Down-Ballot Results Spell 2022 Distress for Democrats

November 3, 2021

When midterm elections turn into tsunamis, Virginia and New Jersey sound an alarm a year out. And last night's results are broadly consistent with a political environment in which Republicans would take back control of the House and Senate in 2022.

It's true at the top of the ticket: in 1993, GOP triumphs by Christine Todd Whitman (NJ) and George Allen (VA) foreshadowed the GOP's 54-seat House pickup in 1994. In 2009, wins by Republicans Chris Christie (NJ) and Bob McDonnell (VA) presaged the GOP's 63-seat House takeover in 2010. And in 2017, strong Democratic wins in both races were broadly in line with the "blue wave" of 2018, when Democrats picked up 40 House seats.

But perhaps even more instructive are the down-ballot results for legislative races, which don't get as much attention but offer a clearer picture of generic partisan performance and which types of areas have swung the most against the party in the White House.

In 2009, Republicans' six-seat pickup in Virginia's House of Delegates was broadly in line with their House gains in 2010. In

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