As most observers could have predicted, the 2022 midterms are still not fully concluded due to a range of errors, excuses, and technical problems. One thing has been decided for certain; a handful of states appear to be incapable of swiftly completing what should be the simple task of tabulating ballots and recording the results. What hasn’t been decided is control of the US Senate or even the House of Representatives. Additionally, the political fate of one rising Republican star continues to hang in the balance – and, no, it’s not Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Although just 10 seats now separate Democrats and Republicans in the race to control the House in January, the GOP is still expected by most to reach the finish line first. That line is 218 seats and Republicans need to win just seven of the 23 races yet to be called. Several of those elections are still up in the air, with the two leading candidates separated by thin margins. However, the GOP is on track to take the House and the only question is how big a majority they will have in the 118th Congress. It is not going to be very big, either way – but a majority is a majority, and it means control of the committees and subpoena power for investigations, which are certainly on the agenda.
Final Senate Races Dominate 2022 Midterms
Most eyes are on the Senate, though. Both parties are currently projected to win 49 seats, after the Arizona contest was called for Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly late on Friday evening. Races in Georgia and Nevada are yet to be decided. It should be remembered that, for the GOP, 50 Senate seats are not good enough since Democrats will retain control of the upper chamber by virtue of the vice president’s tie-breaking vote. Here is where those last two races stand:
Georgia: The Senate race is going to a runoff set for Dec. 6 because neither Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) nor his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, won 50% +1 of the votes – the minimum needed under Georgia law to be declared the winner. Money is pouring into the Peach State and the Walker campaign has already hauled in a staggering amount to fight for what could be the election that decides control of the Senate. Then again, a close race for one of Nevada’s Senate seats could be the decider, depending on the outcome.
Nevada: Republican Adam Laxalt is hoping to unseat Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Laxalt’s lead in that race has been slowly whittled down to less than 1,000 votes. Two counties have yet to return their results and Cortez Masto leads in both. Even though Nevada’s Democrat governor, Steve Sisolak, has been unseated by Republican Joe Lombardo, it is unclear whether Laxalt can achieve the same success. Democrats would have the 50 Senate seats they need to retain control if Cortez Mesto wins out. The Georgia runoff would be, essentially, moot.
There is another race that has captured a great deal of attention and that is the battle for governor of Arizona. Democrat Katie Hobbs is taking on Republican Kari Lake to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. Firebrand Lake is an up-and-comer in the GOP, a member of the party’s more populist, Trumpist wing who seems determined to go full DeSantis on Arizona if she wins. Lake is trailing Hobbs by around 31,000 votes with approximately 500,000 still to be counted.
Five Arizona counties are yet to return their results. Hobbs leads in three of those counties and Lake in two, though a senior advisor to Lake, Caroline Wren, claimed on Nov. 10 that there was “no mathematical path” to victory for Hobbs.
Win or lose, Kari Lake is set to become another new Republican star. Victory in Arizona would of course help her along that path if she can deliver in a border state with an embarrassing inability to get its act together when it comes to elections.
By Nov. 15 at the latest, the Arizona results are scheduled to be complete. By then, it is almost certain that everything will have been decided, regarding the make-up of the next Congress. Of course, nothing should perhaps be taken for granted, given the utter ineptitude of certain election officials in various states.
All that will remain when the dust settles will be a brutal autopsy of the corpse of Republicans’ 2022 midterms strategy. Then comes the very nasty – or perhaps much over-hyped – brawl between the GOP’s two best hopes for 2024; DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. It should be a pretty quiet few weeks before Christmas, then.
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