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In Midterm Matters, we look at hot-button US midterm news to separate the signal (need-to-knows) from the noise (the chatter).
Ari Winkleman

In Midterm Matters, we look at hot-button US midterm news to separate the signal (need-to-knows) from the noise (the chatter).


Today, we head to the Rust Belt. Yes, that bunch of states that used to lean so reliably left that they were once called Dems' Blue Wall — until 2016, when Donald Trump smashed a red wrecking ball right through it to win the presidency.

Noise: Ohio has been aboard the red train since the Trump years. With industrial decline plaguing much of the region, we’ve seen plenty of chatter about Republicans gaining more traction as working-class voters switch allegiances to the GOP. But …

FiveThirtyEight forecasts that Democrats are leading in gubernatorial races in the three Rust Belt battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer is ahead of Republican rival Tudor Dixon by the widest margin, with both school shootings and abortion as hot topics. Next, in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro is leading his Republican opponent and 2020 election denier, Douglas Mastriano, in a tighter race that has controversially featured the role of religion in both men’s lives. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is a toss-up: Gov. Tom Evers (D) is only slightly ahead of his Republican challenger, Tim Michels, with lots of squabbling over crime figures.

Signal: While Republican congressional and presidential gains in the region are real, these gubernatorial races show us that Dems still have lasting strength in the Rust Belt.


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