By Kyla Guilfoil, Editor-in-Chief
A week after Election Day, some of the country’s top political races are still too close to call. Nonetheless, it’s clear that the “red wave” experts had predicted and that Republicans hoped for did not come.
In fact, the Democrats have actually taken control of the Senate, despite remarkably tight races in critical swing states.
The three major races experts had their eyes on in the days following Election Day were in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.
In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly won the Senate seat over Republican Blake Masters with 52% of the vote, FiveThirtyEight reported on Nov. 12.
Arizona’s northern neighbor, Nevada, had an even tighter race for Senate. Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto claimed the Senate seat from Republican candidate Adam Laxalt with just 1% of the vote, FiveThirtyEight projected on Nov. 12.
The wins in Arizona and Nevada have given Democrats the 51 seats needed in the Senate to claim power of the chamber. However, a highly anticipated Senate race still has not been called.
In Georgia, a winner will not be named until December, as neither Democrat Raphael Warnock nor Republican candidate Hershel Walker were able to take more than 50% of the state’s vote, Georgia state officials said.
Incumbent Warnock won his Senate race in 2020 with a runoff, alongside fellow Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff, who was not up for reelection this cycle. Warnock filled a retired Senator’s seat in 2020, so this is his first full-term race.
Now, with a sliver of a lead over Walker, Warnock is back to a runoff race again. The runoff election is scheduled for Dec. 6, and results could take days to count.
As of Nov. 13, Republicans have 211 of the 218 House of Representatives seats they need to secure power of the legislative body. Democrats have taken 204, according to a FiveThirtyEight count on Nov. 11.
Experts are projecting that Republicans will secure the House, although it’s still too close to call.
President Biden spoke at a press conference on Nov. 9 where he said the “red wave” that Republicans had projected had not come.
“While any seat lost is painful — some good Democrats didn’t win — last night — Democrats had a strong night,” Biden said at the press conference. “And we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic President’s first midterm election in the last 40 years. And we had the best midterms for governors since 1986.”
On the opposite side, at least 14 of former president Donald Trump’s handpicked and endorsed candidates have lost their elections, according to ABC News.
Nonetheless, Trump said on his new social media platform, Truth Social, that Tuesday was a “GREAT EVENING.”
Three of Trump’s high profile candidates, Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and New Hampshire Senate candidate Don Bolduc, have all lost their races.
Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Ron Densantis, who won the Florida governorship by a landslide on Tuesday, is one of several successful Republican candidates who has distanced themselves from Trump.
“This was the end of the Trump era and the dawn of the DeSantis era,” a Republican operative close to the Trump orbit told ABC News. “Like every other Trump catastrophe, he did this to himself with stupid and reckless decisions.”
Beyond Trump-Biden endorsements, voters cast their ballots largely with two issues on their minds: inflation and abortion rights.
Pre-election polls across the country cited crime as a major concern among voters, and many campaigns reflected that. In New York, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin gave incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul a run for her money due to his heavy focus on crime statistics in his campaign.
However, in critical swing states and beyond, voters showed up on Election Day more concerned about inflation and abortion, according to exit polls.
According to ABC News exit polls, about 32% of voters nationwide cited inflation as their biggest issue. Shortly behind, 27% said abortion was on top of their agenda. Crime concerns were reported at a much lower level among voters, ABC News polls said.
While inflation was an expected issue for voters nationwide, earlier polls suggested abortion rights had dimmed in importance for voters since the initial overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.
But on Election Day, a right to abortion won Democrats significant votes. In Pennsylvania, where the Senate race remained razor-thin for weeks, Democrat John Fetterman bested Republican candidate Mehmet Oz with 51% of the state’s vote.
According to ABC News’ exit polls, abortion was the number one issue for voters in the state.
Voters also reported abortion as their number one concern in Michigan, where Democratic incumbent governor Gretchen Whitmer won the race against Republican candidate Tudor Dixon with 54% of the vote, according to FiveThirtyEight.
In Michigan, and four other states, abortion itself was on the ballot.
Voters in Michigan, California and Vermont voted to codify a right to abortion in their constitutions. In Kentucky, voters rejected an amendment that would say there is no constitutional right to an abortion.
In Montana, as of Nov. 11, votes are still being counted for a proposal that would further restrict abortion services in the state.
For more information on this year’s midterm elections, search ‘Manhattan Caucus’ on mcquad.org.