Centrist Independent Voter Endorsements for the 2022 General Election
Because of limited time and resources, we are focusing on a relatively small number of elections in 2022. If you have an election you would like us to take a position on, contact us through the feedback button on the side or bottom of this page or use the contact us page.
So far we have endorsed candidates for the general election in Utah (Evan McMullen), Alaska (Lisa Murkowski), North Carolina (Cheri Beasley), New Hampshire (Maggie Hassan), Nevada (Catherine Cortez Masto), Arizona (Mark Kelly), Colorado (Michael Bennet), Georgia (Raphael Warnock), Pennsylvania (John Fetterman), and Ohio (Tim Ryan). We suggest considering the independent, write in, candidate (Scott Aubart) in Wisconsin because both the Democratic and Republican candidates are too extreme to endorse.
We have also re-iterated our endorsement of Raphael Warnock in the runoff election in Georgia for the U.S. Senate.
If you want to be informed about future Centrist Independent Voter endorsements go to the blog scroll to the bottom of the blog and subscribe.
Georgia Runoff Election for U.S. Senate
The Centrist Independent Voter endorsed Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. I have been asked whether that endorsement applies to the runoff election. It is not a trivial question. The situation has changed. The Republicans have secured a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Democrats have secured at least 50 votes in the U.S. Senate. Nevertheless, the outcome of today’s runoff election in Georgia matters. With 51 votes in the U.S. Senate, the Democrats will have complete control of committee assignments and a majority vote on those committees. The Democrats will also have the ability to appoint judicial nominees without Republican consent. Those things matter. If the Republican Party was a center-right party and if Herschel Walker was a reasonable candidate, we might endorse the Republican candidate in the runoff in order to force the Senate to operate in the most bi-partisan way possible. Sadly, neither of those things is true.
The inability of Republicans, generally, to speak out and condemn Donald Trump for his threats to the U.S. Constitution and his association with a white-nationalist, anti-semite suggests that the Republican Party needs to experience another major setback to give them a little spine. The power of the “Freedom” Caucus in the U.S. House also illustrates that the Republican Party is far to the right of center-right and needs to step back before they can step forward again.
If the Republicans in Georgia had nominated a reasonable center-right candidate with a background and temperament that suggested he would be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a U.S. Senator competently and speak out against the far right elements of the Republican Party including Donald Trump, we might reconsider. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Herschel Walker is the handpicked candidate of Donald Trump. But for Trump, Walker would not be on the ballot. That alone is sufficient reason to oppose his election to the U.S. Senate. Beyond that, he is totally unqualified. His rambling incoherent answers to questions about the issues should give anyone pause in imagining him in the Senate.
What About Warnock and the Democrats?
You might respond by saying: yes, all of that is true, but do you really want to increase the power of the far-left by handing the Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate. There are two major things to fear from the far left: first, eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate and second, packing the Supreme Court. The first concern is unlikely since the Democrats would not be able to pass any legislation without consent of the Republican controlled House. Eliminating the filibuster rule creates an enormous downside for Democrats, should they lose control of the legislature and the Presidency in 2024, without any upside. The second concern, packing the court, is impossible with a Republican controlled House.
It is true that we can expect a Democratically controlled Senate to add some left-of-center federal judges. With the U.S. Supreme Court now solidly right of center, there seems little to fear from a leftward tilt in the lower courts.
And what about Sen. Raphael Warnock? Warnock is no centrist. He is a solidly left-of-center Democrat, but he represents a purple state. If he wants to remain in the Senate, he knows he cannot drift too far to the left. Brian Kemp’s solid defeat of Stacy Abrams illustrates the point. Whatever you think of Warnock’s policy positions, he is intellectually and temperamentally suited for the U.S. Senate. Sadly, that cannot be said of his opponent, Herschel Walker.
Utah General Election for U.S. Senate
There is nothing normal about the 2022 race for the U.S. Senate seat from Utah.
Mike Lee (R) is the incumbent and was initially a heavy favorite. The race is now too close to call. Mike Lee is a full throated Trump supporter. Lee’s opponent, Evan McMullen is a conservative who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party in Utah.
While there is no true centrist running in Utah, you would not expect to see one in what is certainly among the most conservative states.
McMullen has promised not to caucus with either party in the Senate. That may be a mistake since it would limit his access to committee appointments. In our view, if he wins, he should caucus with the majority party. This is especially valuable if he gives that party a majority, in which case he should demand key committee assignments as a quid pro quo. He should then feel free to break party ranks and vote truly independently on legislation.
For the Centrist Independent Voter this is not a difficult call. The Centrist Independent Voter enthusiastically endorses Evan McMullen for the U.S. Senate seat from Utah.
Alaska General Election for U.S. Senate
Alaska is Using Ranked Choice Voting
Alaska now uses a non-partisan, primary voting system in which the top four candidates advance to the general election regardless of party. The general election is then decided by ranked choice voting. In ranked choice voting the candidate with the lowest number of first place votes will be eliminated. For example, if you voted for the eliminated candidate in first place, your second place candidate will receive a first place vote and your third place candidate will receive a second place vote and so on. The votes are then recalculated until someone receives an outright majority of first place votes. The Centrist Independent Voter fully supports this approach to elections as the best way to move American politics toward the center and away from extremism of both the right and the left.
The Results of the Alaskan Non-Partisan Primary
The top four candidates in the Alaskan non-partisan U.S. Senate primary are in order of the number of votes: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), the incumbent; Kelly Tshibaka, a Trump-backed Republican challenger; Patricia Chesbro, a progressive Democrat; and Buzz Kelly (R). Kelley, the fourth place finisher in the Alaskan primary, has chosen not to run in the general election, so the election should only require a maximum of two rounds of calculations.
If you favor the Democrat you can safely vote for her and make Murkowski your second choice without risking the possibility that your vote will help the Trump-backed candidate win. If you despise the Democrats, you can vote for Murkowski and let the other Republican be your second choice and there is no chance that your vote will help the Democrat win.
The beauty of the system is that you can vote how you feel without fearing that you will be wasting your vote on a losing candidate or enabling the success of your least liked candidate.
Sen. Murkowski is not a centrist, but she is among the most moderate Republican senators. We therefore endorse her over her Republican, Trump-backed, opponent and over the progressive Democrat.
North Carolina General Election for U.S. Senate
As Donald Trump’s problems mount, many Republican Senate candidates are now trying to distance themselves from him. Ted Budd, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate for North Carolina, is an exception to that trend. He has doubled down on his association to Trump while also emphasizing his support for national legislation to restrict abortion after 15 weeks.
To see Budd’s positions on a number of issues, visit his website.
His Democratic opponent Cheri Beasley is the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She is no centrist but counts as a moderate among Democrats, although her willingness to consider expanding the U.S. Supreme Court seems less than moderate.
To see Beasley’s positions on a number of issues, visit her website.
Those familiar with the Centrist Independent Voter’s Policy Positions will know that we don’t align well with either of these candidates.
Nevertheless, the Centrist Independent Voter endorses Cheri Beasley for the U.S. Senate seat from North Carolina. We do so because of Budd’s close association with Trump and because Beasley is more moderate than most of the Democratic Party.
New Hampshire General Election for U.S. Senate
The New Hampshire Senate Race Should be Closer than It Is
Normally, the New Hampshire Senate race would be in play since the the incumbent Democrat, Maggie Hassan, only defeated her Republican opponent by 0.1% when she took office six years ago. But despite the fact that mid-term elections generally turn against the party in power and the fact that President Biden still suffers from low approval ratings, Hassan appears to be about 11% ahead of her Republican opponent, Don Bolduc, a Trump endorsed extremist.
The reason Bolduc won in the primary is two-fold. The first is poor judgment on the part of Republicans in nominating him. The second is cynical hypocrisy on the part of some Democrats in promoting the election of Bolduc during the Republican primary.
It is difficult to understand how Democrats can think that their claims that MAGA Republicans are a threat to the nation will be taken seriously when they promote the election of MAGA Republicans in the primaries. All it leaves one with is the feeling that these Democrats are every bit as power hungry and indifferent to the fate of the nation as the Republicans they decry for sticking with Donald Trump.
The Centrist Independent Endorsement (with a caveat)
Sen. Maggie Hassan is a moderate Democrat. We might well have endorsed her even if the Trump endorsed candidate had not won the Republican primary. At this point, we have to move forward and endorse the more moderate candidate, while noting our disgust at the craven cynicism of Democrats who promote the election of the very candidates they believe constitute an existential threat to the nation.
With that caveat noted, the Centrist Independent Voter endorses Sen. Maggie Hassan for the U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire.
Nevada General Election for U.S. Senate
The Senate race in Nevada pits the incumbent Sen. Cortez Masto (D) against former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R). The race is very close and may well determine who controls the U.S. Senate in 2023.
Cortez Masto is relying heavily on the abortion issue. Laxalt is pressing the issue of inflation. They both have our support on the issues they have chosen to highlight. Laxalt has attempted, of late, to distance himself from Donald Trump and downplay his opposition to abortion. To her credit, Cortez Masto has distanced herself from the far left in her party.
In the end Laxalt’s enthusiastic embrace of Trump during the primaries tips the scales against him and the Centrist Independent Voter endorsement goes to Sen. Cortez Masto in the U.S. Senate race in Nevada.
Wisconsin General Election for the U.S. Senate
A Far Right Incumbent
Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is running to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, he is far to the right on issues like abortion and climate change and he supports Trump’s outrageous claims about the 2020 election. He is also endorsed by Donald Trump.
A Far Left Challenger
Given all of the above, the Centrist Independent Voter would probably endorse Johnson’s opponent. Sadly, Mandela Barnes (D) is a self-described Progressive and a member of the Working Families Party. His positions on most issues are on the far left of the political spectrum.
Wisconsin is an excellent example of what happens when the base of both parties get to choose who we can vote for in the general election. We cannot in good conscience recommend endorsing either of them.
There is a third party, write-in candidate, Scott Aubart, from the American Independent Party. Aubart does not have a serious chance of winning, so voting for him is really a protest vote. We do not normally recommend protest votes, feeling that it is better to choose the lesser of two evils. We will, therefore, stop short of endorsing Aubart. You should check out his website. He is hard to pin down in terms of political philosophy. He claims to be centrist. He appears to be pro-abortion rights and pro-gun rights (with some interesting reservations in both areas). He is no libertarian, he recommends larger government in the areas of health care and education. He is interesting.
The Best Outcome
If the margin of victory for the winner in this race is far less than the vote for the third party candidate, it might make it clear to both parties that they need to turn toward the center. That would be a good thing.
Arizona General Election for the U.S. Senate
Mitch McConnell is Right Again
Arizona provides another example of poor candidate selection on the part of Republicans handing over a Senate seat to a Democrat. The cause of that poor candidate selection was the same one we have seen in other battleground states: Donald Trump.
Mark Kelly is Not an Ideal Choice for Centrists
On policy issues Mark Kelly sits between the Progressive camp and the left-of-center Democrats. For a review of positions he has taken visit: OntheIssues.org. He is no centrist, though he needs to appeal to centrists to win in Arizona. Luckily, for Mark Kelly, Trump weighed in and endorsed Blake Masters, a far-right election denier. Masters has been trying to walk back positions he took during the primaries, but in the internet age that is easier said than done.
Centrist Independent Voter Endorsement
The Centrist Independent Voter endorses Mark Kelly for the U.S. Senate seat from Arizona. While no centrist, Kelly is closer to the center than Masters.
Why does the Centrist Independent Voter support so many Democrats in key Senate races?
You may have noticed that, so far, our endorsements in the general election races for U.S. Senate have all been for Democrats. It didn’t have to be that way. Had Republicans rejected the Trump endorsed far-right candidates during the primaries, I suspect we would have endorsed a roughly equal number of Republicans and Democrats.
I suspect we might be less willing to weigh in against these Trump-backed candidates if we thought the Democrats were in a position to seize a majority in the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. That is unlikely. We are very likely to see a Republican majority in the House and, in my opinion, a modest Democratic majority in the Senate. That means divided government for the next two years. Things could be worse.
Perhaps Republicans will come to their senses and abandon loyalty to Trump and Trumpism and move to the center in 2024. If that happens, I suspect the Centrist Independent Voter will be endorsing a more equally balanced slate of candidates.
If Democrats view success in the U.S. Senate races in 2022 as endorsement of the Progressive agenda and tilt left during the 2024 primaries, you can probably expect a reversal of this year’s pattern of endorsements in 2024.
Colorado General Election for the U.S. Senate
All political races in the U.S. should be like the Senate race in Colorado: a center-left incumbent facing off against a center-right challenger.
The Centrist Independent Voter endorsed John O’Dea in the Republican primary in Colorado. The Centrist Independent Voter would probably have endorsed Michael Bennet, if he’d had any opposition in the Democratic primary. In fact, Michael Bennet is a more attractive candidate than the three Democratic candidates we have already endorsed.
So what is our recommended endorsement in this race?
What we’d like to see is a record turnout in this race. We want to see Democratic voters turning out in record numbers to prove that the base will support a moderate. We’d like to see Republican voters, also, turning out in record numbers to prove that they will support a moderate non-Trump candidate. Finally, We’d like to see centrist independent voters providing the margin of victory to the winner to prove that focusing on the center is the way to win elections.
The Board of Governors for the Centrist Independent Voter was conflicted about who to endorse. Some favored the Republican, some favored the Democrat, and some favored endorsing both. In the end, we decided by a narrow plurality to endorse Michael Bennet, the Democrat.
This is not a negative reflection on Joe O’Dea, the Republican. If the Trump-backed candidate had won in the primary, we would probably have unanimously endorsed Michael Bennet. If the Democrats had elected a far left progressive in the primary, we would probably have endorsed Joe O’Dea.
Georgia and Pennsylvania General Elections for the U.S. Senate
Candidate Quality and Senate Control
Mitch McConnell was right. The U.S. Senate will probably not flip to Republican control in 2022. He was also right about the reason: poor candidate quality on the Republican side. Republicans will not control the Senate after 2022 for the same reason that they lost control of the Senate in 2020: Donald Trump.
It is almost certain that Trump’s interference in the elections in Georgia, and his efforts to discourage Republicans from voting in the runoffs that followed, cost the Republicans at least one Senate seat. It now appears that Donald Trump is about to reprise his role as spoiler in 2022, by successfully endorsing candidates in the primaries who will be unelectable in the general election.
Georgia is perhaps the most obvious case of Trump endorsing a weak candidate and discouraging potentially strong candidates from entering the Senate primary race.
Rev. Raphael Warnock is a progressive Democrat. He is endorsed by the Working Families Party (think Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). It is unlikely that, in normal times, Warnock would receive the endorsement of the Centrist Independent Voter. These are not normal times. Making sure that Donald Trump loses his control over the Republican Party, and potentially the country, is far more important than keeping a Progressive Democrat out of the Senate.
Donald Trump endorsed Herschel Walker in the Republican primary in Georgia and actively discouraged other potentially more viable candidates from running. Apart from opposing Walker because he is a Trump acolyte, we also find Walker to be unqualified for the U.S. Senate. His answers on the campaign trail seem bizarre and uninformed. I have nothing against famous football players, but there is nothing about that job that qualifies you for the U.S. Senate.
You might say that there is nothing about being a minister that qualifies you for the U.S. Senate either. It is not our favorite background for a member of the Senate. Nevertheless, ministers are public speakers and they have presumably spent many years wrestling with philosophical and ethical questions. While Warnock is hardly a centrist, he has at least spent a lot of time thinking about public policy positions and articulating positions on those issues.
We, therefore, endorse Sen. Raphael Warnock to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia.
It was by no means a foregone conclusion that we would be endorsing the Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump, by endorsing Dr. Mehmet Oz, made the endorsement of John Fetterman inevitable. Fetterman is no centrist. He is a populist Democrat. That would normally disqualify him from endorsement by the Centrist Independent Voter.
However, making sure that Donald Trump loses his control over the Republican Party, and potentially the country, is far more important than keeping a populist Democrat out of the Senate.
Apart from Trump’s endorsement, we have other concerns about Dr. Oz.
The first is his endorsement of products that appear, at best, to be controversial and possibly just scams.
The second concern is about his allegiance to the United States. Oz has dual citizenship with Turkey. He has served in the Turkish military. He defends this on the basis of his desire to be able to easily visit and care for his aging mother. Maybe there is nothing more to it than that. There is nothing inherently wrong with maintaining dual citizenship. As many as 40% of Americans may be eligible for dual citizenship and millions of Americans maintain dual citizenship. However, very few of these people have the need to handle sensitive national security information.
You might say that Turkey is an ally. Yes, they are a member of NATO, but they often take positions and actions that are inconsistent with U.S. interests. Consider Turkey’s attitude toward the Kurds during the fight against ISIS and their initial opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Even the best of allies will occasionally be at odds with U.S. national interests.
Dual citizenship, even with an ally, raises some legitimate concerns, considering that Senators are granted access to sensitive national security information as a matter of course. Oz has said he would forego any security clearances that might pose a problem, but Senators don’t need security clearances to have access to sensitive information. At the moment, there are no U.S. Senators holding dual citizenship.
In addition, I think you may all remember that in 2016 Donald Trump pledged to put his assets in a blind trust. That was an obviously meaningless pledge, since even if he did it, he would still know what actions hurt or help his business interests unless the trust was directed to sell them. In addition, we know that he never honored that pledge. What guarantee would we have that Oz, Trump’s acolyte, would honor his pledge.
You will notice that I did not mention Oz’s dubious claim to be a Pennsylvania resident. I suspect there are many Pennsylvanians who care about this issue. We are not concerned. There are many cases of U.S. Senators with dubious connections to the states they represented.
To be clear, the Centrist Independent Voter endorses John Fetterman for the U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania.
Ohio General Election for the U.S. Senate
The Republicans have nominated J.D. Vance for this seat. We endorsed Matt Dolan in the Republican primary. Dolan did better than expected, by not good enough to get the nomination. Vance has a number of strikes against him. First, he has Trump’s endorsement. If Vance wins, Trump will use that fact to strengthen his hold over the Republican Party. Second, Vance has come to embrace what some refer to as Conservative Nationalism. As best we can determine, this means conservative on social issues like abortion, protectionist on trade, anti-immigration and isolationist on international affairs. In a particularly egregious example of his isolationist views, he has made it clear that he is indifferent to Ukraine’s fate. Anyone who has examined the Centrist Independent Voter’s philosophy section or the public policy section would conclude that the Centrist Independent Voter could not endorse J.D. Vance.
The Democrats easily nominated Tim Ryan. The Centrist Independent Voter endorsed Ryan in the Ohio Democratic Primary. Ryan is a center-of-the-left politician. For our tastes he is far too pro-union, but Ohio is heavily unionized. For a review of his positions on other issues visit ontheissues.org. He is, also, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, which marks him as more centrist than many Democrats. He is certainly more centrist than his opponents in the Democratic primary.
There is no question that Ryan is something of a long shot. However, a win for Ryan would strongly buttress the case, to both parties, that extremism loses, moderation wins. Tim Ryan therefore gets our endorsement for the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio.