LOS ANGELES, CA – While the Republicans hoped for bigger gains, what ultimately transpired was yet another mixed election, signaling a nation even more divided than ever before.
That means, while Democrats were hoping abortion and Roe overturned would be the key issue and Republicans were hoping inflation and rising costs would tip voters their way, ultimately it was neither, both and mixed.
It was instead, a state’s existing partisan lean that was further exacerbated, ultimately cancelling out the warring left and right and created a status quo election that went from a tilt Democrat House to a tilt Republican House. Voters seemed to reject the partisan extremes of both sides with a slight favor to the party out of power: the Republicans.
The red wave was pronounced in select states, mostly the big 4 states (CA, TX, FL, NY).
Florida, now the the third largest state in the Union (after Texas and California) gave Republican Ron DeSantis a landslide 20 point victory, while electing Republican supermajorities to their upper and lower houses, painting a formerly purple state, dark Red. In addition, Florida can be held responsible for the House turning red, sending 4 new Republican pickups to Congress.
But Republicans didn’t just make inroads in Florida. They did so in Texas, where incumbent Governor Abbott also cruised to an easy double digit victory and Republicans picked up new seats in the House, which mostly went to Republicans.
The surprise states to help Republicans were New York and California, which moved to the right due to worsening problems with crime in both states. Nevada also elected a Republican governor, Joe Lombardo, a former Sheriff, for the same reasons.
New York was ultimately responsible for 4 GOP pickups in the House and the surprisingly strong Republican governor candidate Lee Zeldin only lost by 5 points in a state known for Democratic dominance. In 2008, Republicans only had 3 seats in the New York Congressional delegation. Now it is 11.
California, despite Democratic gerrymandering, saw every Republican incumbent hold on to their House seats despite Democrats losing one seat due to the Census. Gavin Newsom’s re-election was at a much smaller margin than his original 2018 election and the 2021 recall he won back against last year.
The red wave was mixed and muddled in purple states, with a slight advantage for Democrats.
With record Democratic spending in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, the results were more mixed. Most of these states ultimately split their tickets, with Nevada electing a Republican governor and a Democratic Senator.
Arizona, despite being a clearer win on the scoreboard for Democrats, did re-elect their Republican treasurer Kimberly Yee, who garnered more votes than both the gubernatorial candidates perhaps indicating many middle of the road voters are tired of heavy partisans. Arizona also sent 6 Republicans and only 3 Democrats to Congress, a partisan flip of their delegation but re-elected Democrat Mark Kelly to the Senate.
Pennsylvania was a clearer win for Democrats as the governor Josh Shapiro was elected in a landslide while the close Oz-Fetterman race ultimately tipped towards the Democrat, Fetterman.
Blue states generally went bluer, red states went redder but Republicans made important inroads everywhere and Democrats won in unexpected places.
While states like Oregon and Washington teased potential statewide Republican victories before election, ultimately they didn’t pan out. But the margins of victory for Democrats were smaller and Republicans even gained one House seat in Oregon.
Democrats picked up surprising seats in red territory in Alaska, Ohio and North Carolina but Republicans did the same in blue states like the aforementioned Oregon, Virginia, New Jersey, New York. Republicans picked up a net seat in purple states like Georgia, Wisconsin and two in Arizona.
Democrats expanded their congressional delegations in blue strongholds Washington and Illinois but so did Republicans in Tennessee, Iowa and Montana.
DeSantis is the instant frontrunner for the 2024 nomination. Otherwise it’s Trump.
DeSantis’ landslide victory in an environment of mixed results made him look even more commanding. To the point that polls conducted right after the election showed that he is now the instant frontrunner in states like Texas and Iowa. In a head to head matchup against Trump, who just announced he’s running for President in 2024, DeSantis would win by double digits.
These midterm results even in red states, show a desire to move on to a new chapter. One thing is for sure: Trump, for the first time, ever, has some serious competition.
Election integrity remains an issue on the forefront of GOP concerns, while “election denying” seems to a concern of some voters, especially in blue and swing states.
The left may call it “election denial” but true concerns dominate the concerns of many voters. Was there fraud when it took days to count the Arizona mail-in ballots? Or did absentee candidate Katie Hobbs really win the governorship despite dodging debates?
Was the governor race left blank on a lot of ballots because “moderate” voters thought Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs were too extreme? The mainstream media likes to consider certain things extreme that may actually be the mainstream.
A local city clerk who won her election handily in the city of San Gabriel, Julie Nguyen, reached out to me when she noticed that her provisional ballot had her political party marked on the outside portion of the ballot. Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?
Many voters have received multiple ballots with slight name changes and misspellings or if they changed political parties during election season. Voila, extra ballots. Theoretically one ballot should be accepted and the extras should be thrown out. But is that happening?
Meanwhile, on the left, there are legitimate questions posed about candidates on the right who participate in an election process that they would accept if they win but that they would deem illegitimate if they lost.
Another question is glaring: for those “election deniers”: you had years to address the problem. It is clear that Florida did and can be a blueprint for fast efficient and safe elections while accounting for the high volume of early voting.
Why weren’t these mechanisms installed in states like Arizona and Nevada like voter ID and cleaning of voter rolls? Even if there was no impropriety going on, the optics are terrible if it takes a week to count the votes and random dumps are trickling in late in the game. Can’t we put a stop to this bad optic? Where were the GOP leaders?
Maybe Florida has the right model to restore the confidence of a significant voting bloc, and maybe honest citizens wanting accountability shouldn’t just be broad stroked as “election deniers”? Maybe the political class should actually hear the concerns of the many on the ground.