The Morning After
The 2022 midterms went pretty much as all the analysts expected … NOT. The final results are not in, but a few things seem clear
- Congress will remain very closely divided
- Florida moves from a purple to red state
- Democrats outperformed history in midterm elections
In the House, as of now, CNN projects Republicans have won 199 seats and Democrats 178. Republicans must win 30 of the remaining competitive seats to win control and Democrats must win 53 to keep control. Republicans are currently leading in 221 seats and Democrats in 214. If this holds, Republicans will win the majority but hold a very narrow majority.
In the Senate, it remains to close to call. Democrats have picked up Pennsylvania. As of now, that is the only flip. Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona have not been called. Republicans would need to hold Wisconsin and win two of the remaining three to win the majority.
However, the final results play out -- Congress is going to be closely divided for the next two years.
The one bright spot for Republicans was Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis easily won reelection with 59.4% of the vote, even managing to drive high numbers in traditionally democratic leaning areas like Miami-Dade County. Sen. Marco Rubio also won with 57.7%. We might be able to move Florida from swing state to solidly Republican in the House of DeSantis.
Republicans also look poised to pick up several House seats in New York. But their hopes of significant gains in Virginia did not materialize – they only picked up one seat in the Commonwealth. And as of now, they remain locked out of New England. That made clear the remainder of the race for control of the House would be a district-by-district slog.
Democrats were criticized down the stretch for focusing on abortion rights and concerns about Democracy. With voter polls showing inflation as the top concern, many pundits in both parties argued Democrats were making a mistake not focusing on economic issues. But, it appears the White House and congressional Democrats' bet paid off. Exit polls showed voters rated abortion rights very closely to inflation as the top concern. In fact, in California, Michigan and Vermont, voters backed ballot measures that essentially made it impossible for state lawmakers to ban abortion. In Kentucky, voters rejected a proposed ballot measure that would have said a constitutional right to an abortion does not exist. Despite President Biden’s poor approval rating among independents, the NBC exit poll showed Democrats narrowly won the independent vote nationally.
President Biden had a good night. He is clearly going to beat the history of mid-term elections. Since WWII, a first term president has lost an average of 27 seats in their first midterm election. However, the final numbers turn out, Republicans will fall far short of that number.
Former President Trump had a bad night. His chosen Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire lost and Blake Masters currently trails in Arizona. Georgia, with Trump endorsed candidate Hershel Walker appears headed for a run-off. He has indicated he plans to announce a run the presidency on November 15th. That announcement so shortly after the disappointing midterm may need to be reconsidered.
We also saw a few historic moments last night:
- Maryland elected Wes Moore, their first Black Governor.
- Massachusetts elected Maura Healey, first woman and openly lesbian governor.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former WH Press Sec for President Trump was elected first female governor of Arkansas
- Katie Britt, first woman elected to the senate in Alabama
- Summer Lee, first Black woman elected to Congress in Pennsylvania
- Becca Balint, first woman and first openly gay person Vermont sends to Congress.
- Kathy Hochul, first woman elected governor of New York.
- Maxwell Frost (Age 25) was elected the first Gen Z member of Congress in Florida.
We don’t know the final outcome yet. But voter turnout was high. Elections are decided by voters, not pollsters or pundits. The American people sent the message they wanted through their individual votes.