “deep blue” state, including the redrawn district of DCCC chair Rep. Sean Patrick Malone.

“The mission is not to leave anything on the table,” National Republican Campaign Committee chair Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News on Wednesday. “I’m confident with six days to go that we’re going to make some history. But we leave that up to voters.”

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

Republicans have apparently overcome Democrats’ summer surge in the polls thanks to a shift in voters’ priorities, Nate Cohn, The New York Times chief political analyst, wrote Friday.

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