As Election Day turned to Wednesday, it remained unclear when the election results would be known in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, a contest that could determine whether Democrats keep control of the Senate.
“We are not sure if this journey is over tonight, or if there’s still a little work to do,” Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock told supporters Wednesday morning at his watch party as they waited for results in his contest against Republican candidate and former football player Herschel Walker.
Other states with Senate races too close to call before daybreak on Wednesday include Nevada, Wisconsin and Arizona.
The uncertainty unfolded as most races drew to a close.
In Utah, Republican Sen. Mike Lee fended off independent challenger Evan McMullin Tuesday for a third term. With just over half of Utah ballots counted, Lee had more than 55% of the vote compared to McMullin’s 41% when the race was called.
In New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan won over Republican challenger Don Bolduc in a major victory for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate, while Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet held off Republican Joe O’Dea.
Hassan took the stage after the race was called in her favor. “Thank you to all the wonderful friends that are here tonight,” Hassan said, after continued chants of “Maggie” and “Six more years” from the crowd. “I love you too!”
In another battleground race, Republican J.D. Vance won in Ohio over Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan.
The race for control of the Senate, split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote giving Democrats control, remained a toss-up with key seats in Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin still too close to call.
- Republicans need to gain just a single Senate seat to gain control of the upper chamber of Congress. There are 34 seats in the 2022 election, and several remain on a knife’s edge, according to polls.
- The party that controls the Senate will have the power to facilitate – or block – President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda in the last two years of his term.
Here’s what you need to know:
What are the key Senate races we’re waiting on results?
Republicans need to gain just a single Senate seat to gain control of the upper chamber of Congress. There are 34 seats in the 2022 election, and several remain on a knife’s edge, according to polls:
- Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., vs. Republican Adam Laxalt;
- Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., vs. Republican Blake Masters;
- Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., vs Republican Herschel Walker;
- Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., vs. Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes;
Which party will control the Senate?:Here’s every seat up for grabs in the 2022 midterms
John Fetterman wins Pennsylvania Senate seat
John Fetterman is the projected winner of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, beating out celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and overcoming concerns that his stroke recovery had foreclosed his chances at victory, according to NBC and Fox News. Oz had been backed by former President Donald Trump.
Donning his signature hoodie, Fetterman addressed a raucous crowd of supporters after his narrow win. “We jammed them up, we held the line,” Fetterman said. “I never expected that we were going to turn these red counties blue, but we did what we needed to do.”
In his victory speech, Fetterman said he was “proud” of the issues he ran on, like abortion rights, increased minimum wage and health care.
Biden sent a congratulatory text to Fetterman on his election victory, according to the White House.
Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, had been leading in the polls by significant margins over the summer, but television host Oz started to close the gap in recent weeks, particularly after a rocky debate performance by Fetterman.
Fetterman suffered a stroke days before the May primary and has relied on closed captioning in recent interviews and the debate.
Independent analysts had predicted the Pennsylvania race would be the best chance for Democrats to pick up a Republican-held Senate seat. Fetterman and Oz have been vying for the open seat created by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement.
Read more here.
– Donovan Slack, Joey Garrison and Ella Lee
Democrats win in Hawaii Senate, governor’s races
Democrats easily won their races for the U.S. Senate and governorship in Hawaii.
Josh Green overcame Republican challenger Duke Aiona for governor, while Sen. Brian Schatz won reelection for his seat against Republican Bob McDermott.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray won reelection to the Senate against Republican opponent Tiffany Smiley after leading Smiley by nearly 15% with 56% of the precincts reporting.
Murray will be serving her sixth term in the Senate. While in the Senate, Murry was the first female chair for the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Budget Committee.
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., won his reelection bid against Republican challenger Jo Rae Perkins, according to multiple reports.
Wyden, who led Perkins by more than 13 percentage points when the race was called, has been in Congress for more than 40 years overall, assuming his Senate seat in 1996.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said a red wave election didn’t appear to be materializing after Republicans were projected to lose Senate races in New Hampshire and Colorado, but he still predicted Republicans would take control of the upper chamber.
“Definitely not a Republican wave,” Graham told NBC. “I think we’re going to be at 51, 52 when it’s all said and done.”
– Joey Garrison
Election analysis: Even with Kemp, Vance wins, are midterm results more red ripple than wave?
Republican Ted Budd wins North Carolina Senate seat
Trump-endorsed Ted Budd won the race for a North Carolina Senate seat, defeating Democrat and former state Supreme Court chief justice Cheri Beasley. Coming into tonight, the three-term Rep. Budd had a five-point lead over Beasley in a poll by Emerson College Polling and The Hill, according to NBC and ABC News.
Theirs was among the most competitive Senate races this election cycle, seen as a potential factor in Republican efforts to gain the majority. The North Carolina seat was up for grabs for either party, with Republican Richard Burr retiring after his fourth term as senator.
– Savannah Kuchar
Republican Sen. Mike Crapo defended his Senate seat in the race against Democratic challenger David Roth.
Crapo, a former attorney who previously served in the U.S. House and the Idaho Legislature, will now serve his fifth term in the Senate. The last time Democrats won a U.S. Senate election in Idaho was in 1974.
Crapo is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
– Rachel Looker
Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., won his reelection bid against Republican challenger Mark Meuser.
With just under 10% of ballots counted, Padilla led Meuser by more than 20 percentage points.
Padilla was appointed to his Senate seat by California Gov. Gavin Newsom when Harris became vice president.
Trump-backed Republican author JD Vance won the Senate race in Ohio, beating Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, whose campaign had a fundraising edge but lacked national party support, according to NBC and ABC News.
The race has been one of the tightest in the country in recent polling and is a key test of the influence Trump still wields. Trump endorsed Vance and went to Ohio to support him, telling rallygoers in September that “The entire MAGA movement is for J.D. Vance.”
It’s also a bellwether for which way national tides are turning on Election Day. The Senate seat has been occupied since 2011 by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who’s retiring.
– Donovan Slack
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., beat back Trump-endorsed Republican challenger Don Bolduc in a race that narrowed sharply in the final days despite the state being carried by Biden in 2020, according to ABC and NBC News
Hassan, who served as governor from 2013 until she entered the Senate in 2017, tried to distance herself from the president throughout her campaign. She criticized the administration for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan last year and for its handling of rising inflation.
Bolduc, a retired Army general, repeated false claims during the primary that the 2020 election was stolen, but he walked those back after securing the GOP nomination in September. In October, the National Republican Senatorial Committee stopped funding Bolduc’s campaign to prioritize other battleground states.
– Ryan Knappenberger
Republican Chuck Grassley has defended his Iowa Senate seat against Democratic challenger Michael Franken, according to ABC and NBC.
Grassley has served in office since 1959. The 89-year-old congressman will now serve his sixth term, which upon completion would make him the second-oldest member of Congress at 95 years old.
– Rachel Looker
Republican Sen. John Kennedy defended his Senate seat in Louisiana defeating Democratic challenger Luke Mixon, according to NBC and ABC.
Kennedy joined a group of 11 senators in 2021 who objected to the certification of Trump’s 2020 presidential loss. He will now serve his second term.
– Rachel Looker
Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet defended his Colorado Senate seat in a competitive race against Republican challenger Joe O’Dea, according to multiple reports.
This will be Bennet’s third term in office, but was one of his most challenging reelection campaigns. He sought out the Democratic party nomination for the 2020 presidential election.
– Rachel Looker
Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran won reelection against Mark Holland, the Democratic candidate for the Kansas Senate seat. Moran will be serving this third term in the Senate.
Moran previously served as the chairman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2013 to 2015 and in the U.S. House from 1997 to 2011.
— Sarah Elbeshbishi
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., won his reelection bid against Democrat Katrina Christiansen with just over 1% of the vote counted.
Hoeven, who will serve a third Senate term, was previously North Dakota’s governor for a decade.
Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, won reelection in the New York Senate race defeating Republican challenger Joe Pinion.
Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, will now serve a fifth term.
– Rachel Looker
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., won his reelection bid against Democrat Brian Bengs for a historic fourth term.
Only Karl Mundt, who served in the Senate from 1948 to 1973, won four terms as a senator in South Dakota. Since Mundt’s retirement, three senators have lost running for a fourth term: George McGovern in 1980, Larry Pressler in 1996 and Tom Daschle in 2004.
Thune is currently the No. 2 ranking senator behind Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
-Ella Lee; Jonathan Ellis and Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
The polls may have closed in Ohio, but GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance is still asking supporters to vote with their wallets.
“If you want to make an impact on this race personally, then I have a link for you!” Vance said in fundraising email Tuesday night that urged backers to “rush” a donation.
“Thanks for everything as we reach the finish line,” the appeal says.
— Maureen Groppe
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., will serve a third term in the U.S. Senate, winning his reelection bid against Democrat Natalie James.
Boozman currently serves on five Senate committees, including the appropriations committee and supported the acquittal of Trump’s impeachment regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
— Ella Lee, Sarah Elbeshbishi
Sen. Chris Van Hollen was reelected Tuesday evening, defeating his Republican opponent Chris Chaffee and keeping his Maryland Senate seat.
Van Hollen, who previously served as the U.S. representative for Maryland’s 8th congressional district, won his second Senate term with less than half a percent of the vote counted.
– Ella Lee
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., beat Republican challenger Kathy Salvi for a second term.
A disabled veteran who served in Iraq, Duckworth won her reelection bid with just over 1% of the vote counted.
– Ella Lee
Republican Katie Britt won the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. She defeated Democrat Will Boyd.
Britt was previously the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. During the campaign, she received the endorsement of Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who is retiring.
– Rachel Looker
Oklahoma’s two Republican Senate candidates won their elections early Tuesday night.
Markwayne Mullin was elected to the U.S. Senate in Oklahoma and Sen. James Lankford won his reelection bid.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal won reelection in the Connecticut Senate race.
Blumenthal has been in office since 2011. This is his third six-year term. The senator’s last tight contest was in 2010, which was his first run for U.S. Senate.
– Rachel Looker
Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio successfully fended off Democratic Rep. Val Demings in Florida’s U.S. Senate race , according to Fox and CNN.
Rubio, a two-term senator, had been the favorite to win in polls conducted throughout the race, while Demings, a congresswoman representing the Orlando area since 2017, trailed.
The contest has shaped up to be one of the most expensive in the country, with Democrats spending big, hoping to flip the seat.
Ideologically the candidates are split mostly along party lines, sparring in their sole debate over hot-button issues like abortion, border policy, and gun control.
– Anna Kaufman, Ella Lee
Democrat Peter Welch will succeed Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the longest-serving member of the chamber.
Welch beat Republican Gerald Malloy with just 1% of the vote counted.
Leahy, first elected to the Senate in 1974, announced his retirement in November 2021.
– Ella Lee
Democrats in competitive Senate races must outrun Biden’s approval rating by six to nine percentage points to win Tuesday, according to political handicapper Jessica Taylor.
“The biggest hurdle for Senate Dems tonight – Biden’s approval,” tweeted Taylor, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
That helps explain why Biden did not campaign with most of the candidates in nine of the top races. The exception was John Fetterman, who appeared with Biden and former President Barack Obama at a rally in Philadelphia Saturday.
– Maureen Groppe
Republican Sen. Todd Young defended his seat against Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott in in the Indiana Senate race.
Young is finishing his first term as senator. He was set to be the frontrunner of the race and had over $3.5 million cash on hand in the run up to Election Day.
– Rachel Looker
Incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott won the South Carolina Senate seat in the race against Democrat Krystle Matthews. Scott will now serve his second full term.
Scott has made repeated trips to Iowa, creating speculation he may be laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential bid.
Matthews serves as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.
– Rachel Looker
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sailed to reelection Tuesday night, crushing Democrat Charles Booker’s hopes that he’d pull off a massive upset and become not only the first Democratic senator elected in Kentucky since 1992 but also the commonwealth’s first Black senator.
Paul won a third six-year term in Congress, scoring a victory called relatively early Tuesday evening as election results rolled in.
The libertarian-leaning senator ran on a staunchly conservative platform.
-Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal
GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – In Goffstown, Jackie Beck, 44, said she wants to see a Republican Congress to finish out Biden’s last two years in his term, which means voting for Republican Don Bolduc over Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.
Bolduc’s campaign has banked on high inflation turning out Republican voters, or as Bolduc himself puts it, “heating and eating.”
That message works for Beck, who said she’s seen enough of a Democratic Congress. “I have no reason to vote for a Democrat,” Beck said. “I can’t buy groceries for my family because it’s so expensive. It’s crazy.”
— Ken Tran
BEDFORD, N.H. – For some in New Hampshire, where presidential candidates flock to every four years, Biden’s message that democracy is at stake made it through for some voters.
Jonathan French says it’s why he’s voting for Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan over Republican Don Bolduc, who has denied the results of the 2020 election.
“I believe in democracy. Don Bolduc denies the election results from 2020,” French simply put.
But at the same time, French isn’t sure if he wants to see Biden run again in 2024. “We’ll wait and see,” said French.
– Ken Tran
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – North Carolina has never elected a woman of color to the U.S. Senate, and many voters don’t expect that to change Tuesday.
Supporters of Democrat Cheri Beasley say they are not exactly confident, but some remain hopeful: “Some of the underdogs come out on top!” said Jannet Blue, 58, a Department of Motor Vehicles supervisor who voted in Winston-Salem.
Backers of Republican Ted Budd are more confident; his poll lead has grown in recent weeks, and voters said it just feels like a Republican year in the Tar Heel State. “We need to keep working people working,” said James Wilcox, 61, a Winston-Salem businessman.
– David Jackson
Val Demings talks abortion rights, crime on ‘The View’
Florida Senate challenger Val Demings appeared on an Election Day edition of “The View,” referencing her career in law enforcement in response to the notion that Democrats aren’t tough on crime.
“I really don’t know how gullible (Sen. Marco Rubio) thinks Florida voters are, but if they’re really interested in someone who has demonstrated an ability to reduce crime and keep communities safe, I am their candidate,” Demings said, pointing to incumbent Rubio’s comparison of the FBI to “Marxist dictatorships.”
Demings also discussed her views on abortion, which she believes should be legal up until viability. While Rubio supports a federal ban on abortion with no exceptions, Demings said she believes the decision is between a woman, her family, doctor and her faith.
– Clare Mulroy
For some, Walker’s candidacy is about ‘grace and forgiveness’
KENNESAW, Ga. – Walker’s personal controversies have made his Senate campaign a target for Democrats, but many Georgia voters support him.
“Herschel is real, he’s one of us,” voter Tricia Choi, 55, told USA TODAY. Choi said for many Walker’s story is about the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, which she said appeals to faith-based voters.
Republican candidate Walker, who is running to unseat Warnock, has been accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife. Most recently, allegations surfaced that he pressured former girlfriends to have abortions, which he has denied.
– Phillip M. Bailey
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota sought a decisive reelection win Tuesday over his Democratic challenger for a fourth term that could feature a bid to eventually become his party’s leader in the Senate.
The 61-year-old Republican held a large fundraising advantage over Democrat Brian Bengs, an Air Force veteran and university professor. Thune is the second-ranking Senate Republican and is seen as a potential pick to succeed Sen. Mitch McConnell once he steps down from leadership.
– Associated Press
ARIZONA – Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Republican challenger Blake Masters are making their final appeals to voters Tuesday in a close race that could determine the party balance of the U.S. Senate.
Kelly and Masters, a first-time candidate, are locked in what’s become an increasingly tight race, with Kelly’s initial advantage in the polls narrowing to a dead heat.
Kelly planned to spend Election Day at get-out-the-vote events in west Phoenix and Tucson before the campaign’s election night event in Tucson.
Masters planned to spend election night at the Arizona Republican Party’s watch event in Scottsdale.
– Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – At the Desert Breeze Community Center outside Las Vegas, approximately 100 people waited in line as the polls opened at 7 a.m. Robert Streat, 73, was among the first to cast a ballot, a personal in-person voting tradition he said dates back decades.
Streat said he opposes Biden’s agenda and worries the country is changing too fast from the values he helped defend in Vietnam. He said he supported Republican candidates in the election.
“This country is going to hell if we don’t change it. We’ve got too many people who hate it,” he said. “We should control the government but we’ve lost it.”
But Jonathan Copeland, 55, said he worries that Republican control of the House and Senate would mean further erosion of abortion rights, which he supports. Copeland said he voted to help defend the seat of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat in danger of losing to Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. A Laxalt victory would help flip the Senate to Republican control.
“What politician has the right to tell a woman what to do?” Copeland said.
– Trevor Hughes
Voting rights in the United States:A state-by-state analysis
At a canvass event in Atlanta, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock referenced the late Rep. John Lewis and encouraged supporters to keep working and “get into some good trouble.”
With a heated Senate race between incumbent Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker, tight polling suggests it’s possible neither opponent will clinch more than 50% of the vote. Warnock commented on the possibility of a runoff, saying he’s focused only on the race at hand.
“We will do whatever we need to do to bring this home for the people of Georgia because failure is not an option,” he told reporters.
– Clare Mulroy
Bolduc says he will accept Election results if he loses to Hassan
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc said Tuesday his opponent, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, is out of touch in accusing him of being “extreme” and an “election-denier,” saying he will concede the election Tuesday if he loses.
“That’s a big ‘if’ right now,” said Bolduc, who before September’s primary said the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. He has since said he believes Biden won the election, but has changed that position multiple times. Hassan said Tuesday morning Bolduc had been “working to cast doubt” on the election process during the campaign.
“I don’t know why she’s worried about it. She feels the elections are safe and secure, so why is she worrying about something she already believes in?” Bolduc said. “I’m not going to lose. I’m going to win. She has no worries there.”
Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general, made those remarks after voting at the Stratham Memorial School in the town where he lives.
– Max Sullivan
Both candidates vying for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat have cast their ballots. Fetterman and Oz tweeted photos earlier this morning with their wives.
After voting in Montgomery County, Oz told reporters that “Pennsylvania is going to send a message to Washington.”
– Clare Mulroy
In Pennsylvania Senate race, debate erodes Fetterman’s lead
The contest is up for grabs, the survey shows, with an unusually high 19% of independents undecided, even as early voting has opened.
Fetterman is at 47% and Oz is at 45%. In a USA TODAY Network poll taken in late September, Fetterman led 46%-40%.
The only debate between the candidates cost support for Fetterman, who sometimes struggled with words in the aftermath of a stroke he suffered in May. More than half of those surveyed watched last week’s debate, and they overwhelmingly judged Oz as the winner, 62%-17%.
Read the whole story here:Rocky debate erodes Fetterman’s lead over Oz in pivotal Pennsylvania Senate race
– Susan Page
Poll near Election Day shows Budd leading Beasley in North Carolina
Half of voters said they will be backing Budd for the Senate seat, according to a poll from Emerson College Polling and The Hill. Forty-five percent of voters said they support North Carolina state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, giving Budd a five-point lead.
The poll found 2% of voters remain undecided.
Read more here:New poll shows GOP Rep. Ted Budd leads in NC Senate race against Democrat Cheri Beasley
– Rachel Looker
When do the polls close in my state?:A complete breakdown for Election Day 2022.
Which races will determine control of the Senate?
But the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a series of legislative wins for Democrats on Capitol Hill, and primary victories by Trump-backed GOP candidates in battleground states gave Democrats momentum.
Now, amid the seats up for grabs in 2022, eight races in particular are key to both parties’ hopes for controlling the upper chamber: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
Eight to watch:These midterm election races will determine who controls the Senate
– Ken Tran, Sarah Elbeshbishi