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Still Unclear Who Controls Congress

Election Day is officially over, and as of the early hours of Nov. 9, it’s still not clear if Democrats or Republicans will control Congress for the next two years.

Going into the midterm elections, Republicans boasted there’d be a red wave, and historically it’s been rare for the party that holds the White House to also hang onto Congress. But as results started coming in Tuesday night, the wave hadn’t materialized. Even Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham admitted as much to NBC News, saying, “Definitely not a Republican wave, that is for darn sure.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised her fellow Democrats in a statement early Wednesday morning.

“While many races remain too close to call, it is clear the House Democratic members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country,” she said. “As states continue to tabulate the final results, every vote must be counted as cast.”


Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was confident about his party’s prospects; he was reelected Tuesday night.

“It is clear that we are going to take the House back,” he told supporters.

With a number of key races too close to call, Republicans could still take control of one or both chambers. Or Democrats could. Basically, we don’t know anything yet — and it could be a while until we do.

In Nevada, officials in Clark County warned there’d be delays in processing some ballots — which could mean the results of its Senate race won’t be called until Wednesday at the earliest.

In Georgia, Republican Herschel Walker, who made news after two women accused him of paying for their abortions in spite of his anti-abortion stance, was just barely trailing Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.


Warnock was elected in January 2021 after a runoff. And with early results showing the two candidates both just shy of 50% of the vote, the race could head to a runoff once again, which would be scheduled for Dec. 6.

In Wisconsin, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, was slightly leading Democratic lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes in the race for Senate. After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Johnson told the Senate committee investigating the attack that “fake” Trump supporters were the ones who stormed the Capitol.

For the House, a party needs 218 seats to gain control. As of early Wednesday, Democrats had won 156 seats and Republicans 188.

Part of the reason why it may take a while to finalize election results is that each state’s rules for counting absentee or mail-in ballots are different. Some states allow election offices to begin counting ballots several weeks before Election Day; others don’t allow the counting to begin until Election Day, meaning races aren’t called until the next day or sometimes even later.

Paige Skinner

Published: 2022-11-09 17:25:05


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