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Oddsmakers: Republicans are now the clear favorite to win the House and Senate in 2022

November 3, 2021, 2:30 PM UTC

On the heels of the gubernatorial race in Virginia, Vice President Kamala Harris urged voters to support Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, a former governor of Virginia, adding that “what happens in Virginia will, in large part, determine what happens in 2022.” Unfortunately for her party, oddsmakers agree with Harris’s assessment.

Soon after it became clear on Tuesday that Republican Glenn Youngkin, a businessman who spent 25 years in private equity at the Carlyle Group, would become the next governor of Virginia, Republicans saw a spike in their chances of retaking both the U.S. House—where Democrats hold a 221 to 213 seat edge—and the U.S. Senate—which is split 50-50 and Democrats control it through Harris’s tie breaking vote—in 2022.

As Fortune has previously reported, gubernatorial races in Virginia—which occur the year following presidential elections—are seen as a harbinger for what will come next in the higher-stakes midterms. Republican Bob McDonnell’s big win in 2009 was seen as a precursor for the GOP’s 2010 Tea Party takeover. In 2013, McAuliffe’s narrow +2.6 percentage point win in the blue state foreshadowed his party’s weak showing in the 2014 midterms, while the big +8.9 point win by Democrat Ralph Northam in 2017 preceded the so-called Democratic blue wave in the 2018 midterms.

That’s why the Republican National Committee is feeling so good following Youngkin’s win: They see his +2.1 point win in the state that President Joe Biden won by 10.1 points in 2020, as momentum having finally shifted from blue to red.

According to PredictIt, Youngkin’s win quickly translated into a bump in the GOP’s odds to retake the House—which they lost in 2018. Back in early August, Republicans led Democrats by a 69 cent to 33 cent margin (or how much you’d need to wager on them to win $1) in the betting market. Following the Virginia win, that gap widened in Republicans’ favor (82 cents to 18 cents).

There is, of course, a big wild card that prevents bettors from fully understanding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s odds of retaining the chamber: redistricting. We’re currently amid the once-in-a-decade period where statehouses across the nation can redraw their congressional districts. It remains to be seen which party will benefit the most from redistricting this go-around (although, through the first 14 state redraws, FiveThirtyEight says Democrats have netted the most seats) or how far the parties will go down the gerrymandering rabbit hole.

The more challenging takeover will be flipping the Senate.

The good news for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who would like to regain his old jobs as Senate majority leader, is that trajectory is also on the side of Republicans in the Senate. Indeed, back in early August, PredictIt had Democrats and Republicans tied in the Senate race. But that has gradually moved in Republicans’ favor as Biden’s approval rating has slipped.

The GOP got another boost following the election on Tuesday. Prior to the Virginia win, the Senate was more of a toss-up. However, it’s now clearly favoring Republicans, according to the betting markets: According to PredictIt, Republican odds top Democratic odds of taking the Senate chamber next year by a 64 cent to 37 cent margin.

That said, in order to retake the Senate next November, Republicans will need to hold on to 18 of their current seats in states that Donald Trump won last year and another two seats in states Biden won (Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). Then they’d need to win at least one Senate seat currently held by a Democratic Senator. The most likely targets are Georgia, Arizona, or Nevada—all states that Trump lost by a small margin last year.

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