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The 2022 Pending Election Results

Republicans advanced toward control of the House, but by smaller margins than forecasted and Democrats gained a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, as voters delivered a mixed verdict in an election shaped by concerns about inflation and divisions on cultural and social issues.  Some of the targeted Republican races suggested that the party’s gains in the midterms may be limited and even below historical averages. Since World War II, the party holding the White House has on average lost 26 House seats and four Senate seats.  President Obama’s Democrats lost 63 House seats in 2010, and President Trump’s Republicans lost 40 House seats in 2018.

As of now, the Senate rests at 48-48 with the following tentative outcomes:

  • Georgia - Sen. Warnock (D) led challenger Herschel Walker (R) by a razor thin margin that will likely be decided in a runoff early next month
  • Ohio - JD Vance (R) defeated Rep. Tim Ryan (D)
  • Arizona - incumbent Sen. Kelly (D) defeated challenger Blake Masters (R)
  • Nevada - Adam Laxalt (R) is leading incumbent Sen. Cortez Masto (D)
  • Wisconsin - Sen. Ron Johnson (R) defeated challenger Mandela Barnes (D)
  • Alaska – Sen. Murkowski (R) is leading against K. Tshibaka (R)

House GOP leader McCarthy, who is in line to become speaker with a Republican majority, declared victory early Wednesday before the full results were known; however, Sen. Graham (R-SC) acknowledged in an interview with NBC that the results were “definitely not a Republican wave.”  As Jon Fetterman put in his speech, “we jammed them up, we held the line.”  By early Wednesday, Republicans had won 199 House seats, compared to 172 for Democrats; however, as the day unfolded and based upon the most probable outcome for control of the House, it’s looking like the Democrats flipped six seats and the Republicans flipped 12 and gained eight seats for a total of 221 Republicans to 214 Democrats. The Republicans need at least 218 to claim a majority and there are numerous races still to be decided, and some may be subject to court challenges.

Per the U.S. Elections Project, more than 40 million voters have cast their ballots either by mail or at an early, in-person voting location.  In the 23 states that report the party ID of those voters, 43% have been Democrats, 34% Republicans, and 23% are registered with a minor party or independent.  In Pennsylvania, an even greater amount of the early votes (nearly 70%) have come from Democrats, compared to just 21% for Republicans.  Votes from Democrats outnumber those from Republicans by just 1.6 percentage points in Arizona. In Nevada, registered Republicans are winning the early vote by 0.4 points.

Voters also made decisions on 132 ballot measures across 37 states.  Some of the ballot measures included:

  1. Abortion: Not only will abortion be a key issue in federal elections, but five states will vote directly on the issue. California, Michigan, and Vermont voted to preserve reproductive rights in their constitutions. Kentuckians voted on an amendment affirming that their constitution does not include a right to abortion (similar to the initiative rejected in Kansas in August). Montana voted on a measure declaring that all “infants born alive,” at any stage of development, are “legal persons” and deserve medical care to preserve their life. In Michigan, a state judge has blocked a 1931 law banning the procedure. An amendment on the ballot would overturn the 1931 law
  2. Cannabis: Five states voted on measures to legalize recreational marijuana: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  Maryland and Missouri voted for legalization.  Currently, 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana use; if all five states approve their measures next month, cannabis will be legal in nearly half of the 50 states. With the exception of Maryland, this crop of referenda will be an interesting test of cannabis legalization’s support in Republican-controlled territory. A nationwide poll in 2021 found 47% of Republicans support recreational marijuana legalization, a change from just a few years ago but still less than the 72% of Democrats who support legalization.
  3. Slavery: More than 150 years after slavery was abolished, slavery is on the ballot for voters in five states. Currently 20 state constitutions include language that permits slavery as a punishment for committing crimes or failing to pay debts; the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery nationwide, also includes such language. Voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont had a chance to strike that language from their constitutions, banning slavery completely in the states.
  4. Voting laws: Connecticut and Michigan voted on measures that would ease voting rules: Connecticut to allow in-person, no-excuse early voting, and Michigan to allow ballot drop boxes, nine days of in-person early voting, and no-excuse absentee voting. Arizona and Nebraska will vote on expanded voter ID requirements, while Ohio voted on a constitutional amendment prohibiting local governments from allowing non-citizens to vote. Nevada, which could become the third state, after Alaska and Maine, to institute ranked-choice voting for state and federal elections.