US Midterm Election Results Uncertain as Ballots Are Counted

US Midterm Election Results May Not Be Known Until All Ballots Are Counted

Until all ballots are counted it may be weeks before we know who controls the House. Critical Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania are still undecided.

Historically, the party that holds the White House loses seats in midterm elections. But many hoped anger over the Supreme Court decision on abortion would allow Democrats to buck that trend.

Control of the House

Republicans avoided a “red wave” in the House that top party leaders had feared, but they fell short of their goal to take control. The results reflect a cardinal rule of American politics: it’s not how many votes you win, but where you get them.

With the polls closing in a number of states, Republicans appear to be leaning toward gaining 218 seats. But it’s too soon to call a final count, as states continue tallying votes.

The key Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada remain to be decided. Republicans will likely pick up nine seats, NBC News estimates, but those totals could change significantly as votes are counted. A key test will be whether a Democratic nominee can defeat the Trump-backed Republican candidate in Georgia’s 6th District. Democrat Stacey Abrams is challenging Republican Brian Kemp. Also, Democrat Rep. Ted Budd is projected to win in North Carolina’s 7th District. And GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley will secure another six-year term in Iowa.

Control of the Senate

The battle over control of the Senate may take days or weeks to resolve as votes are counted in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. CBS News projects that both the Arizona and Nevada races are leaning Democratic, while the Georgia race — where incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock is facing a runoff against Republican Herschel Walker — is a toss-up. The outcome of those three states will determine whether Republicans can block President Biden’s legislative agenda.

But despite their hopes for a red wave, Republicans fell short in their bid to regain the House, with more than 218 seats called in favor of Democrats, according to CBS News projections. The GOP’s loss of the House will hamper efforts to push legislation through Congress and will require a supermajority of 60 votes for most cabinet and budget decisions. The Democrat victories in the Senate include Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen and Colorado’s Michael Bennet, as well as Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton.

Control of the Governorships

While much of the national focus on Election Day centered on battles for Congress, 36 governorships were also on the line in this midterm election cycle. Democrats exceeded low expectations in gubernatorial races, defending their incumbent governors in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, while picking up open seats in Massachusetts and Maryland with history-making candidates like Maura Healy and Wes Moore.

In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer defeated Republican Tudor Dixon; in Wisconsin, Tony Evers beat businessman challenger Tim Michels; and in Minnesota, Democrat Tim Walz won a close race against former GOP state legislator Scott Jensen. In these states, Democratic governors will be able to resist Republican efforts to restrict abortion and voting rights.

However, the governorships in Oklahoma and Arizona remain uncalled as ballots are still being counted. CBS News estimates both races lean Republican. If a tie occurs, the balance of power in those states would be decided in a runoff election in December.

Control of State Legislatures

The political landscape is shifting dramatically at the state level. Democrats exceeded expectations by winning competitive governors’ races in traditionally Republican strongholds and flipping state legislatures.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated GOP Sen. Mehmet Oz, a victory that could help Democratic candidates elsewhere in the country.

However, the results from several states remain too close to call. CBS News projects that critical Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada will go to a Dec. 6 runoff if neither candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

Abortion, a key issue in many of these races, has become a rallying cry for Democrats, but Republicans have been able to portray themselves as tougher on crime. If history is a guide, it will take years to rebuild the Democratic majority in state legislatures. And, even then, it may be difficult for them to regain the momentum they lost in this election cycle.

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