National elections: Outcome was closer than expected

The Nov. 8 midterm elections saw a closer-than-expected outcome, as the Democratic Party will retain control of the Senate while the party that will control the House of Representatives is still to be determined despite the prediction of a Republican wave by the vast majority of political pundits.

Democrats won the prize of this election cycle – control of the United States Senate – by flipping Pennsylvania blue and holding the seats they needed.

Current Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will keep his position and said, “This election is a victory – a victory and a vindication for Democrats, our agenda and for the American people.” 

Liberty students take come to the polls to cast their vote in the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3nd, 2020 (Photograph by Ross Kohl)

Both parties held on to their lean seats as the Republican Party sustained Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, while the Democrats kept New Hampshire, Colorado and Washington.

Nevada and Arizona, both toss-ups held by Democratic incumbents, stayed with the Democrats, giving the party the 50 votes it needs to retain control of the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote.

The high-profile race in Pennsylvania saw Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman soundly defeat Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in what was expected to be a tight race. He won by around 4% of the vote and flipped the seat to the Democrats. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson won reelection to a third term in Wisconsin, narrowly defeating Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes by about 26,000 votes out of the 2.6 million cast.

The Senate race in Georgia could potentially decide control of the upper chamber of Congress. Neither Republican Herschel Walker nor incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock received more than 50% of the vote due to a libertarian candidate, meaning a two-person runoff election will occur Dec. 6. Warnock initially garnered about 35,000 more votes than Walker out of 3.9 million in total, but the runoff will see both Democrats and Republicans pouring in all their resources to win this coin flip seat.

Control of the House of Representatives is still to be officially determined.

Most news outlets have recorded the current total at 211-204 with the Republicans leading, leaving 20 seats with undetermined winners. Republicans have the tally advantage, but the majority of undetermined races favor the Democrats. NBC News’ House model projects that Republicans will come away with a 219-216 majority with a margin of error of
four seats.

Liberty students take come to the polls to cast their vote in the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3nd, 2020 (Photograph by Ross Kohl)

Seats still being counted are in Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon and single seats in New York, Maine, New Mexico
and Alaska.

The small projected majority has already created debate among Republicans about the election of the Speaker of the House, the leader, chosen by a simple majority, that determines committee assignments, legislation scheduling and many other important happenings in the House.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California has been the leader of the Republican caucus in the House since 2019. However, the slim majority for Republicans gives each member and different factions within the party influence in determining who will be voted Speaker. This vote will occur at the beginning of the new House session
in January.

“I am running to serve as Speaker of the People’s House and humbly ask for your support,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to the Republican caucus.

Another notable event from this election at the local level that has 2024 implications was the red wave in Florida. In a state former President Donald Trump won by 3.3% in 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio defeated their opponents by 19.4% and 16.4%, respectively, by making large inroads with minorities and independents.

While final tallies for the midterm elections will be over soon, anticipation for the 2024 presidential election has only just begun, and both chambers of Congress will see drama with the determination of party leadership as both parties settle into their seats for the next two years.

Browder is the opinion editor for the Liberty Champion

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