Republicans will likely need to defend seven vulnerable Senate seats in the 2022 midterms. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, and Florida’s Marco Rubio are sure to run for reelection. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have both announced that they will be stepping aside. Iowa’s 87-year-old wunderkind Chuck Grassley has not yet decided whether to seek another term and it remains to be seen whether Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler will hold her seat this year such that she can run as an incumbent in 2022.
Republicans should be able to compete for seats in Colorado, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Nevada, but none of those are particularly probable pick-ups.
Right now, the GOP is sitting tight at 50 seats until Loeffler and her fellow Georgian, David Perdue, face Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in their January runoff elections. If one of them prevails, Mitch McConnell remains majority leader. If both win, ditto but with more breathing room. If both lose, Vice President-Elect Harris makes 51 for the Democrats.
Assuming that last scenario doesn’t unfold, I’d anticipate — given the gains Republicans made in the House and the fact that the party controlling the White House typically struggles in midterm elections — that Republicans and Democrats may very well swap control of the House and Senate in 2022. It may look quite a bit like 2018, when Democrats annihilated Republicans in the House but actually lost ground in the Senate because of an unfavorable map.
This would no doubt cause great consternation in the GOP, as a Biden administration may find itself more empowered in its second half than its first.