Waiting game for Congressional control

With large batches still to be counted in key races, either party could still emerge with control of the House and Senate. Many poll watchers see a potential split, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats retaining a narrow Senate majority, a result forecast in polling for some time leading up to the election.

Neither Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) nor Republican Herschel Walker is projected to score the majority needed to claim the high-profile Georgia Senate race. That could put control of the Senate on hold until a Dec. 6th runoff. With only a handful of narrow races remaining, the party in power likely won’t hold more than a two-seat majority in the chamber come the next session.

The timeline for House control is even murkier, with a few dozen seats too close to call as of Wednesday morning. Counting and even recounts could push out the timeline to finalize the makeup of that chamber for some time. If tight races break for the GOP, they could still wind up with a significant majority forecast for some time. But if the Democrats continue defending targeted seats and flipping some red districts, the House and Senate could both end with single-digit majorities for the winning party.

This running election story will no longer be updated. Please visit our Politics from The Hill section for the latest national election headlines and remaining race calls.

Mixed results for marijuana on the ballot

The list of states where recreational marijuana is legal just got longer. Voters in Maryland and Missouri approved ballot measures to legalize the drug, making it legal in 21 U.S. states.

Meanwhile, voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rejected recreational cannabis. 

Marijuana wasn’t the only drug on the ballot this November. Colorado voters were also deciding whether to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. That measure was also too close to call early Wednesday. 

Key Georgia Senate race may head to runoff

A high-profile Senate race in Georgia may not be decided today, tomorrow, this week or even this month. That’s because neither candidate, Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker, have clinched 50% of the vote.

If neither candidate gets a majority, thanks to votes for a third-party candidate, they will square off again in a runoff election on Dec. 6. The Associated Press had not called the race as of 9:45 a.m.

The tight race between Warnock and Walker is one of four outstanding Senate races that will determine control of the Congressional chamber. Tight races in Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin also remained uncalled Wednesday morning.

Abortion rights win support

The June Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade put the legality of abortion back in the hands of states. On Tuesday, five of those states had abortion rights on the ballot, and protecting access to the procedure was chosen by voters in every case. 

In California, Michigan and Vermont, voters approved measures to enshrine the right to an abortion as part of their state constitutions. In Kentucky and Montana, voters rejected efforts to further restrict abortion access. 

These results continue the trend started by Kansas back in August. Voters there rejected a measure that would have written abortion restrictions into the state constitution. 

Fetterman wins Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race

“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania,” Democrat John Fetterman tweeted just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.

About an hour later, the AP called the race for Fetterman, whose victory could be pivotal to Democrats’ hopes of retaining Congress.

This combination of photos shows Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Oct. 8, 2022, in York, Pa., left, and Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Sept. 23, 2022, in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Fetterman spent much of the campaign recovering from a stroke while fending off attacks by Oz about his fitness to serve. In their lone debate, Fetterman turned in a rocky performance that fueled concern that it damaged his chances. 

Oz is a smooth-talking and wealthy heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity who just moved from his longtime home in New Jersey. In brief remarks to his election night party crowd in suburban Philadelphia, Oz thanked supporters and predicted victory.

Congressional control may take days to determine 

Many clear victories have come off the board as the calendar flipped to Nov. 9, and the emerging picture is that the majorities in the next Congress are likely to be razor-thin, no matter which party claims control. Significantly, it appears Democrats may have averted a massive “red wave” power shift. 

In the Senate, Republicans held on to the open seats in Ohio and North Carolina but lost the highly publicized race in Pennsylvania, a net loss. With four key races uncalled, it’s not clear the GOP will pick up a seat in that chamber. As of 1 a.m. Eastern, neither incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock nor challenger Herschel Walker held a 50 percent majority in the Georgia race deemed by many most likely to swing the Senate. That could mean control of the chamber would be determined at a runoff election on December 6th. 

In the House, where Republicans have long been viewed as likely to take control, the GOP successfully flipped several seats, but also saw dramatic losses to targeted candidates. Democrats even put the GOP on the defensive in some unexpected places, including high-profile Trump supporter Lauren Boebert in Colorado. With the potential for some House seats in California and other slow-counting states to take days, we may not know who will gavel the House into session for days. 

Democrats to take key Senate race in New Hampshire

Trump-styled Republican Don Bolduc is projected to have fallen short in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in a race that could signal the former president’s viability with voters two years after he left office.

New Hampshire is one of the closely contested Senate races that both parties have been banking on. Hassan’s projected victory gives the Democrats some hope as they await the outcome of the other races.

A number of more moderate Republicans, including the state’s governor, did not back Bolduc, a retired Army general who supported Trump’s claims about the 2020 election and cast doubt on New Hampshire’s elections, during the primary.

After Bolduc took a slightly more moderate stance the GOP establishment embraced him, and, thanks to a seven-figure cash infusion, his campaign gave Democrats concern about the outcome of the race.

Judge denies Democrats’ request to keep Nevada polls open

A judge in Nevada’s Clark County rejected a request from Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and her campaign to extend voting hours Tuesday.

The emergency complaint obtained by Nexstar’s KLAS, stated: “During November 8, 2022, multiple polling locations in Clark County experienced delays and long lines due to polling location running out of printer paper in the ballot printers.”

The lawsuit lists numerous inoperative printers at eight polling locations and asked the judge to keep them open for two more hours, until 9 p.m.

Judge Gloria Sturman denied the request on grounds of practicality, saying that many polling places were already closed and there would be no way of finding people who left the line and confirming that they were waiting to vote.

“Every vote must count, and delays caused by long lines and paper delays should not prevent Nevadans from casting their ballots,” Cortez Masto campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said in a statement before the ruling.

Nevada is one of the toss-up states when it comes to control of the U.S. Senate.

Maryland votes to legalize marijuana

Voters in five states are deciding on Election Day whether to approve recreational marijuana. The first result came in Maryland, where voters approved legalization, making it the 20th state to take that step.

Measures also were on the ballot in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The overall result could signal a major shift toward legalization in even the most conservative parts of the country.

Abrams concedes to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Stacey Abrams has called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to concede in their rematch, according to his campaign.

Minutes later, Abrams went on stage and congratulated the governor. The Associated Press had not yet called the race Tuesday night.

Republican candidate for Georgia Governor Gov. Brian Kemp gives a statement to members of the media Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 in Winterville, Ga. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)

Kemp, who was a developer before serving as a state senator and secretary of state, clinched another term despite attacks from former President Donald Trump that threatened to snuff out support in his own party.

Abrams, a lawyer whose 2018 loss to Kemp helped launch her into Democratic stardom, would have been the first Black woman to serve as a governor in the United States if she had won.

Republican J.D. Vance wins Ohio Senate race

J.D. Vance, the 38-year-old Republican author who penned “Hillbilly Elegy,” has defeated Tim Ryan, a 10-term Democratic U.S. House Representative, the Associated Press projects.

Ryan ran on a moderate platform. He vowed to rebuild the American middle class and painted Vance as an out-of-touch, far right extremist.

Vance, who once criticized former President Donald Trump, did a political about-face, adopting Trump’s unfounded claims of stolen 2020 presidential election and tacking hard to the right.

Voting hours extended in four states

In certain counties across the country, deadlines for voters to cast their ballots were extended, likely stretching the timeline for midterm results to be counted in four states, Nexstar’s The Hill reports.

In Georgia, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued Cobb County’s Board of Elections for failing to send over 1,000 requested absentee ballots. Following a judge’s order, ballots postmarked by Election Day can come into the county as late as Nov. 14. 

The Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas ACLU filed an emergency lawsuit after a number of polling locations in Harris County, home to Houston, reportedly failed to open on time for Election Day. Over 780 polling places were ordered by a judge to stay open until 9 p.m. local time, one hour longer than usual. Issues with check-in technology in Texas’ Bell County also caused polling places there to remain open longer. 

Polling places in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County were kept open an additional two hours due to a paper shortage. In North Carolina, polling places in Columbus, Robeson, and Wilson counties closed later in the evening after they opened late Tuesday morning.

Candidates for governor make history

There were several gubernatorial firsts tonight: In Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore becomes the state’s first Black governor, in Massachusetts, Democrat Maura Healey’s win makes her the state’s first woman and openly gay candidate to be elected governor and, in Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders became the first woman elected governor.

Left: Massachusetts Attorney General and Democratic candidate for Gov. Maura Healey greet supporters during a campaign stop, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Boston’s East Boston neighborhood. Right: Democrat Wes Moore speaks on the phone with Gov. Larry Hogan after Moore was declared the winner of the Maryland gubernatorial race, in Baltimore, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Steven Senne/Bryan Woolston)

Moore is a combat who served as a captain and paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, as well as a bestselling author.

Healey is currently Massachusetts’ attorney general and has broken a peculiar jinx in the state. Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general sought the governor’s office and all failed, according to the Associated Press.

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been elected Arkansas governor and will be the first woman to lead the state. Sanders on Tuesday defeated Democratic nominee Chris Jones in the race for governor in her predominantly Republican home state. Sanders will succeed fellow Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.

House, Senate incumbents hold onto their seats

Throughout the country, candidates running for reelection are largely winning their races. 

Republican candidates winning reelection, according to the Associated Press, include Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Matt Gaetz; Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio; and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

New York Democrats Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have won their races as well.

Some gubernatorial races being called

One of the most anticipated governor’s races was in Florida — where controversial Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis faced re-election. The Associated Press called the race for DeSantis early Tuesday evening.

Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary, has been declared the winner in the race for Arkansas governor, according to The Associated Press. She defeated Democratic nominee Chris Jones to nab the seat that her father, Mike Huckabee, held from 1996 to 2007. She is the first female governor elected in Arkansas.

Other governor’s races called include victories for Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN); Wes Moore (D-MD); Maura Healey (D-MA); Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA); Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH); and Gov. JB Pritzker (D-IL).

Some congressional races being called

As polls begin to close nationwide, the Associated Press has started to call some races. 

That includes the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, where Republican Rand Paul has secured his third term. He defeated Charles Booker, the first Black Democratic nominee for the Senate in the Bluegrass State.

Another Republican, Senator Tim Scott, has won his reelection race in South Carolina. He beat Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews for a second full term that he is calling his last. 

In Vermont, Democrat Peter Welch has won the election to U.S. Senate. He defeated a little-known Republican challenger, Gerald Malloy, for the Senate seat being vacated by Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving member of the upper chamber. 

Former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won re-election.

Other early Senate race calls include Katie Britt (R-AL); Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); and Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old gun reform and social justice activist, has defeated Republican Calvin Wimbish for a Florida U.S. House seat.

What early exit polls are saying

An early exit poll conducted by Edison Research for CNN asked voters Tuesday how they felt about the two major political parties when it came to the biggest issues dominating the news cycle.

The poll found that more voters said they trusted Republicans to handle inflation and crime better than Democrats.

Voters sided with Democrats, however, when it came to which party they trusted to handle abortion-related issues. Over the summer, the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe V. Wade, opening the door for conservative-led states across the nation to enact strict “trigger bans” against abortion rights.

Polls beginning to close

The first polls of the night have closed in portions of Indiana and Kentucky, The Hill reports. 7 p.m. eastern will bring closures in Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and parts of Florida. Of those states, Florida and Georgia will perhaps be the most closely watched nationally with high-profile gubernatorial races and swing Senate seats up for grabs. 

Early vote totals have pointed toward record-breaking turnout for a non-presidential election year, reaching a 40-year high with more than 40 million votes cast.

Former President Trump grabs headlines 

Even though he’s two years removed from the ballot, former President Donald Trump found a way to make headlines on election day, sitting down with Nexstar’s NewsNation for an exclusive interview where he took credit for Ron DeSantis’ election as Florida governor. 

DeSantis is now seen as Trump’s primary rival for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 and the former president took credit for raising him from relative obscurity during an interview with Markie Martin. 

“He was not going to be able to even be a factor in the race,” Trump said, referring to the GOP gubernatorial primary. “And as soon as I endorsed him, within moments, the race was over.”

During a ranging interview, trump spoke on the midterms and election integrity. The full interview with NewsNation’s Markie Martin will air at 6 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. CT on NewsNation.

Marijuana legalization on the ballot in 5 states

Voters in five states are deciding on Election Day whether to approve recreational marijuana.

The proposals going before voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota on Tuesday could signal a major shift toward legalization in even the most conservative parts of the country.

FILE – A demonstrator waves a flag with marijuana leaves depicted on it during a protest calling for the legalization of marijuana, outside of the White House on April 2, 2016, in Washington. Voters in five states are deciding on Election Day whether to approve recreational marijuana. The proposals going before voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota on Tuesday could signal a major shift toward legalization in even the most conservative parts of the country. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The proposals follow President Joe Biden’s announcement that he’ll pardon thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession. Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, and the five states with ballot measures already have legal medical marijuana programs.

Another proposal on Colorado’s ballot would allow the use of certain psychedelic substances.

Tracking voting issues across the United States

Election security and voter intimidation concerns have made national headlines for months leading up to the November 8 midterm elections. The early hours of election day raised no major widespread issues, but there have been isolated problems at polling locations in several states.

  • In Champagne County, Ill. the county clerk reported that a denial of service cyberattack has slowed servers for the county of 200,000 plus residents. Nexstar’s WCIA reports that voting there continues normally and securely according to the clerk.
  • Nexstar’s WBRE reports that a shortage of paper ballots forced Luzerne County, Pa. to extend voting hours to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Typically the cutoff for residents is 8 p.m.
  • Reports of glitches in tabulation machines in Maricopa County, Az. have generated national headlines as the state hosts contentious Senate and gubernatorial races. The Secretary of State there assures voters all ballots will be counted “under the observation of political parties.”

Additional issues may arise throughout the day. Many precincts are reporting heavy turnout, with the expectation that longer lines could build in key congressional swing states like Ohio as the workday winds down and time runs out to vote.

Seven races to watch for early signs of House results

The final partisan breakdown of the House is unlikely to be known on election night or in the days after, as states such as New York and California, where Republicans hope to pick up many seats, often take weeks to tabulate final results. 

But there are some congressional districts that could see results relatively early on election night that have environments similar to many other competitive districts across the country, providing clues about the overall trends in the electorate that will determine the final congressional breakdown.

Here are seven races to monitor for early signs of a red ripple — or a red wave — for the GOP in the House.

Polls open across the country with only minor issues

Final voting began without major hitches Tuesday in midterm elections under intense scrutiny after two years of false claims and conspiracy theories about how ballots are cast and counted.

With polls open across most of the country, no big problems were reported early on, though there were hiccups in some places, which is typical on any Election Day.

For example, vote tabulators malfunctioned in a county in New Jersey and one in Arizona — potentially requiring hand-counting instead; some voting sites in Pennsylvania were delayed in opening because workers showed up late, and others scrambled to replenish supplies of paper ballots that were running low.

“These are things we see in every election cycle,” said Susannah Goodman, director of election security at Common Cause, a group that advocates for voting access. “There’s nothing majorly concerning this morning.”

Since the last nationwide election in 2020, former President Donald Trump and his allies have succeeded in sowing wide distrust about voting by promoting false claims of extensive fraud. The effort has eroded public confidence in elections and democracy, led to restrictions on mail voting and new ID requirements in some GOP-led states and prompted death threats against election officials.

Election Day this year is marked by concerns about further harassment and the potential for disruptions at polling places and at election offices where ballots will be tallied. Election officials say they are prepared to handle any issues that arise, urging voters not to be deterred.

DOJ to monitor voting sites in 24 states

The Department of Justice said Monday that it would be monitoring election sites in counties across 24 states to make sure that voting rights laws are observed.

“Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the DOJ stated on its website.

The states included in that list are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Monitors from both the Civil Rights Division and from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will join the effort.

“Complaints related to disruption at a polling place should always be reported immediately to local election officials (including officials in the polling place),” the DOJ stated. “Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911.”

When will we know the results of the 2022 midterms?

When all the votes are finally tallied will vary from state to state.

Local time is a factor – Hawaii’s polls won’t close until 12:00 a.m. Wednesday EST, for instance – but there are other variables that will determine when the last ballot is counted.

Not all states vote the same, either: Some carry out voting only by mail, while others have a mix of in-person and mail voting. Others also have early in-person voting periods.

There is no federal government agency that tells the country who has won the election right away, and different states count ballots at different times. That means it could take longer to declare a winner in some spots. Varying rules on when recounts or runoff elections might be required could also factor in.

Some states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, for example, don’t allow officials to begin validating mail-in votes until Election Day. Other states allow grace periods for votes to be counted as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

All of this means that we likely will not know who won every race on election night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.