Election day has finally arrived, and with it the end of this troubled campaign season. That’s not to say the results will come quickly. In fact, at many major races across the country, ballots can take days or weeks to be tallied – so beware of hasty declarations of victory.
As the nation waits for the polls to close—and then waits and waits—here’s an introduction to the key issues of this election cycle.
Will there be a “red wave” in the house?
The fundamentals of this election have always been in favor of the Republicans. Historic precedent does not bode well for the party occupying the White House during a midterm election, and stubborn inflation and President Biden’s lackluster approval ratings have done Democrats no favors. Polls over the past few weeks show that these economic concerns are at the forefront, particularly among key independent voters.
Republicans only need five seats to win a majority in the House of Representatives, and most forecasts assume they’ll easily erase that bar, with estimates ranging from 12 to 30 pickups. Whether this qualifies as a “red wave” will be marginalized — a House of Representatives chamber with a slim Republican majority will have a very different tone than one dominated by the GOP. Republicans compete even in counties where Biden has beaten President Trump double digits, like Rep. Katie Porter’s Orange County seat.
Poor performance in blue states bodes ill for Democrats, though some of their incumbents in swing or red states are holding their ground in polls — which could help them avoid a major wipeout. A real wave would also wipe out these vulnerable Democrats.
Is the tide turning in the Senate?
Democrats have virtually no margin for error in maintaining their control of the Senate, and their most vulnerable incumbents are locked in tight races based on public polls. But the party’s prospects are better than in the House, largely because Senate elections are shaped by individual candidates rather than national dynamics.
Over the summer, GOP Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell downplayed expectations that his party would win back the chamber, citing “candidate quality.” Some Republican candidates in the most competitive races have made it through their primary with the power of Trump’s support, even if they haven’t had the broadest appeal to the general electorate. Candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire were seen as relatively weak candidates to take on their state’s otherwise vulnerable incumbents Sens. Mark Kelly and Maggie Hassan.
But political gravity still pulls and races in Arizona and New Hampshire have intensified. The GOP is particularly hopeful that Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto will fall to former Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt, and that soccer star Herschel Walker will oust Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. There is a possibility that Georgia voters will have to go to the polls again on December 6 if neither Walker nor Warnock gets more than 50% of the vote; A run-off election is required under state law if no candidate obtains a majority.
Democrats also have some catching up to do, especially in Pennsylvania. Your candidate, Lt. gov. John Fetterman takes on Mehmet Oz, the well-known TV doctor. Oz’s popularity was smashed during a tough GOP primary, but Fetterman’s candidacy was hampered by a massive stroke from which he is still recovering.
Who will be the governors on the battlefields of 2024?
Every major battleground state is hosting gubernatorial races this year, with repercussions that were felt in the 2024 presidential race. Trump acolytes like Arizona’s Kari Lake and Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano have refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential campaign and questioned whether they would respect the outcome of future elections. While Mastriano, a GOP state legislature, is trailing significantly behind Democratic state Atty in polls. General Josh Shapiro, Lake, a former news anchor, had a much stronger performance against Katie Hobbs, the current Arizona Secretary of State.
In the upper Midwest, Democrats Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Tony Evers of Wisconsin are attempting to fend off challenges from Trump-backed candidates Tudor Dixon and Tim Michels, respectively. Whitmer’s race in particular could have a big impact on a rising star of the party. And speaking of rising stars, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is favored to easily beat Democrat Charlie Crist, but an especially large margin to win could help add to a potential 2024 bid.
What does this mean for the way we conduct elections?
Secretary of State races are usually sleepy affairs, but Trump’s persistent lies about voter fraud have put that position in a new light. Several GOP election deniers are running on battlefields, like Mark Finchem in Arizona and Jim Marchant in Nevada. Her promise to overhaul electoral administration could turn the race for the presidency in key states upside down.
If these candidates win, the impact could be huge. Republicans have sought to limit early voting and absentee voting, a voting method once used predominantly by GOP voters until Trump complained about alleged voter fraud. Citing unsubstantiated voting machine conspiracies, some of the most prominent voter-waiver candidates have also called for lengthy manual counting of ballots, which experts say could result in delayed and inaccurate counts. Others have said they did not confirm the results of the 2020 election and questioned whether they would certify races in the future.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-11-08/midterm-elections-key-races-issues Midterm election results: Key races and issues to watch