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Key Takeaways From the 2022 Midterm Elections

Note: This article was submitted on November 13, 2022. It is possible that some percentages have changed or some results have been announced since then.

The United States midterm elections took place on November 8, 2022, and for many Americans, the stakes were high. Especially after Roe v. Wade was overturned this past summer, Democrats and Republicans alike have been fighting to gain control of Congress to pass reproductive legislation. Tensions have also been high surrounding other issues like gun control, the January 6 insurrection, and inflation. With 35 Senate, 435 House, and 36 governor seats up for grabs at the election, the country was ready for a battle.

Election Day evening was filled with uncertainty, as neither party seemed to pull a decisive victory for quite some time. Now, even though many of the results are in, it can be overwhelming to keep track of all of the information. Here are some key takeaways from the 2022 midterm elections, both locally in Colorado and nationally.

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Colorado

The results for Colorado’s Senate and Gubernatorial elections were announced quickly after polls closed, with Democratic incumbents – Michael Bennett and Jared Polis, respectively – winning their races against Republican challengers Joe O’Dea and Heidi Ganahl. 

The majority of races for the House of Representatives were won by incumbents. Currently, two races remain undecided: District 3 (Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert is currently in the lead) and the newly created District 8 (Democrat Yadira Caraveo is currently in the lead). These seats are two of several that have not been called yet nationally, and they could have an impact on which party takes control of the House.

Here is a brief look at the propositions and amendments that were on the ballot in Colorado:

  • Proposition 121, a Colorado state income tax cut, passed.
  • Proposition 122, which legalizes psychedelics and decriminalizes psychedelic compounds, passed.
  • Proposition 123, which sets aside tax revenue for affordable housing, passed.
  • Proposition 124, to expand retail liquor licenses, did not pass.
  • Proposition 125, which allows grocery and other stores to sell wine, has not been called at the time this article was written but is expected to pass.
  • Proposition 126, to allow alcohol delivery, did not pass.
  • Proposition FF, which reduces income tax deductions to fund school meal programs, passed.
  • Proposition GG, which includes income tax effects in ballot measure language, passed.
  • Amendment D, to appoint judges for the new judicial district, passed.
  • Amendment E, to extend property tax exemption, passed.
  • Amendment F, regulating charitable gaming, did not pass.

National

Georgia was one of the states to pay attention to this year. After the state’s historic flip from red to blue in the 2020 presidential election, all eyes were on the gubernatorial race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams and the Senate race between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock. Republican Brian Kemp won the governor seat, receiving 53.4% of the votes compared to Abrams’ 45.8%. 

The Georgia Senate election, however, did not have an official winner. Neither Walker nor Warnock earned 50% of the vote, which is required to earn the Senator seat, so Georgia will have another runoff election taking place on December 6, 2022. 

Another gubernatorial race to pay attention to was Texas, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke challenged Republican incumbent Greg Abbott. Although O’Rourke did better than expected with voters along the Texas/Mexico border, he ultimately fell short of winning the red state, and Abbott won with 54.8% of the votes.

Pennsylvania had its own battle for the Senate, with a race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz (well known in pop culture as “Dr. Oz”). Oz hoped to maintain the Republican Senate seat of Pat Toomey, who is retiring, but Fetterman won the election with 50.8% of the vote. This flip gave the Democrats their first pickup for the Senate as the race to 51 continued on November 8.

Early on, it was determined that three states would determine control of the Senate: Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. After Georgia scheduled a runoff, all eyes were on Arizona and Nevada. By November 12, the country finally had results – Mark Kelley (Arizona Democrat) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada Democrat) won their races, meaning Democrats keep control of the Senate.

History in the Making

In Massachusetts, Maura Healey won the gubernatorial election against Republican incumbent Charlie Baker. She will not only be the state’s first female governor, but the first openly lesbian governor in US history.

Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor in the US, won re-election in Colorado.

Democrat Wes Moore won the gubernatorial election in Maryland, becoming the state’s first Black governor and the third Black governor in US history.

Democrat Maxwell Frost won his race for the House of Representatives in Florida, making him the first member of Generation Z to be elected to Congress.

Maryland and Missouri legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

Montana and Kentucky voted not to further criminalize abortion, and Michigan, California, and Vermont voted to enshrine abortion rights.

Congress

The main question Americans have after the midterms is, who has control of Congress? The frustrating answer, at the moment, is that we don’t know. We know for sure that Democrats have the Senate regardless of what happens in Georgia, but at the moment, the House could still go either way. The GOP is projected to gain control of the House, but time will tell if the Democrats manage to hang on to their majority.

Conclusions

Despite Republicans’ wishes for a “red wave,” the midterms this year showed a balance of partisan wins and losses. The absence of a red wave is being attributed to the record numbers of Gen Z voters who showed up on November 8, greatly helping the Democrats achieve victory. 

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Many races this election cycle were decided by just a handful of votes, which is an important reminder that every vote matters. As we approach the next presidential election in 2024, it is important to remember what is at stake if we don’t vote and how important it is to participate in democracy.

Jordyn is a senior at CU Boulder and the Editor-in-Chief of HCCU. She loves hiking, reading, and playing with her silver lab puppy, and can usually be found exploring restaurants and bookstores around Boulder.