By Caitlyn Meisner | Staff Writer
This year’s midterm elections are still being finalized but have resulted in tight races and close calls across the nation.
While some House elections have still not been called, Republicans are one seat away from gaining the minimum majority of 218.
Historically, the president’s party loses seats and power in the midterm elections. Dr. Curt Nichols, associate professor of political science, said Democrats holding a majority in the Senate and not losing many seats to Republicans is anomalous for midterm elections.
“Midterm elections almost always go against the incumbent president’s party; the question is, ‘How much?'” Nichols said. “If you look at 2010, there was a 63-seat loss in Obama’s first midterm [in the House]. If 63 is the upper bounds of what’s possible and Republicans only end up winning 10 or 12 seats, it’s a pretty small win.”
There were notable and tight governor elections this year in Michigan, Nevada, Georgia and Kansas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection. Nichols said DeSantis might be the go-to candidate for Republicans in the next presidential election.
“He easily won in Florida,” Nichols said. “He may be the alternative for a more conservative Republican who’s not Trump.”
While the future of the Senate still hangs in the balance until December with the Georgia runoff, Democrats clinched control of the chamber on Nov. 12.
Dr. Pat Flavin, Bob Bullock professor of political science, said Democrats would likely prefer having power over the Senate.
“If Democrats had to choose, they’d certainly rather have the Senate — if you only get to choose one,” Flavin said. “It’s going to allow them to confirm judges, fill executive branch positions. In that sense, Democrats are going to be able to do more than if they were facing a Republican House and Senate.”
Incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) faced a tough race against Adam Laxalt (R). The race was called in favor of Cortez Masto at 8:44 p.m. on Saturday by the Associated Press.
Cortez Masto won the seat with a 48.8% lead over Laxalt’s 48.1%.
Laxalt’s loss comes despite an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who said that he is running to “win an America First majority” and that Laxalt has his “Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Another tight race was called by the Associated Press at 9:14 p.m. on Nov. 11 for incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D). Kelly was challenged by Blake Masters (R), another Trump-backed Republican.
Kelly won 51.6% of the vote against Masters’ 46.3%.
The fate of Georgia’s Senate representation still hangs in the balance as of 1:24 p.m. on Nov. 9, when the Associated Press said the race would go to a runoff on Dec. 6.
Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) advanced to the runoff. Warnock currently has 49.4% of the vote share, while Walker has 48.5%.
Georgia’s voting rules state that when no candidate gains a majority, the election immediately goes to a runoff, which is held between the top two vote-getters.
John Fetterman (D) won the seat against Mehmet Oz (R) early in the morning on Nov. 9, according to the Associated Press.
Fetterman flipped the Senate seat for the Democrats, increasing their lead over Republicans. This was a key win for the Democrats in the midterm elections; it provided a cushion for them in case Arizona, Georgia or Nevada went Republican. Fetterman won the seat with 51% of the vote share, while Oz took 46.6%.
Alaska’s Senate seat has not yet been called, but it will go to a Republican. The two main candidates are incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Kelly Tshibaka (R).
Tshibaka leads with 44.2% of the vote over Murkowski, who has 42.8% of the vote.
This election can be between two candidates of the same party because voters in Alaska voted in favor of a ranked choice voting system in the general election in 2020. Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates based on preference.
The Alaska Division of Elections said on its website that there are many benefits to this system. Voters can still have a voice in who gets elected even if a voter’s first choice does not win.
House of Representatives
No majority has been called yet in the House of Representatives. Republicans currently have 217 seats.
Flavin said a Republican majority was expected, and he anticipates few legislative initiatives by President Joe Biden.
“In terms of legislation, [there won’t be] much beyond legislation that government has to do on a regular basis like pass a budget,” Flavin said.
Monica De La Cruz (R) won Texas’ 15th Congressional District — the first time the district has ever been represented by a Republican. De La Cruz won with 53.3% of the vote, while Michelle Vallejo (D) received 44.8% of the vote.
De La Cruz ran in 2020 against incumbent Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D), who ran for Texas’ 34th Congressional District this year. She lost to him, but she continued to campaign and pulled out a win in 2022.
Vicente Gonzalez (D) won against incumbent Rep. Mayra Flores (R). He won with 52.7% of the votes, with Flores gaining 44.3%.
Gonzalez, a representative from TX-15, ousted Flores after she was specially elected in June after the seat had been left vacant from resignation.
Nichols said the Trump-backed Republicans performed “rather unspectacularly.” He has seven wins and nine defeats across congressional and gubernatorial races, with five races yet to be called.
“Do candidates matter?” Nichols said. “In some cases — and obviously in close elections — they really can. It was a worse night for Donald Trump than it was a good night for Joe Biden.”