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Midterm elections see key runoff, razor-thin races as Senate and House control hangs in the balance

The Georgia Senate race is headed to a runoff, and results are still being tallied elsewhere. It's unclear who will control the House and the Senate after Democrats exceeded expectations.

Latest midterm election news

  • Which party will control the House and the Senate remains unclear as votes are still being counted and key races remain too early to call, including the Arizona and Nevada Senate races.
  • The Georgia Senate race is headed to a Dec. 6 runoff after neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker topped the 50% required under state law to win on the first ballot.
  • Democrats largely exceeded expectations but they unexpectedly fell short in other contests. One Democratic incumbent who won't be returning to Congress is Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm.
  • Republicans Ron Johnson and J.D. Vance notched wins in the Wisconsin and Ohio Senate races, respectively, and the GOP swept key races in Florida. Vance, the “Hillbilly Elegy” author who was a searing Donald Trump critic before he converted to a loyal ally, defeated Democrat Tim Ryan.
  • In his first public remarks since Tuesday’s midterms, President Joe Biden said Democrats had a “strong night” after a predicted GOP red wave “didn’t happen.” He later spoke with House Minority Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who earlier in the day declared his candidacy for speaker if Republicans control the House.
21d ago / 4:30 AM UTC

GOP starts boosting Walker in runoff amid calls to keep Trump away from Georgia

The head of the Senate Republican campaign committee pledged Wednesday to raise whatever money he can and begin an advertising blitz this week for Herschel Walker’s runoff in Georgia against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

But there’s one aspect Sen. Rick Scott of Florida won’t weigh in on: whether former President Donald Trump should stay out of the runoff in December.

GOP insiders faulted Trump, who has had a toxic relationship with popular Republican Gov. Brian Kemp even though he endorsed him the day before his re-election, for costing the party control of the Senate in two simultaneous runoffs last year, after Trump lost his re-election bid to President Joe Biden and then advanced false conspiracy theories about voting that led many Republican voters in Georgia to stay home.

Warnock won his race against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and Sen. Jon Ossoff defeated GOP incumbent David Perdue, swinging control of the narrowly divided chamber.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 4:27 AM UTC

Maricopa County officials apologize for Arizona ballot reader issue

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, apologized Wednesday for issues with printers that prevented some ballots from being read by machine and reassured that all votes will be counted.

"To impacted voters, we recognize this isn’t how you pictured Election Day & we apologize for that inconvenience. We are committed to counting all legal votes and then finding the root cause of what happened so that it does not happen again," the county's Board of Supervisors tweeted.

In a statement, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman said, “All ballots will be counted securely and accurately."

The issue with printers occurred at about 70 of the county’s 223 voting locations, the officials said. Printer settings were later changed, fixing the problem. About 7% of the voters who cast ballots on Election Day — or about 17,000 people — were affected.

The problem in the state’s most populous county, which is home to Phoenix, prompted former President Donald Trump to claim it was a “disaster.”

Election workers sort ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix on Nov. 9, 2022.
Election workers sort ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix on Wednesday.John Moore / Getty Images
21d ago / 4:13 AM UTC

New Hampshire’s James Roesener is first trans man elected to a state legislature

James Roesener of New Hampshire is the first transgender man elected to a state legislature in the U.S., according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports queer candidates running for office.

With 79% of precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, Roesener, a Democrat, had won with 55% of the vote, while Republican Dennis Soucy had 45%, according to The New York Times, citing Associated Press data and race calls.

Roesener, 25, who lives in Concord with his wife and cat, “was born an advocate for the underdog,” according to his campaign website.

“I believe that it is imperative that all individuals have the ability to thrive in New Hampshire,” it says.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 3:15 AM UTC

Here are the Black candidates who made history on election night

record number of Black candidates from major parties ran for high office in the midterm elections. While it’s too soon to determine which party will control the House and the Senate, some states are already celebrating Black historic wins in races for jobs like governor to secretary of state.

“There’s an electorate, Black people are the center of it, who are understanding our political power,” said DaMareo Cooper, a co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a progressive advocacy group. “People are thinking about how their voice, and people who come from our community, should be the representatives and deciders for the type of society we want to develop that’s inclusive for everybody.”

The midterms brought a pair of historic victories in Maryland. The first was by Democrat Wes Moore, who beat Republican Dan Cox, to become Maryland’s first Black governor and only the third Black governor in the country. Second, the state gained its first Black attorney general, Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, who defeated far-right Republican Michael Peroutka. 

“It is not lost on me that I’ve made some history here tonight, too. But I also know I’m not the first one to try,” Moore tweeted late Tuesday. “This is just more proof that progress is possible in Maryland. And I am humbled to be a part of this legacy.”

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 2:53 AM UTC

Biden speaks with McCarthy as House control remains too early to call

President Joe Biden spoke on the phone Wednesday night with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who earlier in the day announced his bid for House speaker should the GOP win control of the chamber.

Asked by reporters at the Capitol about the call, McCarthy said it was "good."

The White House did not provide any details about the conversation.

Control of the House is too early to call, according to NBC News projections. Key races in California and other Western states have yet to be called.

21d ago / 2:30 AM UTC

‘So much relief’: South Dakota voters pass Medicaid expansion

South Dakotans voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, providing tens of thousands of impoverished people with access to health care and dismissing state GOP attempts to sink the effort.

With 56% of the vote, the successful ballot initiative should practically ensure that more than 40,000 people gain access to the program when it takes effect in July. Many would not have had access to health care otherwise.

For residents like Sarah Houska, the decision is life-changing. In the summer of 2021, she had to leave a job that provided health insurance to care for her 5-year-old son, who needed intensive medical care.

Although she has since taken a part-time job at a dental office, Houska, 29, said she lives with the worry that if she develops any health problems, her family could lose stability.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 2:03 AM UTC

Counting in Nevada's Clark County continues after 56,900 mail ballots were received on Election Day

Election officials in Nevada's largest county said Wednesday that they received about 56,900 mail ballots on Election Day.

The ballots are contributing to what has become a lengthy tabulation of results that could decide which party controls the Senate.

Clark County election officials said they are still days from completing their tallies.

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Adam Laxalt.

NBC News’ latest tally shows Laxalt at 423,214 votes statewide to Cortez Masto’s 405,411, with 81% of expected votes in. The race is too early to call, according to NBC News.

Clark County's registrar of voters, Joe Gloria, is expected to host a news conference Thursday afternoon to provide more details.

Earlier Wednesday, Gloria said election officials had counted and posted the in-person votes cast on Election Day but were still tabulating ballots deposited in drop boxes and mail ballots, which, if postmarked by Nov. 8, can still be counted if they arrive by Saturday.

An election worker tabulates mail-in ballots at the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas on Nov. 9, 2022.
An election worker tabulates mail ballots at the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas on Wednesday.Gregory Bull / AP
21d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

Eric Sorensen becomes first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Illinois

Democrat Eric Sorensen has won Illinois' 17th Congressional District race, beating Republican Esther Joy King, NBC News projects.

With 88% of precincts reporting Wednesday night, Sorensen had 51.8% of the vote, while King had 48.2%.

Sorensen, who is gay, is the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Illinois.

Before he announced his candidacy, Sorensen spent over two decades as a weather forecaster in Illinois, and he is the first meteorologist elected to Congress in more than 50 years.

“There is not a single climate communicator in Congress who matches the communication and climate science backgrounds of Eric,” Sorensen’s campaign website reads.

21d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

Latino Republican voters are more progressive than white Republican voters on key issues, exit polls find

and

Latino Republican voters appear more progressive than white Republican voters on key issues like abortion and climate change, according to NBC News exit polls.

While they are likeminded on some issues, there are significant differences in others. There is a 20 percentage-point gap between Latino and white Republican voters on the issue of abortion: Around 46% of Latino Republicans said abortion should be legal, compared to 26% of white Republican voters.

Latinos who voted Republican in House races were also more likely to say climate change is a somewhat or very serious problem. Around 57% of Latino Republican voters held that view, compared to 45% of white Republican voters.

Latino Republican voters, at 29%, were nearly twice as likely to approve of Biden’s federal student debt cancellation plans compared to white Republican voters, at 15%.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 12:26 AM UTC

Alaska Senate race headed to ranked choice runoff

The Alaska Senate race is headed to the ranked choice runoff process, as no candidate on the ballot, including the top two vote-getters, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski and GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka, will reach 50%, according to NBC News.

However the eventual winner of the contest shakes out, the seat will remain in GOP hands. The ranked choice voting system is a method that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

In ranked choice elections, voters identify a first choice on their ballots, then rank the other candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of first-choice votes on the first count, the election moves to an instant runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and ballots cast for that candidate are recast for voters’ second choices. The process repeats until a candidate reaches a majority.

In 2020, Alaska voters approved a move to nonpartisan primaries that send the top four vote-getters to ranked choice general elections.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 12:03 AM UTC

Schumer says Democrats are 'feeling good' about keeping majority after pundits 'missed it'

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that Democrats are “still feeling good” about the outstanding races that will determine whether they keep control of the chamber.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Schumer referred to predictions of a "red wave" that failed to materialize, adding that voters rejected "the Republican MAGA agenda."

"I think the pundits missed it," he said. "People are really worried about democracy. And it may not have been when they answered a poll question, but I think it played a much greater role than people realized."

As of Wednesday night, Democrats and Republicans will each have 48 seats in the Senate, according to NBC News projections, with four seats yet to be called.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returns to the Capitol on the morning after Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., returns to the Capitol the morning after Election Day.J. Scott Applewhite / AP
21d ago / 11:28 PM UTC

Abortion rights advocates see a flurry of post-Roe victories in midterms

Voters in states across the political spectrum chose to enshrine abortion rights Tuesday, a major victory for reproductive rights advocates in the first national election since the fall of Roe v. Wade in June.

There was a record number of abortion-related proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: Five states had midterm ballot initiatives, while another, Kansas, voted on a measure over the summer concerning abortion protections.

Voters in Kentucky, a Republican stronghold that has a near-total ban on abortion, rejected an initiative to amend the state constitution to explicitly say there is no right to an abortion. Had it been approved, it would have made it nearly impossible to legally challenge anti-abortion legislation in Kentucky.

NBC News projections showed that over 52% voted against the measure. While the amendment’s defeat will not change whether Kentucky residents have access to abortion if the state Supreme Court continues to allow a ban that is being challenged, abortion rights advocates were thrilled by voters’ support.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 10:45 PM UTC

Biden says he will make decision about 2024 bid ‘early next year’

President Joe Biden reiterated Wednesday that he intends to run for re-election, saying he is likely to firm up his decision by "early next year."

"My guess is it would be early next year that we would make that judgment," Biden told reporters at the White House in a post-midterms news conference.

Asked whether Democrats' performance at the polls Tuesday had influenced his 2024 plans, Biden said: "Our intention is to run again. That’s been our intention regardless of what the outcome of this election was."

Biden said Democrats had "outperformed anything anyone expected," noting that so-called MAGA Republicans had not flipped as many seats as had been predicted, but he added that his decision to run for re-election would be made together with his wife.

"This is ultimately a family decision," Biden said, adding that he didn't feel "in any hurry" even though former President Donald Trump has signaled he'll announce his own 2024 plans next week.

21d ago / 10:35 PM UTC

What the midterm election results mean for inflation and the economy

With nearly one-third of midterm election voters indicating inflation as their top concern this year, attention now turns to what the new political alignment in Washington will mean for tackling the issue.

But with multiple key races still up for grabs of Wednesday, it is too soon to say exactly how federal lawmakers would address the rampant price increases.

Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada remained undecided Wednesday afternoon, while the fate of the House, even with Republicans in the lead, was also still unknown.

Were they to gain full control of Congress, Republicans have pledged to roll back the Biden administration’s spending efforts, which opponents of President Joe Biden blame for inflation.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 10:08 PM UTC

Biden touts 'strong night' for Democrats after predicted red wave 'didn't happen'

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Democrats had a strong showing in the midterm elections after a predicted GOP red wave did not materialize.

"While any seat lost is painful — some good Democrats didn’t win last night — Democrats had a strong night," Biden said in remarks at the White House. "While the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red wave, it didn't happen."

Ahead of the election, Biden had repeatedly suggested that democracy was on the ballot, and he leaned into that message Wednesday.

"Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are," he said.

Biden insisted that voters "sent a clear and unmistakable message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country."

Voters in California, Vermont and Michigan opted Tuesday to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions, while voters in Kentucky rejected a ballot proposal that would have amended the state constitution to say it doesn't protect abortion rights.

President Joe Biden at the end of a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House on Nov. 9, 2022.
President Joe Biden at a news conference at the White House on Wednesday.Susan Walsh / AP
21d ago / 9:50 PM UTC

Dominion points to ‘printing issue’ after N.J. county reports issues with ballot scanning

Dominion Voting Systems said Wednesday that purported issues with ballot scanning in Mercer County, New Jersey, on election night were a result of a “printing issue.”

“The Dominion tabulators functioned exactly as they should by rejecting incorrectly printed ballots,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. “We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this issue.”

Dominion’s statement came after officials in Mercer County asked the local prosecutor to look into issues with machines that they said failed to scan ballots Tuesday.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello said Wednesday in a phone interview that the ballots the Dominion machines could not scan were ultimately counted at a Board of Elections office in a process supervised by a bipartisan commission.

"We are not suspicious of any specific wrongdoing, but we do need to investigate the matter fully," she added.

In an email, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the clerk had gotten in touch.

Dominion was the subject of a string of unfounded conspiracy theories and baseless claims after the 2020 presidential election. It sued Fox News, as well as some Trump allies and right-wing broadcasters, alleging defamation.

21d ago / 9:21 PM UTC

Mike Pence writes op-ed about 2020 election pressures from Donald Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal discussing his final days working with former President Donald Trump in the White House.

The piece, adapted from Pence's memoir, which is set for release next Tuesday, was published Wednesday afternoon as Republicans have begun debating whether Trump was to blame for their lackluster election night.

The excerpt includes snapshots of Pence's interactions with Trump after the 2020 election as Trump and his allies tried to pressure him to help overturn Joe Biden's victory.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Trump "laid into" Pence, the former vice president wrote. "'You’ll go down as a wimp,' he said. 'If you do that, I made a big mistake five years ago!'"

"But when he said, 'You’re not protecting our country, you’re supposed to support and defend our country!' I calmly reminded him, 'We both took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.'"

The op-ed comes a day after Election Day in a cycle in which many Republican candidates who cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election were elected. It also comes ahead of a speech Trump said he plans to give next Tuesday, which he has teased will be his announcement of a third White House bid.

21d ago / 9:18 PM UTC

In partisan state Supreme Court races, GOP sweeps Ohio and flips North Carolina

Closely watched state Supreme Court races, in which divisive issues such as abortion rights and redistricting fueled political donations and record campaign fundraising, ended with mixed results on Election Day.

Republican-affiliated justices retained their 4-3 majority on the Ohio Supreme Court by sweeping all three open seats over their Democratic challengers, while Democrats held on to at least one of two vacant seats on the Illinois Supreme Court, blocking Republicans’ attempt to wrest control of the court for the first time in 50 years.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 9:09 PM UTC

The midterm election’s biggest losing bets: Two measures seeking sports gambling in California

Nearly a half-billion dollars were poured into campaigns aimed at bringing sports gambling to California at tribal casinos and online, in what turned out to be the biggest losing bets of this political season.

Propositions 26 and 27 not only lost; they went down in overwhelming numbers rarely seen in modern 50-50 politics.

Proposition 26, which sought to bring point spreads to Native American casinos, was rejected by 70.1% to 29.1%, with nearly all precincts reporting, tallies showed Wednesday. Meanwhile, Proposition 27, the measure that sought to legalize online sports betting, went down to even greater defeat, 83.3% to 16.7%.

“This might go down in history in the Michael Bloomberg Hall of Fame,” said Dan Schnur, a campaign finance reform advocate, poking fun at Bloomberg’s brief $1 billion presidential run in 2020.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 9:08 PM UTC

Nevada's largest county still days from completing ballot count

LAS VEGAS — Clark County election officials said Wednesday they are still days from completing ballot counting in the state’s largest county, leaving up in the air the results of a contest that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. 

Elections officials here have counted and posted the in-person votes cast on Election Day, said Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria, but are still sorting through tens of thousands of ballots that have come through the mail and were left in drop boxes. In Nevada, mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 8 can arrive through Saturday and still be counted.

Just under 15,000 ballots will be processed throughout the day and reported tonight, Gloria said at a news conference. He added that he expects the county to update vote totals once a day. 

The counting continues as Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is attempting to cling to her seat as Republican Adam Laxalt ran up sizable margins in the state’s 15 rural counties. With 80% of expected votes in, NBC News’ latest tally shows Laxalt at 418,461 votes statewide to Cortez Masto’s 395,866. 

21d ago / 9:04 PM UTC

Montana rejects ‘born alive’ ballot measure

Montana voters rejected a ballot measure that would have required health care providers in the state to take “reasonable actions” to save an infant who is born alive, including after an attempted abortion, or face felony criminal charges.

The measure would have made clear that infants who are born alive — meaning with a heartbeat, breath or definite voluntary muscle movement — are legal persons, who require “necessary actions” by medical providers to preserve their lives.

The proposed punishments for convicted health care providers were up to 20 years behind bars and a maximum $50,000 fine.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said such a “cruel” law would mandate aggressive treatments in extremely complex situations, which could “prolong suffering and deny families the choice to offer comfort or spiritual care.”

21d ago / 8:20 PM UTC

GOP-backed school board candidates fare poorly in Texas suburbs

A slate of five conservative school board candidates backed by the Republican Party of Texas failed to win a single seat in a hotly contested election in the suburbs north of Austin — a victory for progressive and moderate parents who’d been working to beat back recent conservative gains on suburban Texas school boards.

Following a playbook that’s been repeated in school board races nationwide, the five conservative candidates in Round Rock — including one whose slogan was “Teach ABCs + 123s, Not CRTs & LGBTs” — were backed by a local political action committee that pledged to restore conservative values in public schools.

The nonpartisan race got ugly, with one incumbent school board member alleging she received harassing messages by mail, including one package that contained used feminine products, according to NBC affiliate KXAN. The Texas GOP, which had promised to get more involved in nonpartisan local school board races, spent more than $16,000 on mailers promoting the five candidates, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.

Despite the investment, all five candidates lost by wide margins in a suburban county that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott won narrowly. In total, the state Republican Party endorsed 11 school board candidates in Tuesday’s elections; all but two of them lost by wide margins. School board candidates running on platforms focused on critical race theory and sexually explicit library books also performed poorly in the nearby Leander Independent School District, and in a pair of right-leaning suburbs outside of Houston.

21d ago / 8:20 PM UTC

What the midterms mean for a possible Trump-Biden rematch in 2024

Former President Donald Trump was demonstrably weakened — and President Joe Biden strengthened — by Tuesday’s midterm election results, just as the two begin to circle each other for a possible 2024 rematch.

Even with several key race calls outstanding, Republicans failed to generate the “red wave” Trump had predicted. Many of his favored candidates in marquee races, including election deniers in key swing states, lost to Democrats. And Trump’s most formidable potential rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, won re-election in a 20-point romp.

Though Democrats could still lose at least one chamber of Congress as of Wednesday morning, an outcome that could shut down Biden’s legislative agenda and lead to investigations of his administration, Biden and his party emerged in a stronger position than was expected. Critics in his own party fell silent Tuesday night. And Biden allies said they believe he is on track to win a second term.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Where are the remaining votes in Arizona and Nevada?

All eyes are on Arizona’s and Nevada’s Senate races, but where are the remaining votes?

As of Wednesday afternoon, about 31% of the vote remains in Arizona. Maricopa and Pima counties account for the lion’s share of those votes, with more than 500,000 ballots between them. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is leading in both of those counties.

Outstanding vote count in Arizona as of 2:42 p.m. ET
Outstanding vote count in Arizona as of 2:42 p.m. ET

Approximately 20% of the vote remains in Nevada. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has the most outstanding ballots, with more than 100,000 remaining. Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is leading in Clark. But Republican Adam Laxalt is leading in Washoe, where more than 70,000 ballots remain.


Outstanding vote count in Nevada as of 2:42 p.m. ET.
Outstanding vote count in Nevada as of 2:42 p.m. ET.
21d ago / 7:48 PM UTC

Cyber watchdog says no signs of election compromise

Jen Easterly, the director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said Wednesday that the cyber watchdog had seen no signs of interference in the election.

“We have seen no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was any way compromised in any race in the country,” Easterly said in an emailed statement.

She also thanked American poll workers for the “safety, security, and integrity of our elections” and urged patience while poll workers tabulate votes and audit results.

21d ago / 7:40 PM UTC

Republican Lee Zeldin concedes to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks at an election night event in New York on Nov. 8, 2022.
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks at an election night event in New York.Julius Constantine Motal / NBC News

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., conceded on Wednesday afternoon to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul after she was elected to a full four-year term.

In a statement shared on his verified Twitter account, Zeldin wrote: "I would like to congratulate New York Governor Kathy Hochul on her election to a full four year term."

"This once in a generation campaign was a very close margin in the bluest of states," he wrote. "If not for the dedicated, hard work of grassroots volunteers & supporters this incredibly close race wouldn’t have been possible."

Hochul took office last year after the resignation of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.

She led in the polls for much of the midterm cycle, but the race tightened in recent weeks as Zeldin emphasized issues such as crime. With 92% of expected votes in, NBC News has projected Hochul the winner of the race.

21d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

Ticket-splitting voters made a difference in the 2022 election

In the 2022 midterm election, many voters split their tickets between different parties in high-stakes races for governor and Senate, and it made a difference in the outcomes, according to NBC News projections.

In Georgia, with 99% counted, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has 181,000 more votes than Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker. Kemp handily won his race for re-election while Walker failed to reach the 50% threshold in the state and was forced into a runoff.

In Pennsylvania, with 94% counted, Democratic Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro has 276,000 more votes than Democratic Sen.-elect John Fetterman. Shapiro won his race by double digits while Fetterman leads his race by a few points.

In Wisconsin, with 94% counted, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is carrying over 45,000 more votes than Democrat Mandela Barnes. Evers won his race while Barnes lost to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

In some cases, the ticket-splitters were crossover voters backing a Democrat and Republican; in other cases they may have voted in one of the races and left their ballot blank in another.

21d ago / 6:54 PM UTC

Photo: Michigan voters backed abortion rights amendment

Image:
Supporters await results for Prop 3 in Detroit on Tuesday. Ryan Sun / AP
21d ago / 6:45 PM UTC

White House buoyed by early midterm results as Biden avoids fate of his predecessors

President Joe Biden appears to have pulled off something few of his recent predecessors managed: a midterm election that wasn’t a clear shellacking for his party, providing a sense of vindication for the White House. 

While it remains unclear whether Democrats will maintain control of Congress, Biden and his party have avoided the “red wave” that some strategists predicted was going to be fueled by record inflation and economic woes.

Biden’s losses are likely to tally far fewer than President Barack Obama suffered in 2010 or President Donald Trump in 2018. 

The results give validation to a White House that for weeks has been making the case that Biden’s policies — from student debt relief to infrastructure investments — were widely popular with voters and that their strategy of touting those accomplishments would pay off. One Biden adviser said there was a feeling of vindication in the West Wing on Wednesday morning, particularly with the loss of some Trump-backed candidates who had continued to push falsehoods about who won the 2020 election.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

McCarthy launches bid for speaker even as House control remains undecided

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., officially announced Wednesday that he plans to run for speaker of the House. NBC News has not yet projected which party will control the lower chamber, but the Decision Desk has estimated that the GOP is on track to have a narrow majority in the House.

"While a number of races remain outstanding, I can confidently report that we will ... build on our significant gains from last cycle, and achieve our goal of taking back the House," McCarthy wrote in a letter to his conference.

McCarthy would be the leading candidate to hold the gavel if Republicans win the majority. He has served as minority leader since 2019 and has served in GOP leadership since 2009, after becoming a member of the House in 2007.

He added that he will be “a listener every bit as much as a Speaker.” McCarthy, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, outlined the focus of a Republican majority, including ending proxy voting and tasking committees with drafting and marking up bills.

No other Republican has announced whether he or she would challenge McCarthy for speaker. If the GOP takes control, House Republicans would be expected to hold an informal vote for speaker behind closed doors in the next few weeks. A formal floor vote for speaker would take place once the new Congress convenes early next year.

Image: Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at an election night event in Washington.Alex Brandon / AP
21d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

What the midterms mean for a possible Trump-Biden rematch in 2024

Former President Donald Trump was demonstrably weakened — and President Joe Biden strengthened — by Tuesday’s midterm election results, just as the two begin to circle each other for a possible 2024 rematch.

Even with several key race calls outstanding, Republicans failed to generate the “red wave” Trump had predicted. Many of his favored candidates in marquee races, including election deniers in key swing states, lost to Democrats. And Trump’s most formidable potential rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, won re-election in a 20-point romp.

Though Democrats could still lose at least one chamber of Congress as of Wednesday morning, an outcome that could shut down Biden’s legislative agenda and lead to investigations of his administration, Biden and his party emerged in a stronger position than was expected. Critics in his own party fell silent Tuesday night. And Biden allies said they believe he is on track to win a second term.

“To run against Trump, the president just needs to keep doing his job,” Cedric Richmond, the co-chairman of Biden’s 2020 campaign and a former top White House official, said Tuesday before polls closed. “What the president has tried to do and what he’s accomplished is popular.”

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 6:31 PM UTC
21d ago / 6:17 PM UTC

Pelosi praises Virginia Rep. Luria, who lost to Republican challenger

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed admiration Wednesday for Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, a moderate Democrat who lost her re-election bid to Republican challenger Jen Kiggans.

"Congresswoman Elaine Luria is a patriot, whose determination to defend our Democracy has earned the respect of her colleagues and so many across the country," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

Pelosi praised Luria's service in the U.S. Navy and the way she applied her "military expertise" on the House Armed Services Committee and other assignments. The speaker singled out Luria's work on the congressional committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"In the wake of the staggering January 6th attack, she inspired all freedom-loving Americans with her principled, bipartisan and unifying work to protect our precious Democracy on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack," Pelosi said, referring to Luria.

21d ago / 6:16 PM UTC

DCCC Chair Maloney acknowledges his defeat and celebrates strong night for Democrats

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, acknowledged his defeat as he spoke to reporters Wednesday.

“In this life, how you handle defeat is as important as how you handle success. And we had an equal measure of both last night,” Maloney told reporters during a post-election briefing at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. “I want to thank my Democratic colleagues for their support.”

Maloney said his team at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee still does not know which party will control Congress next year; there are still many races that are too close to call.

“I will leave it to others to make predictions. We’re going to do it the right way,” he said. “And if we fall a little short, we’re going to know that we gave it our all and we beat the spread, and I want to thank our candidates who were remarkable, whose hard work and dedication fueled the defense that defines what happened last night.”

Maloney added that he had called his GOP opponent, Mike Lawler, to congratulate him on his victory. NBC News, however, has not yet made a projection in that contest.

“There’s still a beating heart to American democracy, and I think you saw it last night. They’re not giving up on people with common sense and good values,” he said.

21d ago / 6:11 PM UTC

Republican finger-pointing begins as control of Congress is still up in the air

As the political world settled in for a long wait to know who will control Congress, Republicans began debating whether former President Donald Trump was to blame for their lackluster election night.

Republicans could still take control of both the House and Senate, but their predictions of a massive red wave sweeping the country fell short, as some major Trump-backed candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania were defeated, while key races in Arizona and Nevada were still too close to call Wednesday. The Georgia Senate race is headed to a December runoff, NBC News projects, making it increasingly likely that control of the upper chamber won’t be decided until then.

“Now that it’s obvious the @gop should expel the Trump family from its future lexicon,” Trump critic and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted Wednesday morning.

Trump hosted an election night party at his Mar-a-Lago estate that was expected to be an opportunity for him to take credit for many of his endorsed candidates scoring big victories. Instead, Trump gave a very short, lackluster speech and then quietly watched the returns while eating dinner with a small group of close aides.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 6:06 PM UTC

McConnell on midterm elections results thus far: 'I don't deal in feelings'

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As control of Congress hangs in the balance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked how he is feeling about the results of the midterm elections so far that show Democrats outperforming Republicans in some key races.

“I don’t deal in feelings,” McConnell told reporters as he walked to his office. “The question is, they’ve got to count the votes and then we’ll figure out where we are.”

In the months leading up to Election Day, McConnell has said Senate races depend largely on “candidate quality.”

“Senate races are just different, they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said during a leadership news conference in August. “Right now we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”

21d ago / 5:59 PM UTC

Biden to make remarks on midterm elections

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the midterm elections at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

The president will give a speech and take questions from the news media in the State Dining Room at 4 p.m. ET, the White House said.

Biden said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, "Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend, strengthen, and renew it." Saying he'll have more to add later, he thanked poll workers and officials "that worked into the night to safeguard our sacred right to vote. And the millions who made their voices heard."

Biden has also been making calls to winning Democratic candidates, the White House said.

21d ago / 5:50 PM UTC

Arizona's Maricopa County says it received more early ballots on Election Day than in 2020

PHOENIX — With hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted in Arizona, election officials in the state's most populous county say the number of early voting ballots received on Election Day this year appears to have exceeded 2020 numbers.

In 2020, Maricopa County received some 170,000 early ballots on Election Day compared to at least 275,000 in 2022, county officials said in a tweet.

"As this number grows (despite my efforts), we will likely want to have a policy conversation about which we value more: Convenience of dropping off Early Ballot on Election Day or higher percentage of returns with 24 hours of Election Night," Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said in a tweet.

Officials estimate a total of more than 400,000 ballots are left to be counted and verified, and official results are not expected until Friday at the earliest. This includes some 17,000 ballots that were affected by glitches at some polling sites throughout the county. The county says more than 1 million ballots have already been reported.

Candidates in some of the tightest races remained on edge Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said the incumbent is “being patient” today waiting for more ballot drops while his opponent, Republican Blake Masters, tweeted that he is “confident” he will win.

Image: Ballot Counting Continues In Arizona Day After Midterm Election
An adjudication board reviews ballots Wednesday at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix.John Moore / Getty Images
21d ago / 5:48 PM UTC

Republicans pick up Democratic House seat in Arizona

Republicans have picked up the seat held by Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran, who ran for re-election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

NBC News projects that Republican Eli Crane defeated the Democratic incumbent. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rated the race as leaning Republican.

Crane is a combat veteran and Navy SEAL who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

O'Halleran has served in the House since 2017 and represented Arizona's 1st Congressional District, but redistricting led to his running in the 2nd Congressional District, which was much more favorable to Republicans.

The 2nd District is mostly rural and covers the northeastern part of the state.

21d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

Kentucky voters reject ballot measure removing right to abortion

Kentucky voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have amended the state constitution to explicitly say it does not protect a right to abortion, NBC News projects.

At the polls, voters were asked whether they were in favor of adding a new section in the state constitution that states: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

With 82% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, 48.6% of voters said yes and 51.4% said no.

It is a major victory for advocates of abortion rights, who are challenging the state’s “trigger laws” that went into effect over the summer, effectively outlawing abortion, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 5:29 PM UTC

Georgia Senate race heads to December runoff

The Georgia Senate race is headed to a runoff, NBC News projected Wednesday, with neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker topping the necessary 50% required under state law to win on the first ballot.

The runoff will take place Dec. 6, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. Both campaigns were bracing for this Tuesday night as the results came in and showed a close contest.

The contest pitted Warnock, who was elected in a 2020 special election, against Walker, a former football star who was encouraged by former President Donald Trump to run. Walker, a first-time political candidate, drew an early endorsement from Trump and all but cleared the Republican primary field.

Read the full story here.

21d ago / 5:22 PM UTC

Pelosi credits Rep. Maloney with Democrats' success in close races after he conceded

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., credited Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., with helping Democrats win in battleground districts after he conceded his competitive re-election race.

In a statement Wednesday, Pelosi said Maloney, the head of House Democrats' campaign arm, has been "an outstanding leader of the DCCC."

"It is a credit to his vision, his strategic thinking and his leadership that our Members and candidates had the mobilization, message and money to run excellent races and win in tough districts," she said. "Republicans may have gained a Pyrrhic victory with this race because it has clearly come at the expense of other possible Republican wins."

Maloney conceded to his GOP challenger Michael Lawler earlier this morning. NBC News, however, has not yet made a projection in the race.

"Clearly, House Democrats have exceeded expectations," Pelosi said. "With many races continuing to be too close to call, every vote must be counted as cast to determine the final results. As we proceed, we continue to be grateful to Sean Patrick Maloney for the successful operation he led that brought us to this point."

While huddling with House Democrats on a 30-minute call Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi touted the results of the election and gave a shout-out to Maloney, saying he "took an arrow for us," two sources on the call told NBC News. She also told members, "We said we would make our own environment — and we did."


21d ago / 5:08 PM UTC

Rep. Jim Banks announces he'll vie for majority whip if GOP wins House

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Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana on Wednesday told his GOP colleagues that he intends to run for majority whip if Republicans take the House.

In a letter provided to NBC News by his office, Banks cited his tenure as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus with more than 150 members, and talks about his connections with the conservative Heritage Foundation and American Conservative Union. 

Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm, and Drew Ferguson of Georgia, the current chief deputy whip handpicked by the current GOP whip, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also vying for the job.

It’s a position that, assuming Republicans regain control of the lower chamber, will fall third in line behind McCarthy, from California, and Scalise, who is likely to serve as majority leader in a Republican-controlled House.

21d ago / 4:39 PM UTC

Photo: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cruises to re-election

Ron DeSantis with his wife Casey DeSantis and their three children on Tuesday night in Tampa.
Ron DeSantis with his wife, Casey, and their three children on Tuesday night in Tampa.Giorgio Viera / AFP - Getty Images
21d ago / 4:33 PM UTC

Jon Ralston says results in Nevada might not come until the weekend

Longtime Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent said Wednesday that it could take until the weekend for the state's races to be called.

"The state law says they have to count any mail ballots that come in that have been postmarked on Election Day or before by Saturday at 5:00 p.m.," he said on MSNBC.

And because Friday is a federal holiday, Veterans Day, final results may not be in until Saturday, Ralston said.

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is locked in a very tight re-election race with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. NBC News has not yet projected a winner in the contest. (View live results here).

A slew of other races in Nevada — including for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state — all remain too early to call, according to NBC News projections.

21d ago / 4:25 PM UTC

Sen. Ron Johnson defeats Democrat Mandela Barnes to win Wisconsin re-election

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has won re-election to a third term in Wisconsin, NBC News projects, narrowly defeating Democrat Mandela Barnes.

Democrats had initially been hopeful that they could oust Johnson, who was increasingly defined by headlines over his statements on issues like abortion, his perpetuation of dubious and unproven Covid treatments, and his ties to the Jan. 6 riot and fake elector plot to help throw the 2020 election to Donald Trump. 

But a successful rebrand, as well as unrelenting attacks against Barnes on crime and criminal justice issues, appeared to help Johnson’s standing among voters.

Barnes made an early bet to run as a progressive and largely did not move to the center. His campaign focused heavily on promises to protect abortion rights and Social Security benefits.

Read more here.

21d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

Beating back GOP crime messaging, Dems prevail in Harris County, Texas

HOUSTON — In what was seen as a test of the GOP’s national messaging on crime, Democrats have maintained control of local government in Harris County, Texas, the nation’s third most populous county.

Republican Alexandra del Moral Mealer, who’d raised a record-setting $8.6 million in her bid to unseat Democratic Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, conceded defeat on social media Wednesday morning.

With the backing of several Republican megadonors, Mealer had sought to paint Hidalgo as out-of-touch on violent crime, which has increased in Harris County at a similar rate as other major cities since 2020 but is down somewhat in 2022. Republicans had blanked Harris County — which includes Houston and surrounding suburbs — with campaign signs that read, “Tired of violent crime? Vote Republican judges.”

Despite the ad blitz, Democrats were leading by narrow margins in the vast majority of countywide elections Wednesday morning.

21d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Democrats pick up Michigan seat held by GOP Rep. who lost primary after impeaching Trump

Democrats have won a Michigan House seat that has been held by GOP Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his primary after voting to impeach Trump, NBC News projected.

NBC News projected Democrat Hillary Scholten as the winner in that race, defeating. Republican candidate John Gibbs. Democrats boosted Gibbs, backed by former President Donald Trump, during the primary cycle by airing ads in support of him. Gibbs beat Meijer for the GOP nomination after Meijer voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

House Democrats’ campaign fundraising arm spent $425,000 on an ad tying Gibbs to Trump and portraying him as too conservative for Western Michigan.

The race was considered a tossup. President Joe Biden carried Michigan's 3rd Congressional District in 2020. The district includes the city of Grand Rapids and borders part of Lake Michigan.

21d ago / 4:14 PM UTC

Maloney is first DCCC chair to lose his own seat since 1980

Before New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney conceded Wednesday, it had been 42 years since a chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm — the DCCC — lost his own House seat.

California Rep. James Corman ran the committee during President Jimmy Carter’s ill-fated re-election bid in 1980 and was swept out with Carter.

21d ago / 4:08 PM UTC

Pennsylvania Democrat Deluzio wins in a suburban Pittsburgh House district with national implications

Democrat Chris Deluzio has defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer in a hotly contested race in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, NBC News projects.

The race, which took place in the Pittsburgh suburbs, had become the only toss-up contest for an open congressional seat in the six swing states that President Joe Biden won in 2020, according to The Cook Political Report, the nonpartisan analyst of elections. It was a must-win for Democrats to have any hope of retaining control of the House.

Deluzio is set to succeed Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who gave up his seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

Chris Deluzio, Democratic Representative candidate for Pennsylvania
Chris Deluzio speaks Tuesday outside a polling location in Aspinwall, Pa. Justin Merriman / Bloomberg via Getty Images