State of Congress Unknown

The United States midterm elections were held on Nov. 8. Election Day has become election week, as the results of some races are still unknown.

Votes are still being counted in many battleground states that will determine which party will control Congress. On Saturday, it was decided that Democrats will keep control of the Senate after Nev. incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican opponent Adam Laxalt by less than one percent.

Dr. Gary L. Rose, political science professor and chair of the Government Department at Sacred Heart University, shared his reaction to the results of the midterms.

“This election was by no means the red wave that some pundits were predicting,” said Rose. “It’s obvious that fears of losing our democracy and the privacy right, particularly the abortion right, were deemed by the electorate almost as important as inflation and the economy.”

Swing states played an important part in this year’s Senate elections. In the Pa. race, Democrat Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman flipped a GOP filled seat after his victory against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. There was another tight race in Ariz. that resulted in a win for Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly over Republican Blake Masters.

Liv Delgado, senior and President of the College Democrats, shared her thoughts about younger voters and what she’d like to see for the country going forward.

“While the speculated ‘red wave’ did not take the country this year, many races on national and local scales still came down to the narrowest of margins,” said Delgado. “However, with Fetterman’s red-to-blue flip, this will have a major effect on the legislative possibilities of the Democratic party.”

The state of Ga. requires a runoff election if none of the candidates win by a simple majority. Neither incumbent Raphael Warnock nor Republican and former NFL star Herschel Walker reached 50 percent of the votes, so a runoff will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 6, to determine who will serve as the state’s next Senator.

Jack Kurnik, senior and acting Vice President of the College Republicans, shared his feelings on the results of some key races.

“Some results show that candidates backed by former President Trump didn’t have the same appeal to voters as they once had,” said Kurnik. “However, Walker is one example of a successful Trump-backed candidate, having performed seemingly well thus far.”

The party who will control the House of Representatives has yet to be determined, as neither side has met the 218-seat requirement. However, the GOP leads with 217 seats secured over the Democrats’ 206 seats. The results of the remaining 12 seats hang in the balance.

“The Biden administration will need to capitalize on their secured Senate majority by potentially compromising the House,” said Kurnik.

A close House race happened in Conn. between Democrat incumbent Jahana Hayes and Republican George Logan in the state’s fifth district. Logan conceded last Thursday, resulting in Conn.’s entire congressional delegation remaining Democrat.

“The tightly contested race was accurately predicted to be a toss-up, which ended with Hayes winning by a margin of less than 2,000 votes,” said Kurnik. “I hope Logan’s slim loss won’t result in his retreat from politics, as I believe he’s on the cusp of turning longtime moderate Democrat voters in Conn. red.”

The Democrats did, however, suffer a significant loss in the N.Y. House race after Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents the 18th district but ran in the 17th due to redistricting, conceded to his Republican challenger Mike Lawler after serving five terms. Lawler’s win is one of four seats that were flipped by the GOP, securing 10 of the 26 seats so far.

“If the Democratic Party can mend the many bridges burned by their opposition, they’ll be successful in passing new bills through the Senate,” said Kurnik.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in an interview Sunday that it’s too soon to say if she’ll seek to keep her position if the Democrats secure the House. Her decision will come within the next few weeks ahead of the House Democrats’ Nov. 30 leadership elections.

“Moving forward, I believe we’ll see our House leadership work across the aisle to manage growing political divisions,” said Delgado. “Bipartisanship is necessary to get significant legislation passed, and the majority in the Senate will have the advantage to pass laws on abortion rights, the climate crisis, education, healthcare and much more.”

On the other side of the aisle, Calif. Representative and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has won the GOP nomination for Speaker if Republicans take back control of the House. He defeated challenger Rep. Andy Biggs of Ariz. by a total vote of 188-31. There will be a final vote in Jan. before the entire House of Representatives for McCarthy to secure the position.

“With President Biden in the White House, a potential Republican-controlled House, and a Senate evenly split, I would expect gridlock until the next presidential contest,” said Rose. “Kevin McCarthy’s leadership will be key to public perceptions of the GOP.”

In the governor races, the Democrats flipped two seats, electing Wes Moore in Md. and Maura Healey in Mass. The Republicans flipped one seat in Nev. after electing Joe Lombardo. In N.Y., incumbent Kathy Hochul maintained her position against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, but only by a five percent margin.

“I think that, despite his loss, Zeldin successfully applied pressure on Hochul as crime rates continue to spike throughout N.Y.,” said Kurnik. “Zeldin was able to rally Republican support across the state, which the GOP should capitalize on for the 2024 elections.”

Nearly a week after election day, Democrat candidate Katie Hobbs defeated Republican and former television news anchor Karli Lake by less than one percent in Ariz. In Alaska, the gubernatorial race in is the last one to be determined in the country and Republican Mike Dunleavy is likely to win over Democrat Les Gara.

“Generation Z has proven they’re essential to the recent successes of the Democratic Party and progressive leaders,” said Delgado. “I hope that folks of all political affiliations will be able to set aside their differences to create legislation that’ll benefit struggling Americans.”

Ron DeSantis was reelected for a second term as Fla. governor after defeating Democrat opponent Charlie Crist by a nearly 20 percent margin after flipping both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. This was the biggest win for a Republican candidate in the state’s history and may be the jump start to a 2024 presidential campaign for DeSantis.

“If the Republicans intend to win the presidency in 2024, the party must have a meaningful and uplifting agenda rather than being viewed as vindictive or immersed in hearings and investigations,” said Rose. “Party unity will be essential.”

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