Control of Congress was at stake today (Wednesday) as Democrats showed surprising strength, beating Republicans in a series of competitive races and defying expectations of high inflation and weak endorsement by President Joe Biden would drag the party down.
In the most encouraging news for Democrats, John Fetterman flipped a Republican-controlled Senate seat that is key to the party’s hopes of retaining control of the chamber. It was too early to call critical Senate seats in Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona that could determine the majority. In the House, meanwhile, Democrats retained seats in districts from Virginia to Kansas to Rhode Island, while many districts in states like New York and California had not been called. .
Democrats have also been successful in gubernatorial races, winning in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — battlegrounds critical to Biden’s 2020 victory over former President Donald Trump. But Republicans have retained governors’ mansions in Florida, Texas and Georgia, another battleground state Biden narrowly won two years ago.
With votes still being counted across the country, Republicans still had a chance to take control of Congress. But the results were eye-opening for Democrats who were bracing for steep losses and raised questions about the size of Republicans’ governing majority if they win the House.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican poised to be House Speaker if the GOP takes control of the House, was optimistic the GOP would take control, telling his supporters, “When you wake up tomorrow, we we will be in the majority”. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “While many races remain too close to announce, it’s clear that House Democrats and candidates are far exceeding expectations across the country.”
The outcome of the races for the House and Senate will determine the future of Biden’s agenda and serve as a referendum on his administration as the nation reels from record inflation and worries about the country’s direction. Republican control of the House would likely trigger a series of investigations into Biden and his family, while a GOP takeover of the Senate would hamper Biden’s ability to make judicial appointments.
Democrats faced historic headwinds. The ruling party almost always suffers losses in the president’s first midterm elections, but Democrats hoped anger over the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down abortion rights would inspire their voters to buck the trends historical.
In the Pennsylvania Senate race, Fetterman had faced questions about his fitness for office after suffering a stroke days before the state’s primary, but still beat Republican Dr Mehmet Oz in a reprimand. major to Trump, whose endorsement helped Oz win its competitive primary.
“I’m so humbled,” Fetterman, wearing his signature hoodie, told supporters early Wednesday morning. “This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who has ever been knocked down and risen again.”
Democrats also held a crucial Senate seat in New Hampshire, where incumbent Maggie Hassan defeated Republican Don Bolduc, a retired Army general who initially promoted Trump’s 2020 election lies. but attempted to walk away from some of the more extreme positions he took during the GOP primary. Republicans have held Senate seats in Ohio and North Carolina.
Also in Pennsylvania, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro beat Republican Doug Mastriano to keep the governorship of a key blue presidential battleground state. Shapiro’s victory pushed back a Holocaust denier who some say would not certify a Democratic presidential victory in the state in 2024. Democrats Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Kathy Hochul of New York, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New -Mexico and Maine’s Janet Mills also fended off Republican challengers.
Incumbent Republican governors have had some success. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp won re-election, defeating Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 race. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, two potential future Republican presidential candidates, beat Democratic opponents to win in the country’s two largest red states.
AP VoteCast, a large survey of the national electorate, showed that high inflation and concerns about the fragility of democracy were strongly influencing voters. Half of voters said inflation was factored in significantly, with grocery, gas, housing, food and other costs skyrocketing over the past year. Slightly less – 44% – said the future of democracy was their main concern.
Biden did not take full responsibility for inflation, with nearly half of voters saying higher-than-usual prices were more due to factors beyond his control. And although the president was criticized by a pessimistic electorate, some of those voters supported Democratic candidates.
Overall, 7 in 10 voters said the decision overturning the 1973 abortion rights ruling was an important factor in their midterm decisions. VoteCast also showed the reversal to be widely unpopular. About 6 in 10 say they are angry or dissatisfied, while about 4 in 10 are satisfied. And about 6 in 10 say they support a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion across the country.
There were no widespread issues with ballots or voter intimidation reported across the country, although there were some hiccups typical of most election days.
In the first national election since the January 6 insurgency, some who participated in or were near the attack on the US Capitol were on the verge of being elected. One of those Republican candidates, JR Majewski, who was on the U.S. Capitol during the deadly riot and misrepresented his military service, lost to Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
Democratic Representatives Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton fended off fiery Republican challengers in Virginia districts the GOP had hoped to overthrow.
The 2022 elections are expected to cost $16.7 billion at the state and federal levels, making them the most expensive midterm elections ever, according to the nonpartisan campaign finance tracking organization OpenSecrets.
All House seats were up for grabs, along with 34 Senate seats.
Trump lifted Republican Senate candidates to victory in Ohio and North Carolina. JD Vance, the best-selling author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ beat Congressman Tim Ryan to 10 terms, while Rep. Ted Budd beat Cheri Beasley, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. State.
Trump, who has slotted into races across the country endorsing more than 300 candidates, had hoped the night would end with a red wave he could ride in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but his picks lost high-stakes contests in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Hampshire. After summoning reporters and his most loyal supporters to a watch party at his Mar-a-Lago club, he ended the evening without a triumphant speech. Nonetheless, he took to his social media platform to insist he had had ‘A GREAT EVENING’.
Biden, meanwhile, spent the night calling Democrats to congratulate them on their wins.
In gubernatorial races, the GOP faced unexpected headwinds as it toppled office in conservative Kansas, while Democrats were nervous about their prospects in the race in Oregon, usually a liberal stronghold.
Despite their liberal history, states like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois have elected moderate Republican governors in the past. But this year’s Republican candidates appeared too conservative in those states, handing Democrats easy wins.
Massachusetts and Maryland also had historic firsts: Democrat Maura Healey became Massachusetts’ first elected female governor, as well as the first openly lesbian governor of any state, and Wes Moore became the first black governor in the state. Maryland.
Healey beat Geoff Diehl in Massachusetts and Moore beat Dan Cox in Maryland, while Illinois Governor JB Pritzker beat State Senator Darren Bailey. Bolduc, Cox and Bailey were among the far-right Republicans Democrats spent tens of millions of dollars backing during the primaries, betting they would be easier to beat in the general election than their more moderate rivals.
By SARA BURNETT, JILL COLVIN, WILL WEISSERT Associated Press