Democrats and Republicans are encouraging their constituents to vote by saying abortion rights, gun rights, student loan relief, healthcare and public safety are all on the ballot this November. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the majority.
So, as voters prepare to choose which party will control Congress, here are five of the most important Senate races to watch.
Incumbent: Sen. Raphael Warnock, D
Challenger: Herschel Walker, R
Sen. Warnock, along with fellow Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, flipped Republican held seats in a 2020 special election. Now Walker, with the help of both Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, is trying to take one of them back.
Money is a big factor. Sen. Warnock has raised more money than any other candidate in the country – a whopping $85 million. Herschel Walker has taken in a little over $20 million.
Candidates: Lt. Governor John Fetterman, D
Dr. Mehmet Oz, R
Dr. Oz gained national fame for hosting his own TV show. Fetterman has set himself apart as a blue collar man who is one of the people with his sweatshirt and jeans. In fact, he is wearing a workman’s shirt in his official portrait as lt. governor.
Polls show the race is leaning in Fetterman’s favor. But Fetterman has struggled to fully recover from a stroke and has put off debating Oz, because he is struggling with auditory processing, according to his campaign spokesperson. Oz is using that to raise questions about his fitness for office.
Incumbent: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D
Challenger: State Attorney General Adam Laxalt, R
Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto is trying to hold her seat, but the Cook Political Report considers the race a toss-up.
She is running against Nevada’s attorney General Adam Laxalt, who succeeded Cortez Masto in that position. This is an interesting race between two candidates who have both held the same position. This is also the seat of the late former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, so Republicans see the race as an opportunity for symbolic victory, too.
Incumbent: Sen. Ron Johnson, R
Challenger: Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, D
This race is a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Report.
Sen. Johnson is a high ranking Senate Republican. He was the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and he continues to sit on the Foreign Relations and Budget Committee.
Lt. Governor Barnes started his political career early. He became a state representative at 27, and the state’s first black Lt. Governor at 31. Barnes works on multiple environmental issues and also pegs himself as someone who can stand up for local farmers.
Johnson has held the seat since 2010, so it will be a big flip if Barnes is victorious.
Incumbent: Sen. Mark Kelly, D
Challenger: Blake Masters, R
Sen. Mark Kelly flipped this seat in 2020. His opponent, Blake Masters, is trying to take it back, calling himself “Arizona’s true MAGA candidate.”
Kelly is a retired astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D, who was shot during a constituent outing and has since become a gun control activist. Kelly is promoting a growing number of local Arizona Republicans who have endorsed him.
Masters is a businessman who is proudly running with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Like Trump, Masters said it was worth putting his business career on hold because he said he hates seeing what is happening to Arizona.
Money, again, is a big factor in this race. Kelly has raised $54 million, putting him second in the country behind only Warnock.