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Midterm Election Analysis 2022

Examine what happened in the 2022 midterm elections.

Stephen Webber
Leans Right
Jonathan Good
Leans Left

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Expectations. Going into the 2022 midterms, Republicans were favored to win — and win big. Midterm elections are often considered referendums on the performance of the party in power. With the Biden administration seeing historically low approval ratings for jobs, the economy, and other key swing issues, Republicans were set to take historic wins in the House and Senate. Up until election day, polls showed Republicans in striking distance for races like Maggie Hassan’s reliably blue New Hampshire, key congressional races like unseating Abigail Spanberger in Virginia, and even taking a shot at Hochul’s governor seat in the Democratic stronghold of New York.

Red Ripple. As election results started rolling in, the suspected “red tsunami” fizzled into a wave and, finally, a mere ripple. While outlets have been hesitant to call that the GOP has recaptured the majority in the House, most decision desks say they are poised to take control — albeit narrowly

However, the fate of the Senate is more unclear, with several battleground seats still up for grabs. In Nevada, Adam Laxalt (R) leads incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D), while Senator Mark Kelly (D) is beating Blake Masters (R) in neighboring Arizona. Although these races remain uncalled, if these two races end as they currently stand, control of the Senate will hinge on a December 6 runoff in Georgia between Senator Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R).


Key Outcomes

DeSantis Dominates. When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) first ran for office against Andrew Gillum (D) in 2018, he won his seat by about 30,000 votes in a tightly contested election. Despite a long history of close elections in the state, this year, DeSantis utterly dominated his opponent Charlie Crist (D) — securing 1.5 million votes above his challenger. In addition, Republicans flipped four congressional seats in Florida and even won races in historically blue suburbs of Miami. In his victory speech, DeSantis declared Florida — once the quintessential swing state — a Republican stronghold, saying, “Florida is where woke goes to die.” Already considered a likely contender, DeSantis’ resounding win could serve as a springboard for a 2024 presidential run.

Tampa Bay Times

Fetterman Flies By. Despite concerns over Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s (D) health and a lackluster debate performance, the Democrat clinched the state’s open Senate seat, a crucial pickup for Democrats hoping to retain the majority in the chamber. 

While analysts expected Josh Shapiro (D) to cruise to victory in the governor’s race, the Senate contest appeared much tighter, and the latest polls predicted a photo-finish race. However, multiple outlets called Fetterman’s victory on Election Night, and Mehmet Oz (R) conceded on Wednesday after falling roughly 200,000 votes behind. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Other Notable Calls. Lauren Boebert, a Republican firebrand, is locked in a tight battle with her opponent, Adam Frisch (D). The seat has long been a Republican stronghold, leaning 8-points towards the GOP.

Mayra Flores (R), the Congresswoman who made headlines for flipping a Southern Texas district red in a special election earlier this year, has lost. Flores originally made waves as the seat had been blue for over 70 years.

Congressional Leadership Fund

Hung Cao (R) lost in Virginia while attempting to flip Loudoun County. Although Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) successfully did so in 2021, Cao failed to replicate his victory.

Wiley Nickel (D) and Jeff Jackson (D) managed to flip two Republican districts in North Carolina, weakening the GOP’s control of Congress.

Riding the coattails of gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R), Long Island, NY, flipped congressional seats and came out for Republicans.

Potential Causes

Gen Z. As Democrats defied expectations on Election Night, many sought to determine the source of their overperformance. Some pundits believe a turnout surge among young voters helped prevent the suspected “red wave” from ever manifesting. Voters under 30 overwhelmingly favored Democrats, and some analysts suspect this helped prevent the historic losses they expected. Proponents of this theory, like this NBC reporter, believe pollsters undersampled these young voters, leading them to overestimate Republicans’ chances.

Trump’s Impact. Some analysts think that former President Trump’s heavy involvement in Republican primaries nationwide may have hurt the GOP. These proponents argue that he promoted weak candidates in several high-profile races, leading to unnecessary Republican losses. Across several battleground states, Trump-backed candidates failed while those Republicans who had bucked the former President fended off challengers.

The Western Journal

Real Top-Ballot Issue. Other analysts suggest that abortion may have been more of a priority for voters than previously thought. Data ahead of the election showed voters’ top issue was economic concerns. Generally, exit polls show President Biden and the Democrats got low marks for their handling of the economy. However, some observers think abortion may have played a more prominent role in the election, leading to Democratic overperformances.

What Comes Next

Too Close to Call. As results come in, both parties’ hopes of controlling the Senate majority could again come down to a runoff in Georgia. Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock both failed to get over 50% of the vote. So, the two will face off on December 6 in a race that will certainly draw the nation’s attention and cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.

Maricopa Madness. Many conservatives are angry after a glitch in voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona. The highly populated county was the site of intense scrutiny following the 2020 elections, with former President Trump making allegations of widespread fraud there. The site is crucial to determining several high-profile races, such as the contests for Senate and governor. While the county has backup methods for voting if tabulators fail, many Republicans were suspicious of the errors and alleged it caused voters to leave the line and miss voting.


Who’s the Real Winner? DeSantis emerged as one of the victors of the night, as Trump-endorsed candidates failed to deliver and the candidates Trump attacked dominated. Democrats also looked good in the Senate and stopped the bleeding in the House races — even managing to flip seats. Republicans will still likely control the House of Representatives and will almost certainly end the January 6 committee — as well as launch investigations and play opposition to the Biden administration.

Left Narrative

Tuesday’s election results are a rebuke of the extremism within the Republican Party. Democrats defied long-standing trends to overperform expectations. It is clear that Americans resoundingly oppose Trumpism in all its forms. The modern GOP is filled with Trump sycophants, election deniers, and insurrectionists. We must beat them.

Left-Lean Narrative

Right-Lean Narrative

The Democrat’s strategy of helping weak Republicans in the primaries paid off. Democrats poured money into Republican elections, tainting the candidate pools. These weak candidates were further supported by former President Trump — who then took to the campaign trail to bash his own endorsement and ruin Republican chances up and down the ballots. The only solace from this election is the absolute victory of Florida and strong Republican leaders. DeSantis (FL), Abbott (TX), and Kemp (GA) — to name a few — have proven to be the future of the Republican party by blowing out their opponents and governing well.

Right Narrative

The mainstream media is an acting arm of the Democratic Party. They have helped cover for Democrats, divide the American people, and hide the radical nature of Democratic politicians. Clearly, election laws also need to be changed. There is no reason we should still be waiting on races in California, New York, and Arizona. In addition, full-scale investigations must take place in Pennsylvania and Arizona over their election practices. Pennsylvania decided to alter voting laws the night of the election, and the same trickery of 2020 appeared in Maricopa County as voting machines mysteriously stopped working.


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