Here’s where things stand on Wednesday. For the news as it happened on Election Day, read here.
President Joe Biden offered his first public remarks on the 2022 midterm elections Wednesday after the “red wave” that pollsters and analysts had been expecting failed to materialize.
“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident,” Biden said in a message posted on Twitter. “We have to defend, strengthen and renew it.”
With several races still too close to call, Biden said he would have more to say about the election this afternoon. The White House has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know to get up to speed:
- Republicans notch wins, but Dems try to fight ‘red wave’: The red wave of Republican victories that pollsters and analysts projected in the 2022 midterms had not yet come to shore by the time observers went to sleep on Tuesday night, with several of the most-watched midterm elections remaining too close to call.
- Still waiting on House seats to determine control: By midday Wednesday, either side could not decisively claim control of Congress. House seats in New York and California didn’t yet have a winner, nor did Senate seats in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.
- Georgia on our mind: The Georgia Senate race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and former professional football player Herschel Walker will go to a runoff. That contest would take place next month.
- How marquee races ended: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman beat Republican television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s Senate nail-biter. Republican J.D. Vance claimed victory over Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio. And in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis cruised to victory over Charlie Crist, while Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida bested Democratic Rep. Val Demings. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is projected to win reelection in Wisconsin.
- History-making House win: One thing about the House is certain: It will have its first Gen Z member, as 25-year-old Maxwell Frost won election in Florida, taking Demings’ seat.
- Ballot questions answered: Voters in several states weighed in on abortion, voting rights and marijuana.
It’s official: GA Senate race between Warnock, Walker to go to Dec. 6 runoff
The race for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia will head to a runoff, after neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock or Republican Herschel Walker was able to capture a majority of the vote in the state.
The runoff is scheduled for Dec. 6. and could decide who controls the Senate.
– Erin Mansfield
Laura Kelly reelected as Kansas governor
Election officials in multiple states expected vote counting and certification to continue throughout the week. USA TODAY and the USA TODAY Network is on the ground, monitoring what’s happening across the country the day after the polls closed.
Democratic incumbent Gov. Laura Kelly secured a victory in her bid for reelection, fending off Republican challenger and state attorney general Derek Schmidt.
Kelly positioned herself throughout the campaign as a moderate, pro-business Democrat, while Schmidt aimed to paint her as a liberal, Biden lackey whose policies have done little to curb inflation or lower the cost of living.
Though Kansas has long been a Republican stronghold, after the state rejected a potential abortion ban in August, Democrats were hopeful the issue would galvanize voters in their favor. Kelly has been vocal about her support for abortion rights, while Schmidt has said he wants fewer abortions but respects the decision made by the state’s voters.
While the candidates were split on a number of hot-button social issues like school curricula and transgender participation in sports, the driving theme of the race was the economy, with both Kelly and Schmidt pitching themselves as the right remedy for tough times.
– Anna Kaufman
Georgia’s U.S. Senate race will go to a runoff, according to complete vote counts on the state’s website that show Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock finishing with 49.42% of the vote ahead of Republican Herschel Walker and Libertarian Chase Oliver.
Walker finished with 48.52% of the vote followed by Oliver with 2%. The inability for one candidate to claim a majority — 50% plus one vote — forces the runoff. All precincts have reported.
The final tally affirmed what an official with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office announced via Twitter shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday, that it was “safe to say” there will be a runoff for the U.S. Senate.
– Abraham Kenmore, Savannah Now
Democrats powered their way to control of the Michigan House and Senate in Tuesday’s election, marking the first time the party secured a majority of seats in both legislative chambers in nearly 40 years.
The shift is perhaps the starkest sign Michigan voters rejected the “red wave” predicted by Republicans, instead opting for Democrats in more competitive races shaped largely by redistricting.
The Associated Press had not confirmed the results of each race, but current Republican leaders in both the House and Senate acknowledged they lost power and their Democratic counterparts have claimed victory.
While the margins are narrow, Tuesday’s midterm election gives newly reelected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s party power in the state’s upper and lower chambers. That paves the way to any number of policies Whitmer and fellow Democrats failed to make headway on during the governor’s first term and for the years prior in Lansing.
– Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press
GOP candidate Michael Lawler unseated Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., who serves as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in a suburban New York City district that President Joe Biden won easily in the 2020 election.
The campaign drew intense interest from national political funders, who spent $8.8 million to oppose Maloney and $3.7 million to oppose Lawler, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Maloney, a five-term House member, is the second straight DCCC chair to face a challenging reelection.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is the projected winner of the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin, defeating the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, according to CNN, ABC News and NBC News.
A marquee race targeted by both sides for capturing Senate control, the contest was expected to be close, although most polling in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election favored Johnson, according to FiveThirtyEight. A Marquette University Law School poll last week had Johnson up 50%-48%.
“I want to thank my family and everyone who supported me and worked so hard to save this U.S. Senate seat,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I will do everything I can to help make things better for Wisconsinites and to heal and unify our country.”
Johnson, a former plastics company executive first elected during the anti-establishment Republican Tea Party wave of 2010, has been one of Trump’s biggest supporters in the Senate.
– Donovan Slack
Here’s what else to know about Election Day 2022:
At least Georgia election officials have a sense of humor.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s family endured death threats when he refused former President Trump’s entreaties to “find” him votes in 2020. His top deputy Gabriel Sterling had to proffer explanations day after day to shoot down conspiracy theories pushed by Trump and his legal team to try and baselessly overturn the results.
And yet, this week, facing another election with nationwide implications and a Trump-backed U.S. Senate candidate in a squeaky tight race, former NFL star Herschel Walker, Sterling in the wee hours took to Twitter to say, well, bring it.
“While county officials are still doing the detailed work on counting the votes, we feel it is safe to say there will be a runoff for the US Senate here in Georgia slated for December 6,” he tweeted, accompanied by a GIF of fans watching a game in a bar with an all-CAPS caption. “THE ONLY THING THAT COULD MAKE THIS ANY BETTER IS OVERTIME.” Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is leading Walker by only 36,000 votes – within a single percentage-point margin.
There may be another reason for levity in Sterling’s office, though. Raffensperger won reelection yesterday by a nearly 10-point margin.
– Donovan Slack
Sluggish vote counting, slim leads: What’s going on with governors’ races?
Four governor’s races are too close to call as of midday Wednesday, with some sluggish vote counting and Democrats clinging to a slim leads in Kansas and Oregon. Here’s the rundown:
- In Arizona, Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Trump-backed Republican Kari Lake, but only 64% of the votes had been counted. Lake, a former television news anchor, is favored to win, and has refused to say if she will accept the results if she loses. Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, said Tuesday night that tabulating final results could take days.
- In Alaska, incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy was way ahead with 52%. But only 75% of the states estimated votes had been counted. With the state’s rugged and rural terrain, it’s unclear how long the remaining counting will take.
- In Oregon, Democrat Tina Kotek held a slim lead over Republican Christine Drazan all night Tuesday, but the race remained too close to call. The contest represents the best shot Republicans have had in four decades at winning the state’s top elected office.
- In Kansas, Democratic incumbent Gov. Laura Kelly was slightly ahead of Republican challenger Derek Schmidt. Kelly had been polling several percentage points ahead of Schmidt, the state’s attorney general, but the race was within 1.5 percentage points with 99% of the estimated vote counted Wednesday.
Stick with USA TODAY.com for the latest results as they roll in. Looking for a nitty-gritty, blow-by-low on the other governor’s races? We’ve got you covered with this handy recap.
– Donovan Slack
Sarah Huckabee Sanders makes history as Arkansas’ first woman governor
In Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former Trump administration White House press secretary, handily won the governor’s mansion in deep red Arkansas.
Sanders makes history as the first woman elected to the governor’s seat in Arkansas. Her father, Mike Huckabee, previously served as the state’s governor from 1996 to 2007.
“I know it will be the honor of a lifetime to serve as Arkansas’ 47th governor and the first female governor,” Sanders said, to an elated crowd at her election night watch party.
– Ken Tran
Control of the House is being held up in part because of a few tight races in California with Democrats largely on the defensive.
In southern California, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, champion for progressives, is neck and neck with Republican Scott Baugh, at 50.3%-49.7% with half of the votes still yet to be counted.
Just south of Porter’s seat, the same goes for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who is leading Republican Bryan Maryott by only two percentage points at 51%-49% with more than half of the votes still outstanding.
And an anti-Trump Republican in central California who voted to impeach the former president, Rep. David Valadao, is fending off a competitive challenge from California assemblyman and top Democrat recruit, Rudy Salas. Valadao has an eight percentage point lead at 54%-46%, but that’s with only 31% of the votes counted so far.
– Ken Tran
Kentucky’s proposed amendment to its state constitution that would’ve ended the right to an abortion was defeated at the ballot box, making Kentucky the second state to reject such an effort, following Kansas.
“This is a historic win for the people of Kentucky,” Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Protect Kentucky Access, said in a statement released just after midnight. “Not only does it represent a win against government overreach and government interference in the people of Kentucky’s personal medical decisions, it represents the first time so many different organizations have come together with such an intense single-minded purpose to defeat a threat of this magnitude.”
The Associated Press called the race Wednesday morning after about 86% of votes had been counted, with about 53% of voters against it and about 47% for it.
– Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal
Oregon governor’s race is too close to call, with Tina Kotek ahead
SALEM, Ore. – Democrat Tina Kotek held a razor thin lead over Republican Christine Drazan in the Oregon governor’s race all night Tuesday, but the race remained too close to call.
In a short speech at 11 p.m. Kotek thanked her supporters, saying that it was too early to call the race.
Drazan took the stage to thank supporters about a half hour later, and expressed confidence that Republicans would hold the seat when all the votes are counted.
Betsy Johnson, who ran as an independent, conceded early in the evening.
– Tracy Loew, Salem Statesman Journal
Lindsey Graham: It’s not Trump, it’s Biden
Sen. Lindsey Graham says it’s too soon to tell where all the chips will fall, but he knows one thing for certain.
“(It’s) definitely not a Republican wave – that’s for darn sure,” the South Carolina Republican said on NBC News late Tuesday.
He suggested he didn’t want to engage in a premature post-mortem of what Republicans should have done differently. But Graham, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said he didn’t believe Trump’s campaigning with Republicans damaged their chances.
“Not really,” he said. “I think it was a referendum on Biden.”
– Donovan Slack
While Democrats have managed to run better so far than many dire predictions would have it, the head of their campaign arm in the House is facing uncertain re-election chances this morning.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is trailing Republican challenger Michael Lawler 49.4% to 50.6%. That was with roughly 95% of the votes counted in their New York district. The race is still too close to call.
Maloney, a former senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton, was first elected to Congress in 2012 and leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That group – and others trying to elect Democrats – took some heat for spending money during primary races to boost hard-right Trump-backed Republican candidates, ostensibly helping to boost weaker opponents for Democrats.
“My job is to win elections for the Democrats,” Maloney said on “Meet the Press” in August. “I understand that there are difficult moral questions, philosophical questions about tactics. That’s always true in politics.”
– Donovan Slack
In Arizona Senate race, Kelly had the lead
Unofficial ballot returns earlier Tuesday reflected those cast during the state’s early voting period and were Democratic-leaning as many expected. Republicans are expected to dominate ballots counted later, suggesting Kelly’s hold on the race is tenuous.
Kelly now faces the challenge of trying to hold onto that advantage as counting shifts to Election Day votes and those dropped off in recent days. That process is expected to continue for days.
– Arizona Republic
Election Day roundup:Texas GOP Gov. Abbott, Colorado Sen. Bennet reelected. Here’s what you might have missed in the midterms
Firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert facing unexpectedly tight race
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., had a 97% chance of winning reelection against Democrat Adam Frisch, analysts at FiveThirtyEight predicted before the polls opened Tuesday. A day later, that prediction may be a little in doubt.
Boebert, known for a gun-themed restaurant – Shooters – she once owned and incendiary remarks about Muslims, among others, was trailing Frisch with 49.1% compared to his 50.9%. That tally was with 92.53% of the votes counted.
Frisch, a former city council member, ran on the economy and his campaign says he knows “creating good-paying jobs and fighting inflation must be the top priorities for our representative, not sideshow theatrics.”
– Donovan Slack
With neither candidate in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia getting more than 50% of the vote so far, the contest could be headed to a runoff in December. Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock had 49.4%, while Republican challenger Herschel Walker had 48.5% with an estimated 2% of votes still outstanding early Wednesday morning.
If it goes to a runoff, that will be held four weeks after this week’s election, meaning it would fall on Dec. 6. Early voting for a runoff would start next week, on Nov. 14. USA TODAY’s Anna Kaufman breaks down more of the ins and outs here, including explaining what a runoff election is and who’s eligible.
Georgia kept the nation in suspense in 2020, too, when both Senate races there went to runoffs and were decided in January 2021, tipping Senate control to Democrats.
– Donovan Slack
Where does Congress stand?
As of 7 a.m., neither party can claim control of a chamber of Congress.
In the Senate, there are five seats oustanding: Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada are too close to call. Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system means results may not be final for up to two more weeks. A party needs 51 seats to have the majority. Right now, the Senate is evenly split, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.
In the House, Republicans needed to gain five seats to acquire the majority. Right now, there are 64 seats without a decision.
– Katie Wadington
Kathy Hochul becomes NY’s first elected female governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul held off a Republican challenger backed by party heavyweights eager to turn Andrew Cuomo’s downfall into victory in a reliably blue state, rallying downstate voters to become the first woman elected governor of New York. The Buffalo-born Hochul, 64, also becomes the first upstate governor in a century, dating back to Nathan Miller, who took office in 1921.
With nearly 93% of the vote counted, Hochul was leading Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Trump supporter and military veteran from Long Island who played on voter fears of random violence to cast Hochul as a soft-on-crime Democrat. Hochul garnered 52.7% of the vote.
In Arizona gubernatorial race, Hobbs leading Lake
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Katie Hobbs was ahead of Republican Kari Lake in early election results released Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
The race between Lake, a former TV news anchor, and Hobbs, the outgoing secretary of state and former lawmaker, had been labeled a toss-up by some polls and analysts.
With 62.39% of the vote counted, Hobbs has 50.9% of the vote to Lake’s 49.1%.
– Arizona Republic
Johnson has narrow edge in Wisconsin Senate race
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes were locked in a race that was too close to call early Wednesday.
With 93% of the vote in, Johnson had 50.7% of the vote to 49.3% for Barnes, a difference of nearly 40,000 votes.
“We’ve looked very closely at the numbers,” Johnson told supporters in Neenah. “We feel confident there’s no way they can make up the gap.” He added that he expected to declare victory later in the morning.
Barnes campaign spokeswoman Maddy McDaniel said in a statement: “We always knew this race would be incredibly close. No matter what anyone says, we are committed to making sure every vote is counted. We will wait and see what the Wisconsin voters have decided after all their voices are heard.”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
State-by-state election results
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Pelosi: Democrats are ‘strongly outperforming expectations’
As the sun got ready to rise above the East Coast, results from the 2022 midterm elections began to disprove an anticipated “red wave” of Republican seats.
“While many races remain too close to call, it is clear that House Democratic Members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement issued early Wednesday.
“As states continue to tabulate the final results, every vote must be counted as cast.”
Just before 6 a.m. ET, dozens of House races remained uncalled, leaving control of the chamber uncertain.
– Kathleen Wong
This year’s midterm elections made history, as Americans elected the country’s first lesbian governor, its first Gen Z House member and other ground-breaking officials.
In Maryland, Wes Moore was elected the state’s first Black governor, and nationally he is the third elected Black governor.
In an election cycle with record numbers of LGBTQ candidates, the country’s first lesbian governor was elected in Massachusetts, Maura Healy, while the New Hampshire voters elected the first transgender man to a state legislature.
The results so far have also seen new representation of women and younger generations, from the first female governor of Arkansas, Sarah Sanders Huckabee, to the first Gen-Z elected member of Congress, 25-year-old Maxwell Frost. Read more here.
– Savannah Kuchar
Georgia secretary of state: Brad Raffensperger wins
Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger emerged victorious in the race for Georgia secretary of state, beating out Democratic nominee and former state Sen. Bee Nguyen.
Raffensperger held a solid lead over Nguyen in the polls throughout the race. The contest to be the state’s chief election officer, a down-ballot race that has previously garnered little attention, has gained increased importance in the wake of the 2020 election and unfounded voter fraud claims.
– Anna Kaufman
Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich, won reelection over Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett and Libertarian candidate Leah Dailey in Michigan’s new 7th Congressional District, ending one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched House races.
Slotkin was first elected from the 8th District in 2018, when she flipped a Republican seat that President Donald Trump won in 2016, and she was one of the few Democrats to win reelection in a district that voted for Trump in 2020. A former National Security Council and CIA staffer, she opted to run this year in the newly redrawn 7th District, which is centered on Lansing and would have voted narrowly for President Joe Biden had it existed in 2020.
While Slotkin was endorsed by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a harsh Trump critic, Barrett was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence.
– Yoori Han, Cronkite News
Wisconsin governor: Tony Evers wins reelection
A Marquette University Law School poll last week had them tied at 48% just before Election Day.
Evers won the governor’s office by a thin margin in 2018, when he defeated Republican Scott Walker, a 2016 presidential candidate. As governor, Evers’ job approval has been slightly underwater in recent Marquette polls, with 46% approving of the job he’s been doing as governor and 48% disapproving.
– Donovan Slack