December 6, 2022
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Midterm elections see key runoff, razor-thin races as Senate and House control hangs in the balance

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Biden says he will make decision ‘early next year’ about 2024 bid

President Joe Biden reiterated Wednesday that he intends to run for re-election, while noting that he is likely to firm up his decision by “early next year.”

“My guess is it would be early next year, that we would make that judgment,” Biden told reporters at the White House in a post-midterms news conference.

Asked whether Democrats’ performance at the polls on Tuesday had influenced his 2024 plans, Biden said: “Our intention is to run again, that’s been our intention, regardless of what the outcome of this election was.”

Biden said that Democrats had “outperformed anything anyone expected,” noting that so-called MAGA Republicans had not flipped as many seats as predicted, but added that his decision to run for re-election would ultimately be made together with his wife.

“This is ultimately a family decision,” Biden said, adding that he didn’t feel “in any hurry” to make the decision despite former President Donald Trump signaling he’ll announce his own 2024 plans next week.

What the midterm election results mean for inflation and the economy

With nearly one-third of midterm election voters indicating inflation as their top concern this year, attention now turns to what the new political alignment in Washington D.C. will mean for tackling the issue.

But with multiple key races still up for grabs as of Wednesday, it is too soon to say exactly how federal lawmakers would address the rampant price increases.

U.S. Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada remained undecided Wednesday afternoon — while the fate of the U.S. House, even with Republicans in the lead, was also still unknown.

Were they to gain full control of Congress, Republicans have pledged to roll back the Biden administration’s spending efforts, which opponents of President Joe Biden blame for inflation.

Read the full story here.

Biden touts ‘strong night’ for Democrats after predicted red wave ‘didn’t happen’

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said Democrats had a strong showing in the midterm elections after a predicted GOP red wave did not materialize.

“While any seat lost is painful — some good Democrats didn’t win last night — Democrats had a strong night,” Biden said during remarks at the White House. “While the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen.”

Ahead of the election, Biden had repeatedly suggested that democracy was on the ballot, and he leaned into that message on Wednesday. “Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” he said.

Biden insisted that voters “sent a clear and unmistakable message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country.”

Voters in California, Vermont and Michigan on Tuesday opted to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions, while voters in Kentucky rejected a ballot proposal that would have amended their state’s constitution to say it doesn’t protect abortion rights.

Dominion points to ‘printing issue’ after N.J. county reports issues with ballot scanning

Dominion Voting Systems said Wednesday that purported issues with ballot scanning in Mercer County, New Jersey, on Election Night were a result of a “printing issue.”

“The Dominion tabulators functioned exactly as they should by rejecting incorrectly printed ballots,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. “We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this issue.”

Dominion’s statement came after officials in Mercer County asked the local prosecutor to look into issues with machines that they said failed to scan ballots on Tuesday.

Mercer County clerk Paula Sollami Covello said Wednesday in a phone interview that the ballots that could not be scanned by the Dominion machines were ultimately counted at a board of elections office in a process supervised by a bipartisan commission.

“We are not suspicious of any specific wrongdoing, but we do need to investigate the matter fully,” the clerk added.

In an email, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the clerk had gotten in touch.

Dominion was the subject of a string of unfounded conspiracy theories and baseless claims following the the 2020 presidential election. The firm sued Fox News as well as some Trump allies and right-wing broadcasters for defamation.

Mike Pence releases op-ed about 2020 election pressures from Donald Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence released a new Wall Street Journal op-ed discussing his final days working with former President Donald Trump in the White House.

The piece, adapted from Pence’s memoir set for release Nov. 15, was published Wednesday afternoon as Republicans have begun finger-pointing about whether Trump was to blame for their lackluster election night.

The memoir excerpt includes snapshots of Pence’s interactions with Trump following the 2020 election as the former president and his allies tried to pressure Pence to help overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

On Jan. 5, Trump “laid into” Pence, the former vice president wrote. “‘You’ll go down as a wimp,’ he said. ‘If you do that, I made a big mistake five years ago!'”

“But when he said, ‘You’re not protecting our country, you’re supposed to support and defend our country!’ I calmly reminded him, ‘We both took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.'”

The op-ed comes a day after Election Day in a cycle in which many Republican candidates who cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election were elected. It also comes ahead of a speech Trump said he plans to make on Nov. 15, which he has teased will be his announcement for a third White House bid.

In partisan state Supreme Court races, GOP sweeps Ohio and flips North Carolina

Closely watched state Supreme Court races in which divisive issues such as abortion rights and redistricting fueled political donations and record campaign fundraising ended with mixed results on Election Day.

In the handful of states with partisan races, Republican-affiliated justices retained their 4-3 majority on the Ohio Supreme Court by sweeping all three open seats over their Democratic challengers, while Democrats held on to at least one of two vacant seats on the Illinois Supreme Court, blocking Republicans’ attempt to wrest control of the court for the first time in 50 years.

Read the full story here.

The midterm election’s biggest losing bets: Two measures seeking sports gambling in California

Nearly a half-billion dollars were poured into campaigns aimed at bringing sports gambling to California at tribal casinos and online, in what turned out to be the biggest losing bets of this political season.

Propositions 26 and 27 not only lost, but also went down in overwhelming numbers rarely seen in modern 50-50 politics.

Proposition 26, which sought to bring point spreads to Native American casinos, was rejected by a margin of 70.1% to 29.1%, with nearly all precincts reporting, tallies showed Wednesday. Meanwhile, Proposition 27, the measure that sought to legalize online sports betting, went down to even greater defeat by a margin of 83.3% to 16.7%.

“This might go down in history, in the Michael Bloomberg Hall of Fame,” Dan Schnur, a campaign finance reform advocate, said poking fun at the former New York City mayor and media tycoon’s brief $1 billion presidential run of 2020.

Read the full story here.

Nevada’s largest county still days from completing ballot count

LAS VEGAS — Clark County election officials said Wednesday they are still days from completing ballot counting in the state’s largest county, leaving up in the air the results of a contest that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. 

Elections officials here have counted and posted the in-person votes cast on Election Day, said Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria, but are still sorting through tens of thousands of ballots that have come through the mail and were left in drop boxes. In Nevada, mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 8 can arrive through Saturday and still be counted.

Just under 15,000 ballots will be processed throughout the day and reported tonight, Gloria said at a news conference. He added that he expects the county to update vote totals once a day. 

The counting continues as Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is attempting to cling to her seat as Republican Adam Laxalt ran up sizable margins in the state’s 15 rural counties. With 80% of expected votes in, NBC News’ latest tally shows Laxalt at 418,461 votes statewide to Cortez Masto’s 395,866. 

Montana rejects ‘born alive’ ballot measure

Montana voters rejected a ballot measure that would have required health care providers in the state to take “reasonable actions” to save an infant who is born alive, including after an attempted abortion, or face felony criminal charges.

The measure would have made clear that infants who are born alive — meaning with a heartbeat, breath or definite voluntary muscle movement — are legal persons, who require “necessary actions” by medical providers to preserve their lives.

The proposed punishments for convicted health care providers were up to 20 years behind bars and a maximum $50,000 fine.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said such a “cruel” law would mandate aggressive treatments in extremely complex situations, which could “prolong suffering and deny families the choice to offer comfort or spiritual care.”

GOP-backed school board candidates fare poorly in Texas suburbs

A slate of five conservative school board candidates backed by the Republican Party of Texas failed to win a single seat in a hotly contested election in the suburbs north of Austin — a victory for progressive and moderate parents who’d been working to beat back recent conservative gains on suburban Texas school boards.

Following a playbook that’s been repeated in school board races nationwide, the five conservative candidates in Round Rock — including one whose slogan was “Teach ABCs + 123s, Not CRTs & LGBTs” — were backed by a local political action committee that pledged to restore conservative values in public schools.

The nonpartisan race got ugly, with one incumbent school board member alleging she received harassing messages by mail, including one package that contained used feminine products, according to NBC affiliate KXAN. The Texas GOP, which had promised to get more involved in nonpartisan local school board races, spent more than $16,000 on mailers promoting the five candidates, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.

Despite the investment, all five candidates lost by wide margins in a suburban county that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott won narrowly. In total, the state Republican Party endorsed 11 school board candidates in Tuesday’s elections; All but of them lost by wide margins. School board candidates running on platforms focused on critical race theory and sexually explicit library books also performed poorly in the nearby Leander Independent School District, and in a pair of right-leaning suburbs outside of Houston.

What the midterms mean for a possible Trump-Biden rematch in 2024

Former President Donald Trump was demonstrably weakened — and President Joe Biden strengthened — by Tuesday’s midterm election results, just as the two begin to circle each other for a possible 2024 rematch.

Even with several key race calls outstanding, Republicans failed to generate the “red wave” Trump had predicted. Many of his favored candidates in marquee races, including election deniers in key swing states, lost to Democrats. And Trump’s most formidable potential rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, won re-election in a 20-point romp.

Though Democrats could still lose at least one chamber of Congress as of Wednesday morning, an outcome that could shut down Biden’s legislative agenda and lead to investigations of his administration, Biden and his party emerged in a stronger position than was expected. Critics in his own party fell silent Tuesday night. And Biden allies said they believe he is on track to win a second term.

Read more here.

Where are the remaining votes in Arizona and Nevada?

All eyes are on Arizona and Nevada’s Senate races, but where are the remaining votes?

As of Wednesday afternoon, about 31% of the vote remains in Arizona. Maricopa and Pima counties account for the lion’s share of those votes, with more than 500,000 ballots between them. Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly is leading in both of those counties.

Outstanding vote count in Arizona as of 2:42 p.m. ET
Outstanding vote count in Arizona as of 2:42 p.m. ET

Approximately 20% of the vote remains in Nevada. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has the most outstanding ballots, with more than 100,000 remaining. Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is leading in Clark. But Republican Adam Laxalt is leading in Washoe, where more than 70,000 ballots remain.


Outstanding vote count in Nevada as of 2:42 p.m. ET.
Outstanding vote count in Nevada as of 2:42 p.m. ET.

Cyber watchdog says no signs of election compromise

Jen Easterly, the director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said Wednesday that the cyber watchdog had seen no signs of interference in the election.

“We have seen no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was any way compromised in any race in the country,” Easterly said in an emailed statement.

She also thanked American pollworkers for the “safety, security, and integrity of our elections” and urged patience while pollworkers tabulate votes and audit results.

Republican Lee Zeldin concedes to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks at an election night event in New York on Nov. 8, 2022.
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks at an election night event in New York.Julius Constantine Motal / NBC News

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., conceded on Wednesday afternoon to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul after she was elected to a full four-year term.

In a statement shared on his verified Twitter account, Zeldin wrote: “I would like to congratulate New York Governor Kathy Hochul on her election to a full four year term.”

“This once in a generation campaign was a very close margin in the bluest of states,” he wrote. “If not for the dedicated, hard work of grassroots volunteers & supporters this incredibly close race wouldn’t have been possible.”

Hochul took office last year after the resignation of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.

She led in the polls for much of the midterm cycle but the race tightened in recent weeks as Zeldin emphasized issues such as crime. With 92% of expected votes in, NBC News has projected Hochul the winner of the race.

Ticket-splitting voters made a difference in the 2022 election

In the 2022 midterm election, many voters split their tickets between different parties in high-stakes races for governor and Senate, and it made a difference in the outcomes, according to NBC News projections.

In Georgia, with 99% counted, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has 181,000 more votes than Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker. Kemp handily won his race for re-election while Walker failed to reach the 50% threshold in the state and was forced into a runoff.

In Pennsylvania, with 94% counted, Democratic Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro has 276,000 more votes than Democratic Sen.-elect John Fetterman. Shapiro won his race by double digits while Fetterman leads his race by a few points.

In Wisconsin, with 94% counted, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is carrying over 45,000 more votes than Democrat Mandela Barnes. Evers won his race while Barnes lost to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

In some cases, the ticket-splitters were crossover voters backing a Democrat and Republican; in other cases they may have voted in one of the races and left their ballot blank in one of the races.

Photo: Michigan voters backed abortion rights amendment

Image:
Supporters await results for Prop 3 in Detroit on Tuesday. Ryan Sun / AP

White House buoyed by early midterm results as Biden avoids fate of his predecessors

President Joe Biden appears to have pulled off something few of his recent predecessors managed — a midterm election that wasn’t a clear shellacking for his party, providing a sense of vindication for the White House. 

While it remains unclear whether Democrats will maintain control of Congress, Biden and his party have avoided the “red wave” that some strategists predicted was going to be fueled by record inflation and economic woes.

Biden’s losses are likely to tally far fewer than President Barack Obama suffered in 2010 or President Donald Trump in 2018. 

The results give validation to a White House that for weeks has been making the case that Biden’s policies — from student debt relief to infrastructure investments — were widely popular with voters and that their strategy of touting those accomplishments would pay off. One Biden adviser said there was a feeling of vindication in the West Wing on Wednesday morning, particularly with the loss of some Trump-backed candidates who had continued to push falsehoods about who won the 2020 election.

Read more here.

McCarthy launches bid for speaker even as House control remains undecided

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., officially announced Wednesday that he plans to run for speaker of the House. NBC News has not yet projected which party will control the lower chamber, but the Decision Desk has estimated that the GOP is on track to have a narrow majority in the House.

“While a number of races remain outstanding, I can confidently report that we will … build on our significant gains from last cycle and achieve our goal of taking back the House,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to his conference.

McCarthy would be the leading candidate to hold the gavel if Republicans win the majority. He has served as minority leader since 2019 and has served in GOP leadership since 2009, after becoming a member of the House in 2007.

He added that he will be “a listener every bit as much as a Speaker.” McCarthy, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, outlined the focus of a Republican majority, including ending proxy voting and tasking committees with drafting and marking up bills.

No other Republican has announced whether he or she would challenge McCarthy for speaker. If the GOP takes control, House Republicans would be expected to hold an informal vote for speaker behind closed doors in the next few weeks. A formal floor vote for speaker would take place once the new Congress convenes early next year.

Image: Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at an election night event in Washington.Alex Brandon / AP

What the midterms mean for a possible Trump-Biden rematch in 2024

Former President Donald Trump was demonstrably weakened — and President Joe Biden strengthened — by Tuesday’s midterm election results, just as the two begin to circle each other for a possible 2024 rematch.

Even with several key race calls outstanding, Republicans failed to generate the “red wave” Trump had predicted. Many of his favored candidates in marquee races, including election deniers in key swing states, lost to Democrats. And Trump’s most formidable potential rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, won re-election in a 20-point romp.

Though Democrats could still lose at least one chamber of Congress as of Wednesday morning, an outcome that could shut down Biden’s legislative agenda and lead to investigations of his administration, Biden and his party emerged in a stronger position than was expected. Critics in his own party fell silent Tuesday night. And Biden allies said they believe he is on track to win a second term.

“To run against Trump, the president just needs to keep doing his job,” Cedric Richmond, the co-chairman of Biden’s 2020 campaign and a former top White House official, said Tuesday before polls closed. “What the president has tried to do and what he’s accomplished is popular.”

Read the full story here.

Pelosi praises Virginia Rep. Luria, who lost to Republican challenger

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed admiration Wednesday for Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, a moderate Democrat who lost her re-election bid to Republican challenger Jen Kiggans.

“Congresswoman Elaine Luria is a patriot, whose determination to defend our Democracy has earned the respect of her colleagues and so many across the country,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

Pelosi praised Luria’s service in the U.S. Navy and the way she applied her “military expertise” on the House Armed Services Committee and other assignments. The speaker singled out Luria’s work on the congressional committee probing the Jan. 6., 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“In the wake of the staggering January 6th attack, she inspired all freedom-loving Americans with her principled, bipartisan and unifying work to protect our precious Democracy on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack,” Pelosi said, referring to Luria.

DCCC Chair Maloney acknowledges his defeat and celebrates strong night for Democrats

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, acknowledged his re-election defeat as he spoke to reporters Wednesday.

“In this life, how you handle defeat is as important as how you handle success. And we had an equal measure of both last night,” Maloney told reporters during a post-election briefing at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. “I want to thank my Democratic colleagues for their support.”

Maloney said his team at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee still does not know which party will control Congress next year; there are still many races that are too close to call.

“I will leave it to others to make predictions, we’re going to do it the right way,” he said. “And if we fall a little short, we’re going to know that we gave it our all and we beat the spread and I want to thank our candidates who were remarkable, whose hard work and dedication fueled the defense that defines what happened last night.”

Maloney added that he had called his GOP opponent, Mike Lawler, to congratulate him on his victory. NBC News, however, has not yet made a projection in that contest.

“There’s still a beating heart to American democracy, and I think you saw it last night. They’re not giving up on people with common sense and good values,” he said.

Republican finger-pointing begins as control of Congress is still up in the air

As the political world settled in for a long wait to know who will control Congress, Republicans began finger-pointing about whether former President Donald Trump was to blame for their lackluster election night.

Republicans could still take control of both the House and Senate, but their predictions of a massive red wave sweeping the country fell short, as some major Trump-backed candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania were defeated while key races in Arizona and Nevada were still too close to call Wednesday. The Georgia Senate race is headed to a December runoff, NBC News projects, making it increasingly likely control of the upper chamber won’t be decided until then.

“Now that it’s obvious the @gop should expel the Trump family from its future lexicon,” Trump critic and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted Wednesday morning.

Trump hosted an election night party at his Mar-a-Lago estate that was expected to be an opportunity for him to take credit for many of his endorsed candidates scoring big victories. Instead, Trump gave a very short, lackluster speech and then quietly watched the returns while eating dinner with a small group of close aides.

Read the full story here.

McConnell on midterm elections results thus far: ‘I don’t deal in feelings’

and

As control of Congress hangs in the balance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked how he is feeling about the results of the midterms elections so far that show Democrats outperforming Republicans in some key races.

“I don’t deal in feelings,” McConnell told reporters as he walked to his office. “The question is, they’ve got to count the votes and then we’ll figure out where we are.”

In the months leading up to Election Day, McConnell has said Senate races depend largely on “candidate quality.”

“Senate races are just different, they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said during a leadership press conference in August. “Right now we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country but I think when all is said and done this fall we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”

Biden to make remarks on midterm elections

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the midterm elections at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

The president will give a speech and take questions from the news media in the State Dining Room at 4 p.m. ET, the White House said.

Biden said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend, strengthen, and renew it.” Saying he’ll have more to add later, he thanked poll workers and officials “that worked into the night to safeguard our sacred right to vote. And the millions who made their voices heard.”

Biden has also been making calls to winning Democratic candidates, the White House said.

Arizona’s Maricopa County says it received more early ballots on Election Day than in 2020

PHOENIX — With hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted in Arizona, election officials in the state’s most populous county say the number of early voting ballots received on Election Day this year appears to have exceeded 2020 numbers.

In 2020, Maricopa County received some 170,000 early ballots on Election Day compared to at least 275,000 in 2022, county officials said in a tweet.

“As this number grows (despite my efforts), we will likely want to have a policy conversation about which we value more: Convenience of dropping off Early Ballot on Election Day or higher percentage of returns with 24 hours of Election Night,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said in a tweet.

Officials estimate a total of more than 400,000 ballots are left to be counted and verified, and official results are not expected until Friday at the earliest. This includes some 17,000 ballots that were affected by glitches at some polling sites throughout the county. The county says more than 1 million ballots have already been reported.

Candidates in some of the tightest races remained on edge Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said the incumbent is “being patient” today waiting for more ballot drops while his opponent, Republican Blake Masters, tweeted that he is “confident” he will win.

Image: Ballot Counting Continues In Arizona Day After Midterm Election
An adjudication board reviews ballots Wednesday at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix.John Moore / Getty Images

Republicans pick up Democratic House seat in Arizona

Republicans have picked up the seat held by Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran who ran for re-election in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.

NBC News projects that Republican Eli Crane defeated the Democratic incumbent. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rated the race as leaning Republican.

Crane is a combat veteran and Navy SEAL who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

O’Halleran has served in the House since 2017 and has represented Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, but redistricting led to his running in the 2nd Congressional District, which was much more favorable to Republicans.

The 2nd district is mostly rural and covers the northeastern part of the state.


Kentucky voters reject ballot measure removing right to abortion

Kentucky voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have amended the state constitution to explicitly say it does not protect a right to abortion, NBC News projects.

At the polls, voters were asked whether they were in favor of adding a new section in the state Constitution that states: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

With 82% of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, 48.6% of voters said yes and 51.4% said no.

It is a major victory for advocates of abortion rights, who are challenging the state’s “trigger laws” that went into effect over the summer, effectively outlawing abortion, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Read the full story.

Georgia Senate race heads to December runoff

The Georgia Senate race is headed to a runoff, NBC News projected Wednesday, with neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker topping the necessary 50% required under state law to win on the first ballot.

The runoff will take place on Dec. 6, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. Both campaigns were bracing for this Tuesday night as the results came in and showed a close contest.

The contest pitted Warnock, who was elected in a 2020 special election, against Walker, a former football star who was encouraged by former President Donald Trump to run. Walker, a first-time political candidate, drew an early endorsement from Trump and all but cleared the Republican primary field.

Read more here.

Pelosi credits Rep. Maloney with Democrats’ success in close races after he conceded

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., credited Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., with helping Democrats win in battleground districts after he conceded his competitive re-election race.

In a statement Wednesday, Pelosi said Maloney, the head of House Democrats’ campaign arm, has been “an outstanding leader of the DCCC.”

“It is a credit to his vision, his strategic thinking and his leadership that our Members and candidates had the mobilization, message and money to run excellent races and win in tough districts,” she said. “Republicans may have gained a Pyrrhic victory with this race because it has clearly come at the expense of other possible Republican wins.”

Maloney conceded to his GOP challenger Michael Lawler earlier this morning. NBC News, however, has not yet made a projection in the race.

“Clearly, House Democrats have exceeded expectations,” Pelosi said. “With many races continuing to be too close to call, every vote must be counted as cast to determine the final results. As we proceed, we continue to be grateful to Sean Patrick Maloney for the successful operation he led that brought us to this point.”

While huddling with House Democrats on a 30-minute call Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi touted the results of the election and gave a shout-out to Maloney, saying he “took an arrow for us,” two sources on the call told NBC News. She also told members, “We said we would make our own environment — and we did.”


Rep. Jim Banks announces he’ll vie for majority whip if GOP wins House

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana on Wednesday told his GOP colleagues that he intends to run for majority whip if Republicans take the House.

In a letter provided to NBC News by his office, Banks cited his tenure as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus with more than 150 members, and talks about his connections with the conservative Heritage Foundation and American Conservative Union. 

Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm, and Drew Ferguson of Georgia, the current chief deputy whip handpicked by the current GOP whip, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also vying for the job.

It’s a position that, assuming Republicans regain control of the lower chamber, will fall third in line behind McCarthy, from California, and Scalise, who is likely to serve as majority leader in a Republican-controlled House.

Photo: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cruises to re-election

Ron DeSantis with his wife Casey DeSantis and their three children on Tuesday night in Tampa.
Ron DeSantis with his wife, Casey, and their three children on Tuesday night in Tampa.Giorgio Viera / AFP – Getty Images

Jon Ralston says results in Nevada might not come until the weekend

Longtime Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent said Wednesday that it could take until the weekend for the state’s races to be called.

“The state law says they have to count any mail ballots that come in that have been postmarked on Election Day or before by Saturday at 5:00 p.m.,” he said on MSNBC.

And because Friday is a federal holiday, Veterans Day, final results may not be in until Saturday, Ralston said.

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is locked in a very tight re-election race with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. NBC News has not yet projected a winner in the contest. (View live results here).

A slew of other races in Nevada — including for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state — all remain too early to call, according to NBC News projections.

Sen. Ron Johnson defeats Democrat Mandela Barnes to win Wisconsin re-election

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has won re-election to a third term in Wisconsin, NBC News projects, narrowly defeating Democrat Mandela Barnes.

Democrats had initially been hopeful that they could oust Johnson, who was increasingly defined by headlines over his statements on issues like abortion, his perpetuation of dubious and unproven Covid treatments, and his ties to the Jan. 6 riot and fake elector plot to help throw the 2020 election to Donald Trump. 

But a successful rebrand, as well as unrelenting attacks against Barnes on crime and criminal justice issues, appeared to help Johnson’s standing among voters.

Barnes made an early bet to run as a progressive and largely did not move to the center. His campaign focused heavily on promises to protect abortion rights and Social Security benefits.

Read more here.

Beating back GOP crime messaging, Dems prevail in Harris County, Texas

HOUSTON — In what was seen as a test of the GOP’s national messaging on crime, Democrats have maintained control of local government in Harris County, Texas, the nation’s third most populous county.

Republican Alexandra del Moral Mealer, who’d raised a record-setting $8.6 million in her bid to unseat Democratic Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, conceded defeat on social media Wednesday morning.

With the backing of several Republican megadonors, Mealer had sought to paint Hidalgo as out-of-touch on violent crime, which has increased in Harris County at a similar rate as other major cities since 2020 but is down somewhat in 2022. Republicans had blanked Harris County — which includes Houston and surrounding suburbs — with campaign signs that read, “Tired of violent crime? Vote Republican judges.”

Despite the ad blitz, Democrats were leading by narrow margins in the vast majority of countywide elections Wednesday morning.

Democrats pick up Michigan seat held by GOP Rep. who lost primary after impeaching Trump

Democrats have won a Michigan House seat that has been held by GOP Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his primary after voting to impeach Trump, NBC News projected.

NBC News projected Democrat Hillary Scholten as the winner in that race, defeating. Republican candidate John Gibbs. Democrats boosted Gibbs, backed by former President Donald Trump, during the primary cycle by airing ads in support of him. Gibbs beat Meijer for the GOP nomination after Meijer voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

House Democrats’ campaign fundraising arm spent $425,000 on an ad tying Gibbs to Trump and portraying him as too conservative for Western Michigan.

The race was considered a tossup. President Joe Biden carried Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District in 2020. The district includes the city of Grand Rapids and borders part of Lake Michigan.

Maloney is first DCCC chair to lose his own seat since 1980

Before New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney conceded Wednesday, it had been 42 years since a chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm — the DCCC — lost his own House seat.

California Rep. James Corman ran the committee during President Jimmy Carter’s ill-fated re-election bid in 1980 and was swept out with Carter.

Pennsylvania Democrat Deluzio wins in a suburban Pittsburgh House district with national implications

Democrat Chris Deluzio has defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer in a hotly contested race in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, NBC News projects.

The race, which took place in the Pittsburgh suburbs, had become the only toss-up contest for an open congressional seat in the six swing states that President Joe Biden won in 2020, according to The Cook Political Report, the nonpartisan analyst of elections. It was a must-win for Democrats to have any hope of retaining control of the House.

Deluzio is set to succeed Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who gave up his seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

Chris Deluzio, Democratic Representative candidate for Pennsylvania
Chris Deluzio speaks Tuesday outside a polling location in Aspinwall, Pa. Justin Merriman / Bloomberg via Getty Images

NBC News Exit Poll: Black voters more concerned than white voters about crime and guns

While crime and gun policy trailed inflation as key concerns for many voters, those issues were relatively important to Black voters, the NBC News Exit Poll found.

Over one-third of Black voters cited either crime (20%) or gun policy (17%) as mattering most to their vote this year. Only 20% of white voters, by contrast, cited either crime or gun policy. About one-quarter of Latino voters cited either issue.

While the potential erosion of Black voters’ support was a concern for Democrats this fall, the exit poll did not find significant evidence of that. The share of Black voters identifying as Democrats this year was similar to the share in the previous midterm election in 2018.

In the vote for U.S. House candidates, however, Blacks women’s support for Democrats was slightly lower than in 2018. And there was more slippage among Black men voters, whose support for House Democrats fell to 80%, from 87% in 2018. As with many exit poll findings, this pattern could be more reflective of which Black voters abstained from voting this year, rather than Black voters changing their political views overall.

In historic House race between gay candidates, Republican defeats Democrat

Republican George Santos is the winner in the race for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, beating Democrat Robert Zimmerman and flipping the seat from blue to red, NBC News projected.

The contest marked the first time two openly gay congressional candidates had gone head to head in a general election.

Santos will succeed Democrat Tom Suozzi, who left Congress last year in an unsuccessful bid for governor.

He will also become the first openly LGBTQ non-incumbent Republican elected to Congress. All 11 current LGBTQ members of Congress — two senators and nine representatives — are Democrats.

Read more here.

George Santos campaigns in Glen Cove, N.Y. , on Nov. 5, 2022.
George Santos campaigns in Glen Cove, N.Y. , on Saturday.Mary Altaffer / AP

Hillary Clinton after Dems avoid red wave: ‘Women enjoy having human rights’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested that women turned out in the 2022 general election motivated by the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Roe v. Wade ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide.

“It turns out women enjoy having human rights, and we vote,” she tweeted Wednesday morning.

In NBC News’ Exit Polls, 53% of women said they voted Democrat and 45% said they voted Republican. Abortion was a major factor that influenced all voters’ decisions.

More than a quarter of voters, 27%, said abortion was the top issue in deciding which candidates to support, and more than half of voters, 53%, said they trust the Democratic Party to handle the issue.

Fifty-nine percent said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 36% who said it should be illegal in most or all cases. Additionally, 61% said they were either angry or dissatisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe while 37% said they were enthusiastic or satisfied about the ruling.

NBC News Exit Poll: First-time midterms voters back Republicans in change from 2018

First-time midterms voters cast their ballot very differently this year than they did in 2018, the NBC News Exit Poll found. The group broke for Democratic candidates for the U.S. House by over 20 points in the 2018 midterms. This year, first-time midterms voters favored Republicans in the House by about 8 points.

There were also fewer first-time midterms voters in 2022 compared to 2018. According to the exit poll, the share of voters participating in their first midterms dropped from 16% in 2018 to 12% this year. 2018 saw the highest turnout for a midterm election in over 100 years (since 1914).

House Democrats’ campaign chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney concedes New York race

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., the chairman of House Democrats’ campaign arm, has conceded defeat in his re-election bid to Republican New York Assemblyman Mike Lawler, a spokesman for the Maloney campaign said. NBC News has not projected a winner in the race.

The race had been considered a toss-up in recent weeks. Maloney, who has served in Congress since 2013, is head of the House Democrats’ campaign fundraising arm this election cycle. It is very rare for the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to lose re-election.

The race to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District, which covers parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties, had become so competitive that Democrats had to launch an eleventh-hour rescue mission for Maloney.

The 56-year-old Democrat was running in a new district that was part of a redrawn congressional map for New York. Maloney has been representing the area north of the new district.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm led by Maloney, spent $600,000 in TV ads for its chairman, and Our Hudson, a super PAC backing Malone, spent at least $110,000 on ads for Maloney.

Michigan Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin wins re-election bid

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., won her re-election bid in Michigan’s 7th District against Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett, NBC News projects.

Slotkin, a moderate Michigan Democrat, earned the first Democratic endorsement of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy. Cheney previously said that she would work against certain Republican candidates who she views as a threat to democracy after the Republican primary to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman.

Image: Rep. Elissa Slotkin Holds Election Night Event In East Lansing
Rep. Elissa Slotkin addresses supporters at her election night watch party. Sarah Rice / Getty Images

Rep. Chris Pappas beats ex-Trump aide Karoline Leavitt in New Hampshire race

Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas has won re-election in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, defeating former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt, NBC News projects.

The contest was considered a toss-up. Leavitt, who at 25 would have been one of the first Gen Z members, has said the 2020 election was “stolen away from us.”

NBC News Exit Poll: There are key differences between Latino and white Republicans

As Latinos make up a growing share of the U.S. electorate, about 30% to 40% have historically voted for Republican candidates. These Latino Republicans have much in common with the white Republicans who make up the party’s base, but they also have different views on several key issues, the NBC News Exit Poll found.

Both Latino and white voters who supported Republican candidates for U.S. House viewed inflation as the issue that mattered most, and more than 90% of Latino and white Republican voters said they disapprove of President Biden.

But Latinos who voted Republican in House races were more likely to say that climate change was a somewhat or very serious problem, with 56% holding that view compared to 47% of white Republican voters, the exit poll found. And more than twice as many Latino Republican voters approved of Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.

On immigration, 37% of Latinos who voted Republican said that immigrants to the U.S. do more to make the country better than to hurt it, compared to 23% of white Republican voters who agreed.

And there is a gap between Latino Republican voters who said they believe abortion should be legal (44%) and white Republican voters who said the same (28%).

Gov. Abbott greets supporters in Texas Tuesday night

Gov. Greg Abbott gives a thumbs up to the crowd in McAllen, Texas on Tuesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott gives a thumbs-up to the crowd in McAllen, Texas on Tuesday. David J. Phillip / AP

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wins re-election

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has won re-election to a second term, NBC News projects, defeating Republican challenger Derek Schmidt.

Kelly was the only Democratic governor running for re-election in a state won by Donald Trump in 2020. Her win keeps a Democrat in the top job in ruby red Kansas for another four years.

Her narrow victory over Schmidt, the state’s three-term attorney general, came after she focused her campaign almost exclusively on the economy, tax cuts, education and her desire to work with Republicans.

Read more here.

Mehmet Oz concedes Pennsylvania Senate race

and

Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz said Wednesday that he called John Fetterman, the state lieutenant governor, to congratulate him on winning the race.

“I wish him and his family all the best, both personally and as our next United States senator,” Oz said in a statement, in which he thanked his supporters and called the campaign “the honor of a lifetime.”

“We are facing big problems as a country, and we need everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done,” Oz said. “With bold leadership that brings people together, we can create real change. As a doctor, I always do my best to help others heal. That’s why I ran for Senate. I hope we begin the healing process as a nation soon.”

Oz expressed confidence that he would win the race on Tuesday night as he trailed Fetterman by 1.1 percentage points at midnight ET.

“When all the ballots are counted, we believe we will win this race,” Oz told supporters at his election night party. “We have been closing the gap all night, and we have a lot more ballots to go.”

Fetterman is set to succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who opted against seeking re-election.

Mehmet Oz
Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa, at an election night rally. Matt Rourke / AP

Schumer says ‘I’m feeling good’ as Senate hangs in balance

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday morning that he’s “feeling good” after Democrats had a better-than-expected election night.

“I am feeling good. That’s all I’m saying,” he said as reporters peppered him with questions. “All I’m saying is I’m feeling good this morning.”

Schumer, who easily won re-election, said he declared victory in his race from New York on Tuesday night and then flew down to Washington to watch the votes stream in from the headquarters of Senate Democrats’ campaign fundraising arm.

Several key Senate races that will determine which party holds the majority in the next Congress have not been called yet.





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