Control of Congress was still undecided Wednesday after a predicted Democratic rout failed to materialize.
Instead, Democrats outperformed polls and handed the GOP some unexpected defeats over issues such as abortion. Republicans under former President Donald Trump 40 seats in the House and lost two seats in the Senate in 2018, according to the American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.
Democrats while former President Barack Obama was in office lost 13 House seats and nine in the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections.
Here are four takeaways from the 2022 midterm elections.
The Ballyhooed Red Wave Trickled Away
Far from overwhelming Democrats, Republicans found themselves fighting hard to wrest control of the House and Senate from Democrats. Some fiercely contested positions went to Democrats over Republicans, among them the Pennsylvania Senate seat that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman won over Dr. Mehmet Ozand the New Hampshire Senate seat that first-term Maggie Hassan held on to in the face of a challenge from retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc.
Still to be decided were Senate races in Arizona pitting Democratic Mark Kelly in a re-election bid against Republican Blake Masters and in Nevada, where Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto was up against Republican Adam Laxalt.
Democrats Take Key Governor’s Mansions
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmerthe victim of an anti-government kidnapping plot, defeated Republican Tudor Dixon. Pennsylvania’s state Attorney General Josh Shapiro defeated Republican Doug Mastriano for the governor’s jobs in Pennsylvania after Shapiro portrayed his opponent as a far-right extremist. Shapiro made the race about abortion rights and the right to vote and to unionize.
A similar competition was playing out in Arizona, where Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake remained in competition for governor. Hobbs, the state’s secretary of state, had beaten back claims of fraud while Lake embraced Trump’s unfounded claims about stolen elections and conspiracies.
But in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won big, flipping Miami-Dade County and beating back former Gov. Charlie Crist decisively.
From the first out lesbian governor to the first female governor of Arkansas, women claimed historic firsts in elections across the country. But they weren’t the only ones.
Abortion Rights Mattered to Women
Abortion rights burst into the midterms election as a key issue after the US Supreme Court in the summer overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision guaranteeing women a right to an abortion.
Democrats such as Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who campaigned on protecting rights, won their races.
Kentucky voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have stated there was no right to an abortion.
Vermont approved a constitutional right to reproductive autonomy, the first state to do so. California and Michigan also okayed abortion rights.
GOP Inflation Plans Fall Short
They had hoped to ride high inflation of over 8% in particular to new seats Congress but NBC New Exit Polls found that voters were not certain Republicans would do much better in bringing prices down.
The GOP had only a 12-point advantage over Democrats when voters were asked whom they trusted more on inflation, NBC News reported.