Midterms 2022: A mixed bag nationally for both parties


The results of this years election are in and it appears there is clear variation in them. Design by Brennan Eberwine

Brennan Eberwine

The confetti is still falling from the 2022 Midterm elections races, but one thing is clear: it wasn’t a blowout for either party.

With high inflation, fears of crime and ongoing economic difficulty, Republicans hoped to sweep these midterms and take control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate heading into the 118th Congress. However, as of November 9th, neither chamber can be called for either party yet but Republicans are expected to gain control of the House, though it’s hard to say by how much. It’s most likely the races will draw out as mail-in ballots trickle in.

Nationally, Democrats relied on the strength of their messaging on abortion and President Biden’s successes passing a bipartisan agenda in the past few months, a strategy that seemed to work well in a year when the party in power typically faces humiliating blowouts.

In the Senate, Republicans held onto several seats that became competitive as campaigning wore on, including Ohio’s Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Rob Portman. Venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy” J.D. Vance defeated Representative Tim Ryan in a closer race than expected in an increasingly red state. Ron Johnson, R-WI., also won another term for his seat facing a formidable opponent in Lt. Governor of Wisconsin Mandela Barnes.

Georgia’s faceoff between Senator Rapheal Warnock and football star Herschel Walker is headed towards a runoff in December as neither candidate achieved 50 percent of the vote.

Despite this, Democrats are favored to keep the Senate after victories in Pennsylvania and Arizona, leaving one seat left for control.

The House of Representatives was the chamber with the most likelihood of flipping this cycle and projections still show that is likely, but several vulnerable Democratic incumbents that Republicans hoped to flip kept their seat including Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia and Susan Wild, Matt Cartwright and Chris Deluzio who will replace Rep. Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania.

Republican pickups in the House include in New York’s Hudson Valley where they defeated Sean Patrick Maloney and on Long Island where they now control most of the seats. Rep. Cindy Axne was also defeated in Iowa’s third district leaving the state without a single Democrat in its delegation.

In Governors races Democrats also fared well, winning several races deemed extremely competitive including in Kansas where Democrat Laura Kelly won a second term, Josh Shapiro defeated Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Governor Gretchen Whitmer also fended off Tudor Dixon.

Much like with the Senate seats, Nevada and Arizona have tight Governors races that may take awhile to become clear who wins in. 

Locally, Democrats continued to bleed representatives in the Kentucky General Assembly, with a particularly stinging loss in Bowling Green where Rep. Patti Minter (D-20) was defeated by Kevin Jackson. Democrats now no longer control a single seat in the Central Time zone portion of Kentucky. Other losses include in Eastern Kentucky where House Minority Whip Angie Hatton (D-94) lost her race to Jacob Justice and Southern Louisville where both Jeffery Donohue (D-37) and Charles Miller (D-28) lost their races.

Democrats are blaming the redistricting process that happened after the 2020 Census that was completely in the hands of the Republican legislature.

Bright spots for Kentucky Democrats have been holding onto Louisville’s Mayoral office and Kentucky Senate Minority leader Morgan McGarvey’s victory over Stuart Ray to succeed John Yarmuth.

The waves in Kentucky elections were undoubtedly the two Constitutional Amendments on the ballot, one allowing the Legislature to convene without the Governor’s consent and another clarifying that the Kentucky Constitution makes no exception for abortion. Both amendments were defeated by comfortable margins,ending shockwaves in a state considered one of the most pro-life in the nation.

Voters in Northern Kentucky also rejected Republican Representative Joe Fischer’s bid for Kentucky Supreme Court against incumbent Michelle Keller. Many accused Fischer of running a blantantly partisan campaign where he had signs marketing himself as “the Conservative Republican.” Fisher was also the main sponsor of the constitutional amendment two that was rejected by voters along with him.

In Louisville, incumbent Jefferson County Board of Education candidates faced a slate of challengers responding to recent anger by parents over masking rules and supposed critical race theory in schools. All four incumbents were reelected.

Overall, the 2022 midterms will be remembered as an odd election, bucking the trend of sweeping the party who holds the White House out of power and instead still showing the intensely close split that has characterized American politics in recent years. Based on this measure, it was a bad night for Republicans and a triumph for Democrats despite losing some seats in their liberal strongholds.

Update (11/16): Democrats are projected to control the United States Senate with the victory of Democrat Mark Kelly in Arizona and Republicans are projected to take control of the House of Representatives. Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) has been elected by the Republican caucus as Speaker of the House.