Top Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, admitted that the much-touted ‘red wave’ had not quite materialized as a Democrat in Nevada won a seat in the Senate and proved victorious in critical House races.
“Definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for damn sure,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham soon after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won a landslide victory in the Florida gubernatorial race.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz echoed Graham, saying, “It hasn’t been as big of a wave as I’d hoped it would be. We’ve had some close races go the other way so far.”
The GOP was still expected to take a majority in the House, but in the Senate, it may take a bit longer to determine in critical states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Republican candidate J.D. Vance won the Senate seat for Ohio, defeating Democrat Tim Ryan. Vance, endorsed by former President Trump, kept the Senate in the Republican column.
Democrats held onto two out of the three House seats from Virginia that Republicans heavily targeted. In Virginia, Democrats held onto two out of three House seats in Virginia. Those results, combined with a win by Republican candidate from Tennessee, Andy Ogles, and two wins in Florida, for House seats, has a house majority within GOP’s grasp.
President Joe Biden made several calls to Democrats, while in other critical Senate races, results remain too early to call.
Republicans pick up some House victories
In Florida, Republican candidate Cory Mills won the seat of retiring Dem representative Stephanie Mills. While in a different district, GOP candidate Anna Paulina Luna won the seat left by unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Democrat Charlie Crist.
Meanwhile, Democrats held on to several Senate seats, including Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, Patty Murray in Washington state, Tammy Duckworth in Florida, Chris Van Hollen in Maryland, and Peter Welch in Vermont.
Republicans held on to several, including Chuck Grassley in Iowa, Tim Scott in South Carolina, and Katie Britt, the first female from Alabama elected to the Senate.
Key Republican wins came early in the night as Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Ron DeSantis saw victory in Florida. The wins put Florida solidly in the Republican column. DeSantis handily defeated Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, who previously served as governor as a Republican, but switched parties.
In another gubernatorial race in Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore won in Maryland while Democrat Josh Shapiro won the Pennsylvania top job. Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the governor title. Her father had previously held the highest office. In Texas, GOP Governor Greg Abbott won his second term by defeating Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke.
Republican Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp won a second term, defeating Democrat challenger Stacey Abrams for the second time.
Inflation and abortion are top issues for voters
Exit polls found voters named inflation as their top concern this election, followed by abortion. About 33% of voters said inflation was the most critical issue on the ballot, followed by 27% who cited abortion. Voters polled gave President Biden a 45% approval rating as chief executive and cited their unhappiness with inflation and the economy.
With one-third of the Senate, all 435 seats in the House, and several races for governorships, results may take several days for all the votes to be counted. Many races were still within the margin of error.
Leading up to Election Day, the president stayed mainly in blue state areas of the country. He remained at the White House on Election Day, calling into a radio show and making thank-you calls to Democratic officials.