Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on the US midterm elections.
So last night the US had their midterm elections, and the theme of the night is that Republicans underperformed, given the fundamentals of the race. Democrats had a pretty good night overall with Senate candidates outperforming their polling in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. And as of today, the results in both the Senate and the House are probably too close to call. The environment generally favors Republicans overall, and so they're likely to pick up a majority in the House, but that majority is going to be much smaller than most pundits were expecting as of yesterday before votes started to count.
In the Senate, the races are going to come down to several key states that have been on the radar for months now. Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. Republicans are going to keep it really close and maybe even be favored in Nevada and Arizona. The Democratic candidate is favored, in which case it's all going to come down to a runoff in Georgia, just like it did in January of 2021, which would happen on December 6th.
Some big themes coming out of last night is that Democratic stars Beto O'Rourke and Stacy Abrams both lost their gubernatorial bids in Georgia and Texas by pretty big margins. Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, is already calling fraud there, and in part, her claims are going to be substantiated due to some polling machine errors that happened early in the day. Massachusetts elected their first female governor, Maryland elected the first Black governor, only the third black governor ever to be elected in the United States. And John Fetterman took down TV Celebrity Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania in a race that shows Democratic enthusiasm, and the importance of abortion as an issue in this election cycle.
Finally, one of the big storylines from the night is going to be the incredibly strong showing of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who won his race by double digit margins after barely sneaking by in 2018 in a wave year for Democrats. This shows how Florida has shifted during the pandemic to become a much more Republican state, and Ron DeSantis is the undisputed king of that state right now, setting them up very well to challenge former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential primary.