Well then… the votes are in.
The 2022 midterm election shocked and disappointed conservatives across the country, and many Republicans may find themselves looking in the mirror this morning.
While the GOP managed to cobble together a meager majority in the House, the party’s candidates fell short in the Senate, despite strong polling that seems to have overcounted conservative votes for the first time in a very long time.
But while the “red wave” never came to fruition, it isn’t all bad for Republicans.
Conservative governors took care of business across the board, highlighted by convincing wins from Ron DeSantis in Florida, Mike DeWine in Ohio, and Brian Kemp in Georgia.
Still, overall, feisty Democrats stopped the red wave we had all come to expect. Here’s a sobering breakdown of the 2022 midterms for Republicans – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
GOP Disconnect with Young Voters Grows, While Hispanic Gains Also Grow
The Republican Party clearly has a disconnect with the American electorate, even though exit polls found that the top issues were inflation and the cost of living.
But abortion – and climate change – actually did matter, too, despite the issues rarely making the top five in surveys taken from late September to election day. Obviously, this is a problem for the Republican Party, especially considering young people continue to shift to the Left on these two issues.
Still, the GOP has led on issues that do matter to voters, and voter engagement centers across the country once again made inroads in Hispanic and Black communities. Florida is a great example. (more on Ron DeSantis’ dominant victory below)
DeSantis won re-election by a whopping 19% as of early this morning, garnering 55% of the vote in Miami-Dade county, a traditionally-liberal county last won by a Republican – Jeb Bush – in 2002.
Much of that is thanks to DeSantis’ growing Hispanic support in both the state and county, and the party would be wise to continue courting the community nationwide.
Biggest Wins for Republicans
Florida Governor – Ron DeSantis vs Charlie Crist
Governor Ron DeSantis beat challenger Charlie Crist 59.4% to 40.0%, signaling one of the largest victories of the evening. This is the largest win by a Republican governor in Florida in over 100 years.
Florida Senate – Marco Rubio (R) versus Val Demings (D)
Marco Rubio rode the red wave in Florida to a massive victory over Democratic challenger Val Demings. Rubio won 57.7% to 41.3%.
Ohio Senate – JD Vance (R) versus Tim Ryan (D)
The race has been called for Republican JD Vance, beating Tim Ryan 53.3% to 46.7%.
Georgia Governor – Brian Kemp (R) versus Stacey Abrams (D)
Republican Governor Brian Kemp beat Democrat Stacey Abrams 53.4% to 45.9%, a strong repudiation of the nationally-renowned progressive candidate.
Texas Governor – Greg Abbott (R) versus Beto O’Rourke (D)
Republican Greg Abbott defeated Democrat Beto O’Rourke 54.9% to 43.8%. There were many rumors after 2020 that Texas could be becoming a Blue state and vote for a Democratic governor – in this case, those rumors proved to be false, and Abbott took a commanding victory.
New York’s 17th district – Mike Lawler (R) versus Sean Patrick Maloney (D)
Republicans gained a huge political win Tuesday with a convincing flip of New York’s 17th – and the defeat of DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney. It’s the first time a DCCC chair has lost his or her seat in 40 years.
Biggest Losses for Republicans
Pennsylvania Governor – Douglas Mastriano versus Josh Shapiro
The race has been called for Democrat Josh Shaprio in Pennsylvania. He beat Republican Doug Mastriano 55.6% to 42.6%, solidifying liberal control over the state.
Pennsylvania Senate – John Fetterman (D) versus Mehmet Oz (R)
Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz 50.3% to 47.3% in the state of Pennsylvania. This was a key race needed for Republicans, but the party could not manage to pull it out.
Michigan Governor – Tudor Dixon (R) versus Gretchen Whitmer (D)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer beat Republican challenger Tudor Dixon handily 54.1% to 44.3%. Conservatives in the state were hopeful they could unseat the governor after her record of strict COVID lockdowns and protocols. This did not play out, and Michiganders opted to give Whitmer four more years at the helm.
Biggest Unknowns for Republicans
There are still a handful of races yet to be called, and some races are likely to go to a runoff in December.
Arizona Governor – Kari Lake (R) versus Katie Hobbs (D)
As of 10 am Eastern time, only 66% of the Arizona vote is in. According to Politico data, Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Kari Lake 50.9% to 49.1% respectively, but plenty of votes are yet to be counted. This race might not be decided for days.
Arizona Senate – Blake Masters versus Mark Kelly (incumbent)
As of 9 am Eastern time, only 66% of the Arizona vote is in. Kelly leads Masters 51.4% to 46.4%, taking a commanding lead over the young challenger. However, this race is far from over.
Georgia Senate – Herschel Walker (R) versus Raphael Warnock (D)
With 98% of the vote in as of 9 am, Warnock leads Walker 49.4% to 48.5%. Since neither candidate has reached 50%, this race is likely to head to a December runoff, as our publication predicted.
Nevada Senate – Adam Laxalt (R) versus Catherine Cortez Masto (D)
Adam Laxalt holds a lead in Nevada’s Senate race, although his lead trails Joe Lombardo’s, the state’s Republican candidate for governor. With over 22% of the vote still outstanding, Laxalt looks like a decent bet to flip this seat, considering coming ballot dumps should favor him slightly. But this race is too close to call.
Nevada Governor – Joe Lombardo (R) versus Steve Sisolak (D)
With 72.32% of the vote in as of 10 am, Republican Lombardo leads Democrat Sisolak 50.6% to 45.8%.
Overall, some conservative reactions to the midterms are overblown. Don’t forget, just two months ago, the Senate was considered out of reach. Now, outstanding races in Nevada and Arizona, and a looming runoff in Georgia, can still give Republicans a majority.
One reaction can’t be overstated, however: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has the formula for a convincing victory, and conservatives nationwide should follow his lead. This morning, millions of conservatives are likely rethinking the party’s future head honcho. And they should.
Another silver lining for the GOP – and not necessarily the American people – is the fact that Biden and the Democrats now believe their agenda is winning over the electorate, and it is likely to continue, as far as they can push it in a GOP-controlled House. These results are a boon for Biden’s 2024 bid, and that should be music to any Republican’s ears.