It was not quite the red wave that many political pundits had predicted. While not all of the races have been determined, there is no doubt that the 2022 midterm election was a pivotal moment in the nation’s political landscape. Here are a few of the highlights as Americans are waking up on Wednesday.
The Bottom Line
As of Wednesday morning, both the control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate hang in the balance. It is likely that some of the results may not be known for days.Read More »
Most experts are now calling Wisconsin for incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson after more ballots were tallied overnight. The 67-year-old Johnson found himself in a tight contest with the Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Republican pundits are hopeful that Johnson holding off Barnes will tilt the Senate in their favor.
On the Democratic side, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan narrowly won a race against Republican Don Bolduc, sending her back to the Senate. This race was significant as it was largely seen as being one of the most vulnerable seats up for grabs in the Senate.
It was a big win for the Democrats in Pennsylvania when John Fetterman beat out Dr. Mehmet Oz for the seat vacated by the retiring Republican Pat Toomey. The results were still coming in late into the night. Oz called the lieutenant governor to concede the race on Wednesday morning, marking a significant flip for this chamber of Congress.
For the first time in years, Washington state Democratic Sen. Patty Murray saw a meaningful challenge by a Republican. However, Murray was able to retain her seat in the Senate, besting Republican newcomer Tiffany Smiley.
Races Still Undecided
As was expected, there are still a handful of crucial races that are too close to call. Senatorial races still in question include the battles for Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. Assuming that the race remains tight, there is a good chance that the Georgia contest is heading toward a December 6 runoff.
Georgia election law requires that a candidate win by at least 50% of the vote. Because of a third party candidate on the ballot siphoning off some of the votes, there is a chance that neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican candidate Herschel Walker will reach that benchmark.
There are two major races in Arizona that remain too close to call. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is hoping to hold off Republican Blake Masters. As of Wednesday morning, Kelly held a slight lead with approximately 70% of the precincts reporting.
The governorship is also still undecided in Arizona with Republican Kari Lake barely behind Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Election officials in Arizona said that the results could take up to five days to tally. The largest county in the state, Maricopa, said that it will post more results on Wednesday evening.
To the north in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is slightly ahead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Election officials said that about 80% of the votes have been counted. Laxalt came on strong in the final days of the campaign, putting Democrats on the defensive to hold their seat.
Key Governorship Races
In addition to the competitive Senate and House races, there were a number of important gubernatorial elections. Sarah Huckabee Sanders made history as the first female to be elected to serve Arkansas as governor after she defeated Democrat Chris Jones. The Republican Sanders is the former press secretary and communications director for the Trump White House.
History was also made in Maryland when Democrat Wes Moore became the first Black person to lead the Old Line State. Moore defeated Republican Dan Cox, known as being an election denier. Notably, retiring Republican Gov. Larry Hogan did not endorse Cox despite him being in his own party. Moore will also be distinguished as the only the third Black American in history to be elected as a governor.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was appointed as the state’s first elected female governor as well as the first out lesbian to serve at the state executive level in the U.S. The Democrat easily defeated challenger Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl. Healey has served as the state’s attorney general since 2014.
As expected, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was able to hold on to his seat in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, Florida. DeSantis defeated Democratic Charlie Crist after making significant strides in winning over the Latino vote and other historically Democratic regions. This blowout victory will undoubtedly position DeSantis well for a potential run at the White House in 2024. While he has not declared his intention to run for president, it is widely believed in Republican circles that he will be the biggest challenger to Trump.
Other key Democratic wins in gubernatorial races include Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly retaining her seat as leader of the Sunflower State. Kelly defeated Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, scoring a big win for the Democrats in a state carried by Trump by 15 percentage points just two years ago.
Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro was confirmed victorious in his bid to be the next governor of Pennsylvania, defeating far-right Republican state legislator Doug Mastriano.
On the Republican side, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was able to hold off activist and Democrat Stacey Abrams for control of the Peach State. The Republican victory is a demonstration that voters were largely more concerned about the economy and inflation compared to issues such as abortion.
Other Election Firsts
In addition to the history made in a few gubernatorial races, it was a banner night for females and younger candidates in some states and districts. Republican Katie Britt became the first female senator elected to serve Alabama. Britt won an open seat that was vacated by the retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. While two females have represented the state in the Senate in the past, both senators were appointed to their roles.
Maxwell Frost became the first member of Generate Z elected to serve in Congress. The 25-year-old Democrat won the open seat in the 10th Congressional District of Florida.
In Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin became the first Native American senator to serve the state in nearly 100 years. The Republican won a special election, tapped to take on the seat vacated by GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe.
As was predicted by many political pundits, it will take some time for the full picture of this election to come into focus. Stay tuned for the latest results.
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