Unbelievably enough, it’s already time for the midterm elections—which means we’re only two years out from another presidential election (which I genuinely don’t know if I have the mental well-being to handle, but I digress).
With reproductive rights, drug policy, migration justice, and so much else on the line, voting has seldom seemed more crucial, so check your registration status and make a plan to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 8 now. Until then, check out this guide to five competitive and/or attention-grabbing races you’ll want to keep your eye on.
Nevada Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto (D) vs. Adam Laxalt (R)
The incumbent Democratic senator—who supports filibuster reform, limiting greenhouse-gas emissions, and abortion rights, among other progressive causes—is in the fight of her life to keep her seat in the Nevada Senate. Recent polling shows an extremely close race between her and Laxalt, a Trump-backed candidate who has a long history of persecuting the LGBTQ+ community and in 2020 made a name for himself by challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Arizona Legislature: Lorena Austin (D) vs. Mary Ann Mendoza (R)
Austin, a fifth-generation Arizonan of Mexican descent, is a nonbinary lesbian, which would make her one of the few out LGBTQ+ politicians in a GOP-controlled state that has repeatedly shown hostility toward queer and trans rights; plus, she’s got the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and Moms Demand Action. Mendoza, on the other hand, is another Trump-backed candidate who has supported tightening Arizona’s immigration laws and has received scrutiny for promoting anti-Semitic rhetoric on social media.
Texas gubernatorial: Beto O’Rourke (D) vs. Greg Abbott (R)
While incumbent Republican governor Greg Abbott has enjoyed a strong hold on Texas, lately Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke has been pulling out all the campaign stops, even releasing an ad featuring a grieving mother who lost her daughter in the Uvalde school shooting (and directly calls out Abbott for passing zero gun-control policies in the wake of the tragedy). Beto is still behind in the polls, but the final month before the midterms could—at the very least—force Abbott slightly to the left (if, in fact, that’s a direction he’s capable of veering in).
Wisconsin gubernatorial: Mandela Barnes (D) vs. Ron Johnson (R)