3 things to watch in politics this week


As the November midterm elections approach, all eyes are turned toward the latest inflation data, political debates, and a Jan. 6 hearing for any news that could upset the balance of power on Capitol Hill.

With that in mind, here are three things to watch this week in politics:

Midterm debates

With 30 days to go until the midterm elections and early voting already starting in many states, the focus this week has turned to upcoming debates for two top-tier Senate races.

In Ohio, Republican nominee J.D. Vance will battle Democratic Representative Tim Ryan for a key Senate seat that could ultimately decide the power of the upper chamber. The two are scheduled to debate for the first time on Monday night in an effort to sway voters in the swing state. Currently, FiveThirtyEight shows Ryan leading Vance in the polls by a razor-thin margin of 45.1% to 44.2%.

3 things to watch in politics this week

JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, is accompanied by Former President Donald Trump as he speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

In Georgia’s Senate race, incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, will debate GOP nominee Herschel Walker on Friday in one of the most high-profile Senate debates in recent history.

The showdown has gained national interest following allegations that Walker, who has made anti-abortion a pillar of his campaign, paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion in 2009 and urged her to terminate a second pregnancy two years later. Walker denied the allegations. The polling average from Real Clear Politics shows Warnock up 3.8 points against Walker.

Inflation

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) report is scheduled to be released Thursday morning, which will provide Americans with the final reading on inflation ahead of the midterm elections.

It comes after last week’s solid jobs report, which showed that 263,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy and unemployment fell to 3.5% in September.

In addition to being factored into the Fed’s interest rate decision next month, the CPI data will feed into divided political accounts of how the U.S. economy is performing. Republican strategists are seeking to make sustained inflation a core part of their closing argument ahead of the midterms while Democrats are pointing to low unemployment.

With voters indicating that the economy is a key concern, both parties will look to play economic volatility to their advantage.

Jan. 6 hearings

The January 6th committee will convene on Thursday at 1 p.m. in what will likely be its last hearing before the midterm elections.

The committee’s hearing will likely be broadcast live on most cable news channels. Details about what the hearing will focus on are still unknown, but watchers are looking for clues as to when the committee will release its report and what it will include.

FILE - Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.  The trial of the founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, and four associates charged with seditious conspiracy in the attack on the U.S. Capitol is set to begin next week. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

A CBS News poll released last month found that 40% of voters said they were more likely to vote Democrat as a result of the hearings, 31% were more likely to vote Republican, and 29% said the hearings would have no effect on their voting.

Kevin Cirilli is a visiting media at the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. Follow him on LinkedIn here.

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