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November 9, 2022

A Middling Midterm Win

The GOP fell far short of its lofty electoral expectations, but there were still a few bright spots, especially in Florida.

A disappointment. More of a ripple than a wave. A narrow win rather than a resounding one. That’s how we’d describe yesterday’s midterms — unless you’re a Floridian, in which case Election Day 2022 was nothing short of glorious.

On a night when the Republicans hadn’t yet taken the House of Representatives as of 2 a.m. ET, and GOP candidates seemed to underperform all over the map, and highly anticipated contests — like the governors’ races in New York and Michigan and the Senate race in New Hampshire — fizzled out in favor of the incumbent Democrats, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a thunderclap across the political landscape by obliterating his Democrat challenger, Charlie Crist, by nearly 20 points. On his coattails, Florida Senator Marco Rubio cruised to a massive 17-point victory over Congresswoman Val Demings, and the state added four new congressional candidates and achieved supermajorities in both state houses. It’s the first time since Reconstruction that Florida hasn’t had a single Democrat holding statewide office.

In short, what was only recently the swingiest of swing states is now more solidly Republican than Texas, and Ron DeSantis is responsible for it. And just think: Four years ago, DeSantis beat the now deeply disgraced Andrew Gillum by just seven-tenths of a percentage point.

There were other bright spots, such as New York’s 17th Congressional District, where incumbent Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is therefore responsible for managing the party’s midterm election strategy, was ousted by Republican challenger Michael Lawler.

But there were equally dark moments, such as the grim reality of Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman. How on earth a stroke-addled, hoodie-wearing, tattoo-covered hard-leftist can be elected to the U.S. Senate is beyond comprehension. But he was.

Indeed, there he was at 1:15 a.m. ambling up to the lectern to deliver the most disjointed and intellectually barren victory speech ever delivered by a U.S. senator-elect.

As for that 50-50 Senate, the Pennsylvania seat is a Democrat pickup, which means that the Republicans must win at least two of the three remaining undecided races — Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia — to win control of the upper chamber. And if Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly hangs on in Arizona against Republican challenger Blake Masters, and if Republican challenger Adam Laxalt manages to beat incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, control of the Senate will once again come down to … Georgia.

Yes, Georgia, where, as of 2:30 a.m. ET, Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock leads Republican challenger Herschel Walker 49.4% to 48.6% with 97% of the vote counted. With so little vote still outstanding, it appears that Warnock will fall short of the necessary 50% threshold for victory (there’s a third-party candidate pulling the remaining 2% of the vote). And according to Georgia law, that will require a two-man runoff. That runoff will take place on Tuesday, December 6, and whether the stakes will include control of the U.S. Senate depends on what happens in Arizona and Nevada.

As for the most deeply disgraceful performance of the night, that would belong to Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs, who’s running for governor while also serving as the state’s secretary of state. But if her performance as secretary of state is any indication of how she’d govern, Arizonans had best beware. Clearly, she can’t even keep the state’s election apparatus functioning properly.

We heard early Tuesday afternoon that Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa, which includes Phoenix and which was the source of all manner of irregularities in the 2020 presidential election, had to shut down some of its voting machines due to vote-counting irregularities. In addition, the Maricopa County Elections Division announced late last night that it would be “working through the night” and anticipated having 99% of the county’s votes counted “by Friday.”

We sent a man to the moon more than half a century ago, and yet Democrat-controlled counties in crucial swing states can’t seem to run a reliable election.

Ours was a great country once, and it was great in part because it elected serious people to office, and because it did so on Election Day, not during Election Season.

If we can end on a high note, it might be this: Nancy Pelosi’s days as speaker of the House are numbered — 83 to be exact — and we can look forward to watching her turn over the speaker’s gavel once and for all at the swearing in of the 118th Congress on January 3, 2023. At that time, we can also look forward to House Republicans doggedly exercising their constitutionally prescribed oversight of this administration.

UPDATE: After all this, it looks like the GOP might end up controlling the House with a 4-6-seat margin, the same tight margin the Democrats enjoy now. And if — if — Republican Adam Laxalt’s lead holds up in Nevada, where he’s ahead by 2.7% with 80% of the vote counted, the Senate will, once again, come down to a Walker-Warnock runoff in Georgia, this one on Tuesday, December 6.

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