Control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate remained up in the air early Wednesday as states continued to tally votes in tight races across the country. Yet several Republican lawsuits aimed at disqualifying mail-in ballots and some of former president Donald Trump’s supporters are already lobbing baseless claims of electoral fraud.
Thirty-six of the 50 states were electing governors in the midterm elections, and voters in 37 states were also deciding on 132 statewide ballot measures, including reproductive rights and the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, as well as the legality of recreational cannabis use, psilocybin, psychedelic plants and sports betting.
The 2022 election is considered one of the most costly midterms ever, with candidates, parties and campaign groups collectively spending a whopping US$16.7-billion.
Five ways the 2022 U.S. midterm elections will shed light on the state of America’s political transformations
Confirmed wins so far
Republicans were expected to easily assume a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. But slow vote counts and tight results have so far prevented a definitive determination of who will control either chamber of Congress, Nathan VanderKlippe reports. The Republicans needed an additional five House seats and one Senate seat to dislodge the Democrats. They have so far gained several seats in the House but lost one in the Senate.
Notable Republican wins in the House and Senate
- Incumbent Senator Rand Paul defeated challenger Charles Booker, a progressive Black Democrat, to secure a third term in Kentucky.
- Senator Marco Rubio of Florida easily won another term, beating Democrat Val Demings.
- Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Republican who gained notoriety in her first term for incendiary rhetoric that edged into racism, antisemitism and conspiracy theories, was re-elected in Georgia.
- Republican and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, who once criticized Donald Trump before gaining the former president’s favour, won the Ohio senate race.
Notable Democratic wins in the House and Senate
- Lieutenant-Governor John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz, better known as daytime TV’s Dr. Oz, to flip the seat in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
Notable gubernatorial wins
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary for Donald Trump and daughter of former governor Mike Huckabee, was elected governor in Arkansas. She is the first woman to hold that office in the state and the highest-profile member of the Trump administration to win an election.
- Republican Governor Brian Kemp fended off Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in Georgia. The race was a rematch of the close 2018 gubernatorial election, with Kemp winning by a wider margin with the benefit of incumbency.
- Republican Governor Greg Abbott easily won a third term in Texas, defeating his Democratic challenger, former U.S. congressman Beto O’Rourke.
- Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, won re-election for a second term, solidifying his status as a rising star within the GOP and a potential candidate for the presidency in 2024.
- Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer made protecting abortion access in Michigan a central theme of her successful re-election campaign against Republican opponent Tudor Dixon, a Trump-backed conservative commentator.
- Maryland voted overwhelmingly to legalize the possession and use of cannabis, and Missouri voted to end prohibitions on marijuana in the state and allow personal use for those over the age of 21. Meanwhile, North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas voted against the reform.
- Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost has become the first Gen Z member to win a seat in Congress, winning a Florida House seat. The 25-year-old social justice activist and former March for Our Lives organizer stressed stricter gun control laws and opposition to stricter abortion laws. Frost ran in a heavily blue Orlando-area district being relinquished by Democratic Representative Val Demings, who challenged Republican Senator Marco Rubio this year.
- Democrat Maura Healey was elected governor of Massachusetts, becoming the first woman elected to that office and the first openly lesbian governor in U.S. history. In 2015, she became the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected attorney-general of any state.
- Democrat James Roesener became the first trans man to be elected to any state legislature in U.S. history with a win in New Hampshire.
Result of the United States midterm election 2022. The graphic shows the live result of elections to the House and the Senate.
The control of the Senate comes down to four remaining battlegrounds: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin, which are all still too close to call. In Georgia, the race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, the former NFL running back who was among Donald Trump’s most notable picks, will advance to a runoff on Dec. 6 after neither reached the general election majority required under state law, ensuring an expensive, bitter fight that could still determine which party controls the Senate going forward.
Representative Lauren Boebert, one of Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters, is in a tight battle for re-election in Colorado. With almost 90 per cent of the votes counted Wednesday morning, Democrat Adam Frisch had a narrow lead.
Widely seen as one of the closest gubernatorial races in the country, the contest for Arizona’s open governorship pits Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, against former news anchor Kari Lake, a Republican. Several recent polls show Ms. Lake leading Ms. Hobbs by a small margin.
A vote to decide whether Colorado will become the second state, after Oregon, to legalize the use of psilocybin is still too early to call. The reform would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and older and create state-regulated “healing centres.”
A printing malfunction at 60 of 223 polling stations in Arizona’s Maricopa County slowed down voting Tuesday, but election officials said all ballots would be counted. At issue were printers not producing dark enough markings on the ballots, which required election officials to change the printer settings. Still, the issue fuelled conspiracy theories about the integrity of the vote in the state’s most populous district. Mr. Trump, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and others weighed in to claim that Democrats were trying to subvert Republican voters, who tend to show up in greater numbers in person on Election Day.
With files from Adrian Morrow and Nathan VanderKlippe