Washington Anyone who wants to know in which direction the USA is steering politically needs staying power. After all, the USA stretches across six time zones – and while some of the results in the eastern states have already been determined, the polling stations in the west are still open.
The so-called midterms are the most important votes between two presidential elections and they are a mood test for US President Joe Biden. Thousands of important positions in the states are filled, as well as mandates in the Senate and House of Representatives, the two chambers of the US Congress. So far, the Democrats have held a narrow majority there.
A lot can still change – but some trends can be seen in the first few hours. Election night at a glance.
The first “wow moment” of election night was the very clear Republican victory in Florida, the 22 million population giant on the east coast. For a long time, the state was considered a swing state, swinging politically in one direction and then in the other. But now he is finally becoming a red, republican stronghold. First, Republican Senator Marco Rubio defended his Senate seat.
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Above all, the incumbent Republican governor Ron DeSantis can celebrate a real triumph, he won his re-election by a double-digit margin. DeSantis is considered a promising candidate for the 2024 presidential elections – and a competitor to Donald Trump, who wants to announce his candidacy for the White House again after the midterms.
A strategically exciting state, Pennsylvania, remains in the hands of the Democrats. Josh Shapiro prevailed in the gubernatorial election, while John Fetterman won the hard-fought Senate seat. His success against the TV doctor Mehmet Oz – also known as Dr. Oz known – is an indication that the Democrats could limit their losses.
In New Hampshire the Democrats also win the Senate elections. Republican nominee JD Vance, best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy, won the Senate seat Ohio.
They will be important Senate Race in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and North Carolina. In almost all of these states, the Republican candidates are massively supported by ex-President Trump. How they do not only decides the majority in the powerful US Senate, but is also considered a signal as to whether Trump’s support is still “pulling”.
The majorities are also completely open House of Representatives. At least on the east coast, the Democrats are “overperforming” in some places, two shaky constituencies in the state of Virginia and one in Rhode Island have already defended Biden’s party – the president has already called the congressional candidates to congratulate them.
Despite this, the Republicans are likely to win the chamber, albeit by a smaller margin than expected. The midterms are complicated by the fact that the counts could take days or even weeks. The state Georgia for example, could go into the runoff – on December 6th.
Midterms – US midterm elections – What is it about?
House of Representatives
In the midterm elections on November 8, the Americans will re-elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives. The term of office of members of parliament is generally limited to two years. So far, the Democrats have 222 seats there, the Republicans 213. Together with the Senate, the House of Representatives forms the Congress.
In the Senate, Americans will only re-elect a third of the 100 seats in the midterms – a total of 35. Of the seats now up for election, 14 have been occupied by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Currently, Republicans have 50 votes in the Senate, Democrats have 48, and Independents have two. Together with the independents and the vote of the vice president, the Democrats still have the majority.
governorships in the states
In 36 of the 50 states, the governorship will be re-elected on November 8th, i.e. the heads of state and government of the individual states. So far, 20 of the states with gubernatorial elections have been led by Republicans and 16 by Democrats.
Some of the most hotly contested states that could shift the balance of power in Washington include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
2. Election glitches overshadow the vote
The mood in the US is tense, a radicalized Republican party wants to punish Joe Biden’s Democrats. “Bloodbath!!!!” Donald Trump’s son Don Jr. tweeted shortly after Florida went to the Republicans. What fueled potential aggression were isolated glitches. Some polling stations opened late and a lack of paper was reported.
In times of thriving conspiracy theories, however, technical errors become intentional electoral fraud – as can be seen in the western state of Arizona. In the diverse and populous Maricopa County constituency, one in four ballot machines was affected Tuesday by malfunctions – the printers not making the crosses on the ballots dark enough.
Ironically, this constituency was already at the center of Republican efforts in 2020 to declare the presidential elections invalid. The Republican party headquarters filed an urgent lawsuit on the current midterm election night to extend the counts.
more on the subject
Allegations of alleged electoral fraud are now going viral in right-wing conservative circles. “Are we starting again?” Trump raged on his social network Truth Social on Midterm night. “People will not tolerate this!!!” Almost 300 Republican mid-term candidates are running nationwide, who in the spirit of Trump doubt democratic processes.
US elections are generally safe. They are highly decentralized, with 10,000 polling stations controlling the voting. Election computers are used by about every second voter, said Nick Jacobs, election manager in the capital Washington, the Handelsblatt. And even the electronically recorded votes would be counted again by hand to avoid mistakes.
Independent election observers from the OECD are in the US and will report on their observations on Wednesday. An early lesson of the Midterms, however, is that distrust in the democratic process runs deep. In 2021, that distrust culminated in the storming of the Capitol by angry Trump supporters.
3. Trump is preparing for 2024 – but is he overestimating himself?
The midterms are still in full swing, but they are already seen as the ramp for the 2024 presidential elections. Despite criminal investigations, Trump in all probability wants to run for the presidency again.
But depending on how well or badly the candidates he supports do, other interested parties are likely to push forward after the midterms: Ron DeSantis, but also Mike Pence, Nikki Haley or Mike Pompeo.
Joe Biden has not said he will run again for the Democrats in 2024. The US President will be 80 on November 20th. If the Democrats get even more respect and at least hold the Senate, Biden could give his party a boost – even if his advanced age and record inflation in the country scratch his popularity.