With a couple of high profile Gubernatorial primaries in the books, we now have two high-profile races for Governor among 2022 midterm election odds. You can legally bet on both of the Pennsylvania and Georgia races by using PredictIt, and there’s value on the board.
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2022 Midterm Election Odds: Pennsylvania Governor
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Pennsylvania is the ultimate national environment versus local candidates race, because this is the unstoppable force of a GOP wave against the immovable object of the fact that the GOP nominated a truly horrible candidate in PA.
Doug Mastriano isn’t just some run of the mill very conservative Republican that is called divisive – he was at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and is running on an extreme platform that, amongst other things, would allow for the Pennsylvania legislature to overturn the choice of the Pennsylvania voters in the 2024 election if they don’t elect the Republican nominee.
Mastriano is one of the biggest believers of the farcical claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election when he didn’t, and he is running to ensure that whoever the 2024 Democratic nominee is can’t win Pennsylvania – whether they win it at the polls or not.
His opponent is Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is a proven electoral performer with an ability to run well in both the educated white suburbs of Philly and in the state’s northeast, a key battleground where Democrats need to hold their ground to avoid losing the state.
Shapiro is not a loony leftwinger, and he is running in a state where state-level Democrats are more popular than their DC brethren – outgoing Governor Tom Wolf won the state handily in 2014 from a Republican incumbent on the same day Democrats lost control of Massachusetts and Maryland.
Shapiro is the successor to that, and in the same mold as Wolf – a plain-speaking, tell-it-like-it-is, old-school Democrat who can not get killed in the old working class towns and small cities up and down the state. That said, with 2022 looming as a red wave, Shapiro isn’t a lock – and arguably wouldn’t be a favorite if not for Mastriano.
Against Mastriano, whose entire platform was election fraud and Dominion voting systems and Donald Trump is amazing, Shapiro is a clear and obvious favorite, despite the wave, for one reason – it’s a race for state office.
Remember those 2014 GOP gains in Massachusetts and Maryland? Democrats were in no risk in any federal races in those states, with Ed Markey cruising to an easy re-election to the U.S. Senate and Democrats keeping their 7-1 edge in Maryland’s delegation to the U.S. House.
Voters are willing to differentiate between party and candidate more in state level races, and so Shapiro’s edge matters more here than if these two candidates were running for federal office against each other.
There will be a reluctance for Republicans to waste money in a race where victory isn’t anything close to assured, or even really likely, when they have such a field of possible-but-not-great Governors races across the country.
Democrats on the other hand will flock to Shapiro, because the risk of a Mastriano Governorship might include Democrats losing Pennsylvania as a state where they can count on their electoral college votes counting in 2024, regardless of outcome.
Shapiro’s not a lock, but he’s a clear favorite to win.
2022 Midterm Election Odds: Georgia Governor
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Unlike in Pennsylvania, the Georgia GOP actually got their preferred primary combination, with incumbent Governor Brian Kemp easily dispatching his primary challengers and setting up a redux of the Kemp-Stacey Abrams tilt from 2018, except this time in a much more favorable political environment for Republicans.
If Pennsylvania Democrats are going to do better in state-level elections than they do in races for federal office for a little while longer – as Trump friendly old Democrats continue to vote for some down-ballot Democrats – then Georgia Republicans have much the same advantage.
Kemp-Warnock voters will be common in the Atlanta suburbs and exurbs as those members of the white monied class who have been traditional Republicans vote for Democrats for the Senate race but vote for Kemp on the basis that he has been a good Governor in their eyes.
For these voters, Kemp has mostly avoided the culture wars of many Republican governors, especially the one due south from him, and isn’t needlessly picking fights with gay or trans Georgians, and is keeping their taxes low – their ideal Republican.
The good press garnered from Kemp’s willingness to do the bare minimum and concede that Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia, and the fact that he tacked to (what passes for) the center to win his primary means that Romney 2012-Biden 2020 voters won’t find him an unacceptable Republican.
On the other side, Stacey Abrams just isn’t a good candidate for office, as much as Democrats want to make her out to be. Whatever you think of Abrams’ activism and organizing prowess – and how much credit she deserves for the dual Senate wins of January 2021 – she is just not good as a candidate on her own.
Abrams lost in 2018 despite a blue wave because she is a horrendous candidate for the white exurbs – losing whites by 43% in Forsyth, while Raphael Warnock two years later – in a more Republican environment – only lost it by 35%.
For Democrats to win Georgia, they need a combination of high Black turnout and good enough results in the white suburbs and exurbs of Atlanta, and Abrams isn’t able to pull off the double. Yes, she can boost Black turnout, but she can’t do that without turning off the exurbs, which means there isn’t a path.
The problem with Democrats who are hoping that the state’s leftward trend will make up for the GOP bent in the national environment is that Abrams isn’t the right Democrat to take advantage of the state’s tailwinds.
It’s not that Democrats are running a Black candidate – Lucy McBath does incredibly well in white suburbia in her Congressional races, and Raphael Warnock outperformed her by 8% in Forsyth. Abrams’ abrasive and commandeering approach to politics – remember, she did not concede after losing in 2018 – doesn’t play well with the socially liberal, upper crust whites who swung the 2020 election to Biden.
This race is Kemp’s to lose, and generally speaking, those who have underestimated Brian Kemp have done so at their peril. It’s gonna be Kemp, no matter how much that irritates Democrats.