Midterm elections make history

Race determines House and Senate majorities as Democrats outswim the 'red wave'

Published by Nina Cipriani, Date: November 14, 2022
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As the midterm election results are finalized, it is not yet clear whether the Democrats or Republicans will have majority control of the United States Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives. However, one thing we do know is how diverse these governing bodies are becoming as more results come in.

In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman (D) won his Senate race against Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) for Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) seat. Fetterman’s win flipped the PA Senate seat.

With more than 2.5 million votes (51%), Oz was a mere 4% (about 200,000 votes) behind Fetterman, as of Saturday.

The other 2.4% were divided between the other candidates: Erik Gerhardt (Libertarian Party candidate), Richard Weiss (Green Party candidate) and Daniel Wassmer (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania).

The Associated Press has called the race in favor of Fetterman.

Josh Shapiro (D) beat out Doug Mastriano (R) for PA governor by a larger margin than Fetterman and Oz. Shapiro received 56.1% of the votes (2.9 million), while Mastriano had 42.1% (2.2 million).

The rest of the votes (1.8%) were divided among the other candidates: Matt Hackenberg (Libertarian Party candidate), Christina Digiulio (Green Party candidate) and Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania).

Shapiro gains his win after campaigning in Philidelphia on Nov. 5 alongside Former U.S. President Barack Obama and current President Joe Biden, just a few days before the midterm elections.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned with Republican candidates Mastriano and Oz during a rally in Pittsburgh on the same day.

Progressive steps forward

Democrats flipped seats in Massachusetts (Maura Healey as governor), Maryland (Wes Moore as governor), Michigan (Hillary Scholten in U.S. House), Ohio (Greg Landsman in U.S. House), Illinois (Nikki Budzinski in U.S. House) and Ohio (Emilia Sykes in U.S. House).

Democrats also flipped the entire Michigan State Senate for the first time since 1983.

Greg Casar (D) won his race (73%) for the U.S. House in Texas’s 35th District. Casar is a self-proclaimed progressive Democrat. Being a son of Mexican immigrants, he has passed policies that protect families from being separated.

“When the state legislature threatened to close the Planned Parenthood in East Austin, Greg worked with the city-supported clinic to keep it open,” his campaign website reads. “He also cleared the decades-long backlog of sexual assault evidence kits and expanded shelter for survivors of family violence.”

Austin Davis (D) is Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor. Previously, Davis served as chair of the Allegheny County Delegation and vice chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee, among other positions.

Making history

In Massachusetts, Maura Healey (D) is the first openly gay person and the first woman to be elected as the governor. According to her website, she wishes to build an economy where everyone can thrive.

Maxwell Frost (D) is the first Gen Z U.S. House member from Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Born in 1997, he is 25 years old.

On his website, Frost said he has been fighting his whole life for the future that the younger generation deserves.

“As the first generation-z member of Congress, from day one, I will fight to end gun violence, win Medicare For All, transform our racist criminal justice system, and end the climate crisis,” he said.

Wes Moore (D) is the first Black governor of Maryland. Moore believes that no matter where people start in life, they deserve an equal opportunity to succeed, according to the Moore campaign website.

Summer Lee (D) became the first Black woman elected to Congress in Pennsylvania. As a congresswoman, she promises to fight for her community’s chance to build a brighter future.

“Throughout our nation’s history, we have never delivered on the promises of democracy,” she said on her campaign website. “The legacies of slavery and Jim Crow have carried on through voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and voter suppression making the ballot box inaccessible, especially for poor, Black and brown people across the country.”

Anthony Brown (D) is the first Black attorney general in the 4th District of Maryland. He has been a member of Congress since 2017.

Becca Balint (D) is the first woman elected to Congress from Vermont. She previously served as Senate President and Majority Leader.

Balint strives to be a voice for all people of Vermont, she said on her campaign website.

“Growing up gay, and the granddaughter of a man killed in the Holocaust, Becca developed early on a deep sense of empathy for people on the margins,” she said. “She started looking out for every single kid on the playground, especially the ones other kids made fun of.”

Zaynab Mohamed (D) became the youngest woman to be elected to the Minnesota Senate. Mohamed said like many other first-generation immigrants, she has first-hand experience in navigating the government services that impact everyone’s lives.

“I believe that we can come together to create systems that make our lives easier, not harder,” she said on her campaign website.

Abortion rights

Voters in Vermont codified abortion rights in their state constitution. They are the first state to do so, with more than 285,000 “yes” votes. California voters also solidified abortion rights in their constitution.

Michigan residents voted to protect the right to abortion in their state constitution. The decision essentially eliminates a 1931 ban on abortion that could have gone into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to NPR.

Kentucky voters rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have banned abortion. Montana followed suit with their rejection of a ballot measure that would have “forced medical workers to intercede in the rare case of a baby born after an attempted abortion,” according to the Associated Press.

Workers’ rights and involuntary servitude

In Nebraska, about 56% of voters are in favor of increasing the state’s minimum wage. The state’s minimum wage would increase in annual increments to $15 an hour in 2026, from the now $9 an hour. It will be adjusted each year by the cost of living after 2026, according to the New York Times.

Many ballot measures in this year’s elections dealt with minimum wage issues. About 22 states will have a raised minimum wage in 2022.

Voters in Alabama voted to implement a new amendment to their state constitution that will remove the involuntary solitude loophole.

Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont voters also approved similar policies. These ballot measures prohibit slavery and involuntary solitude as punishment for crime, according to the Associated Press.

Cannabis legalization

Recreational cannabis is now legal in Maryland after almost 66% of voters voted in favor of its legalization. The possession and use of marijuana will be legal for those 21 and older starting in July 2023, according to the New York Times.

Missouri voters also approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Twenty-one states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana’s recreational use. But it was also rejected in three different states, according to the Associated Press.

Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rejected the effort in Tuesday’s elections.

Where we stand now

The 2022 midterm elections are not over yet. Three states will now decide which political party has majority control of the Senate: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

Georgia’s Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) will face each other in a runoff election on Dec. 6. The candidates have yet to reach the 50% threshold needed to avoid a head-to-head race under Georgia state law, according to CBS News.

For up-to-date midterm election results, visit The Associated Press’s website.

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Nina is a senior communication major with a concentration in converged journalism and a certificate in global and intercultural communication. Nina serves as editor-in-chief for her second year. In her nearly four years on staff, Nina has written about 100 stories and staff editorials. Outside of The Rocket, Nina is the vice president of Lambda Pi Eta and serves on multiple advisory boards on campus. In her spare time, she enjoys watching documentaries and listening to music.

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