Welcome to the Wednesday, November 9, Brew.
By: David Luchs
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Control of Congress remains too close to call
- What happened in the states
- Six top ballot measure results
- A look at winning candidates who completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
- When will results be finalized? A look ahead to certification
Good morning! We hope you got some sleep last night. If you stayed up following the results, you likely have a good sense of what happened. If you hit a normal bedtime, this may be one of your first updates and we hope to give you a general summary of results from across the country. We’ll be back in your inbox at our regular time tomorrow morning. Visit Ballotpedia.org all day today for updated results as states continue to process ballots. All results and updates below are as of 5am EST.
Control of Congress remains too close to call
Control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress remains too close to call. Republicans needed to gain one seat in the U.S. Senate and five seats in the U.S. House to win control. Democrats needed to lose no seats, or gain seats, in the U.S. Senate and to lose four or fewer seats in the U.S. House in order to maintain their control.
Democrats had the narrowest governing majorities heading into a midterm in decades. Since 1990, the next-narrowest majorities were Republicans’ majorities heading into the 2002 midterms, when Democrats needed to gain one seat in the U.S. Senate and eight seats in the U.S. House to win control.
Midterm elections for U.S. Congress tend to favor the party that does not control the White House. Ballotpedia’s analysis of wave elections between 1918 and 2016 found that the president’s party lost an average of 29 seats in the House and four seats in the Senate during the first midterm of a new administration. The president’s party lost an average of 14 seats in the House and two in the Senate across all even-numbered elections during the same period.
Although we expect most races will be called at some point this week, Senate control could rest in Georgia for the second cycle in a row. If neither incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) nor challenger Herschel Walker (R) wins 50% of the vote in the final tally, both candidates will advance to a runoff on December 6. In the 2020 election, two runoff elections in Georgia decided final control of the U.S. Senate. Georgia law allows election officials or candidates to request a recount, although a candidate may only request a recount if the initial margin of victory is 0.5 percentage points or less.
What happened in the states
If the current results hold, there will be more state trifectas than at any time in the past 30 years. At least two states—Maryland and Massachusetts—became Democratic trifectas when Democrats won the governorship.
If trifecta control does not change in any other state, this would leave 39 total trifectas – Republicans with 23, Democrats with 16, and 11 states where neither party has a trifecta. This would be an increase from 14 states with Democratic trifectas before the election. This would also be the fewest number of states with divided government since at least 1992. The previous low was 12 states with divided government in 2021.
Early indications are that Michigan’s legislature may flip from Republican control to Democratic. If it does, that would give Democrats a trifecta and make 40 trifectas nationally. If Democrats also flip the Minnesota Senate, that would add a 41st trifecta nationally – 23 Rs, 18 Ds, 9 divided. Follow along at ballotpedia.org throughout the day for updates. The chart above does not include Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, or Minnesota.
Massachusetts and Maryland had been Democratic trifectas heading into the 2014 elections, when both elected Republican governors. This year, Maryland voters elected Wes Moore (D) as governor and Massachusetts voters elected Maura Healey (D), handing control of both offices back to Democrats.
Both states were among the seven where we projected Democrats had a chance at winning a trifecta this year. Control of 26 state legislative chambers remains too close to call.
Republicans gained veto-proof majorities thus far in four chambers: the Florida Senate, Florida House, North Carolina Senate, and South Carolina House. As of writing, Republicans had not gained veto-proof majorities in the North Carolina House or the South Carolina Senate.
Heading into the election, there were 24 states where one party controlled a veto-proof legislative majority. Republicans held 16 of those majorities and Democrats held eight.
While many results are still coming in, here are 10 additional election results of note where we know the outcome:
- U.S. House Ohio District 1: Greg Landsman (D) defeated incumbent Steve Chabot (R). Chabot was first elected in 1994 and lost re-election in 2008 before winning election again in 2010. Landsman has served on the Cincinnati City Council since 2017. Two election forecasters called this race a toss-up and one said it leaned towards Chabot. Chabot was among four U.S. House incumbents to have lost re-election in 2022 thus far, alongside Mayra Flores (R), Elaine Luria (D), and Al Lawson (D). In 2020, 13 U.S. House members—all Democrats—lost re-election. Thirty-four incumbents lost bids for re-election in 2018.
- Governor of Florida: Incumbent Ron DeSantis (R) defeated Charlie Crist (D), Carmen Gimenez (I), and Hector Roos (L). In 2018, DeSantis defeated Andrew Gillum (D) 49.6% to 49.2%. DeSantis’ win preserves Florida’s Republican trifecta. Election night returns show DeSantis with 59.5% of the vote. If these results hold, they would be the largest percentage of the vote won by any Republican candidate for governor of Florida in state history, surpassing Harrison Reed’s (R) 59.1% share in 1868.
- Iowa Attorney General: Brenna Bird (R) defeated incumbent Thomas John Miller (D) in Iowa’s election for attorney general. Because Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) and Governor Kim Reynolds (R) won their re-election campaigns, Republicans gained a triplex in Iowa. Miller was first elected state attorney general in 1978. He did not run for re-election in 1990 but was re-elected in 1994 and has held the office ever since. This is one of 30 elections for attorney general this year; 16 are in states where the office is held by a Democrat and 14 are in states where it is held by a Republican.
- Iowa Treasurer: Roby Smith (R) defeated incumbent Michael Fitzgerald (D), who has been in office since 1983. In 2018, Fitzgerald defeated Jeremy Davis (R) 55% to 43%. The Iowa Treasurer is one of 68 state financial offices on the ballot this year. State financial officers’ roles vary from office to office and state to state, but they are broadly responsible for things like auditing other government offices, managing payroll, and overseeing pensions. For more information on state financial officer elections this year, click here.
- Kansas Treasurer: Steven Johnson (R) defeated incumbent Lynn Rogers (D) and Steve Roberts (L). Rogers was appointed to the post in 2021 after Jacob LaTurner (R) was elected to the U.S. House. LaTurner defeated Marci Francisco (D) 58% to 42% in 2018.
- North Carolina Supreme Court: Republicans won a majority on the court by gaining two seats. Before the election, Democrats had a 4-3 majority. Now, Republicans have a 4-3 majority. Richard Dietz (R), a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, defeated fellow appellate judge Lucy Inman (D) to win election to the seat currently held by retiring Justice Robin Hudson (D). Trey Allen (R), the general counsel to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, defeated incumbent Sam Ervin IV (D), who was first elected in 2014. This year, 25 states held supreme court elections for 84 seats.
- Ohio Supreme Court: Three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court were up for partisan election, none of which had a change in partisan control, maintaining Republicans’ 4-3 majority. Justices Pat Fischer (R) and Pat DeWine (R) were both up for retention election. Both judges defeated Democratic challengers. Two other justices—Sharon L. Kennedy (R) and Jennifer L. Brunner (D)—ran against one another for the chief justice position currently held by retiring Justice Maureen O’Connor (R). Kennedy won that election, opening a vacancy for her associate justice post that Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will fill.
- Wisconsin Assembly District 63: Incumbent Robin Vos (R) defeated write-in candidates Joel Jacobson (D) and Adam Steen (R). Vos, who was first elected in 2005 and has served as speaker of the House since 2013, defeated Steen 51% to 49% in the August primary. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Steen.
- Oregon Measure 113: Oregon voters approved a measure disqualifying state legislators who missed more than 10 floor sessions without permission or excuse from seeking re-election. There have been at least three instances of legislators leaving the state to prevent votes in the Oregon state legislature since 2020.
- Maryland Question 4: Maryland voters approved a ballot measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Marijuana was already legal for medical use in Maryland and possession of 10 grams or under was decriminalized. The measure makes Maryland the 20th state to legalize recreational marijuana. There are four other states with ballot measures to legalize marijuana this year: Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Six top ballot measure results
Here’s a quick rundown of results for six of our top 15 ballot measures to watch. Subscribe to our State Ballot Measures newsletter for a more detailed update in your inbox later this afternoon. Here’s how voters decided on those questions:
- California Proposition 26: Voters rejected this proposition 70% to 30%. Proposition 26 would have legalized sports betting at American Indian casinos and licensed racetracks and enacted a 10% tax on sports betting profits. The Peace and Freedom Party of California and at least two dozen American Indian tribes supported the measure, while the Republican Party of California opposed it. Supporters and opponents contributed a combined $176 million to campaigns related to Proposition 26, making it this year’s second most-expensive ballot measure.
- California Proposition 27: Voters rejected this proposition 84% to 16%. Like Proposition 26, Proposition 27 would have legalized online sports betting for gaming tribes and gaming companies that contract with gaming tribes. Individuals living within the state but outside of Indian land who were 21 years or older would have been permitted to place bets. Because voters rejected both Propositions 26 and 27, sports betting remains illegal in California. Heading into the election, 36 states and the District of Columbia allowed for betting on sports. Supporters and opponents contributed a combined $419 million to campaigns related to Proposition 27, making it this year’s most expensive ballot measure.
- California Proposition 31: Voters approved this proposition 65% to 35%. The measure upheld a law the legislature passed in August 2020 outlawing the sale of flavored tobacco products, with exceptions for hookah tobacco, loose leaf tobacco, and premium cigars. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the Democratic Party of California, and the Peace and Freedom Party of California supported the measure. The Republican Party of California opposed it. As of 2020, only California and Massachusetts had banned flavored tobacco products.
- Nebraska Initiative 433: Voters approved this initiative 59% to 41%. The measure will increase the state’s minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2026 and will annually adjust the minimum wage based on the cost of living from 2027 on. The first minimum wage increase will be a $1.50 increase on January 1, 2023, with further increases of $1.50 each on Jan. 1, 2024, Jan. 1, 2025, and Jan. 1, 2026. The last change to the minimum wage in Nebraska was in 2016, when voters approved Initiative 425 to increase the rate from $7.25 to $9.
- Iowa Amendment 1: Voters approved this amendment 66% to 34%. The amendment adds a right to own and bear firearms to the state constitution and requires that a court apply strict scrutiny to any alleged violations of the right. As of 2021, 44 states included a right to firearms in their constitutions.
- Alabama Recompiled Constitution Ratification Question: Voters approved this question 76% to 24%. This question was the final step in ratifying a rewritten version of the Alabama Constitution. Major changes introduced in the rewrite included arranging the constitution into proper articles, parts, and sections, the removal of racist language, and the deletion of duplicative and repealed provisions. Alabama’s current constitution, adopted in 1901, has been amended 977 times and is the longest written constitution in the world.
A look at winning candidates who completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey offers candidates the opportunity to tell voters directly about their personal and political priorities. More than 6,000 candidates submitted surveys this election cycle.
Here are some sample responses from candidates who submitted surveys and won last night:
Keith Self (R), U.S. House Texas District 3
- Who are you? Tell us about yourself.
“I am a Texan, graduate of West Point, 25-year Army veteran, 12-year County Judge. I served in Airborne Infantry, Special Forces, and Joint assignments on four continents. My wife and I have lived overseas for a decade in Europe and the Middle East. I was stationed in Germany twice, Belgium, and Egypt. I served in the Pentagon in waived Special Access Programs. In elected office, I presided over the Commissioners Court for 12 years, cutting the tax rate by almost thirty percent, reducing the cost of the pension plan to the taxpayer, putting the checkbook on line first among the 3100 counties across the nation. I am a fiscal, social, and national security conservative.”
Shri Thanedar (D), U.S. House Michigan District 13
- Who are you? Tell us about yourself.
“I am a scientist, businessman, husband, father, grandfather, and State Representative. I grew up in abject poverty in India, in a home with no running water with his 8 siblings. With some luck, a good education, and hard work, I immigrated to the United States, became a chemist and a successful entrepreneur that built several businesses.”
Dave Yost (R), Attorney General of Ohio
- A state’s attorney general has many responsibilities. Which of those do you personally consider the most important?
“That’s a bit like asking a parent which of their many responsibilities is most important. The answer is, you must attend to them all. But just as a parent might say that their most important responsibility is to love their children, an attorney general’s most important job is to advocate for and protect Ohio and the rule of law. A myriad of actions is contained in those words.”
Peter Neronha (D), Attorney General of Rhode Island
- What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?
“To be an effective advocate for the people of Rhode Island across a broad range of subject areas, including keeping them safe from crime, holding those would take advantage of them accountable, ensuring their access to affordable and high-quality healthcare, protecting them as consumers, safeguarding the environment, and much more.”
Gabe Evans (R), Colorado House of Representatives District 48
- What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“I’ve sworn three oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution and care for my neighbors. Unfortunately, recent policies from Colorado’s ruling Left have absolutely handcuffed my ability to serve my community. Crime is spiking, cost of living is skyrocketing, and parents’ ability to select a successful education for their kids is in danger. I’m running for House District 48 because I’m a proven leader, and I have two decades of service-based experience necessary to solve the problems that are crippling our families, neighbors, and communities. I stand for freedom, the Constitution, and common sense.”
Elinor Levin (D), Iowa House of Representatives District 89
- What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
“I focus on people rather than policy, but, of course I have my own strong opinions. I want to see strong public unions, amply funded-public schools, common sense gun laws, infrastructure to support reliable, high speed internet service and renewable energy across the state. I support farm programs that work towards healthy, long-term stewardship of the land and transparent access to health care, including mental, dental, and vision, for everyone.”
When will the results be finalized? A look ahead to certification
Now that the ballots are in, states must certify election results before they are considered final and officeholders are sworn in. Guidelines for election certification vary from state to state. Once a state has certified elections, no more challenges may be heard to the election’s outcome.
Delaware will be the first state to certify results, doing so tomorrow, Nov. 10. Twenty-six more states and the District of Columbia have certification dates later in November. Eighteen states have certification deadlines in December, ending with California’s Dec. 16 deadline. Five states do not have specific certification deadlines in state law.