November 8th, 2022 was the day the US held its midterm elections. These elections would help enact new laws and determine who controls the house of representatives and the US senate. All of this comes after this past summer when the Supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade and during the end of the last election cycle when specific far-right figures like former President Trump denied the results of the 2020 Presidential election, which eventually escalated into a riot in the US capital. So, there is a lot on the line for many during these midterm elections. Especially as projections and polls before November 8th showed that Republicans were going to get some big wins, specifically reclaiming the house at the very least.
Starting here in Oregon, the biggest race was for the Governor’s seat as 2022 marks the end of Governor Kate Brown’s final term as Oregon’s Governor. Oregon’s vote counting took until Wednesday night, with Tina Kotek of the Democratic Party declared Oregon’s next Governor. For the US senate, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will retain his position in the US Senate. Here in Southern Oregon, Republican Cliff Bentz had won his reelection to represent Oregon’s second district in Congress.
In terms of measures, Oregon had multiple significant measures on its ballot. First is measure 114, which just barely passed, now by law requires Oregon citizens to get a permit from Law Enforcement to buy a firearm. Then measure 111 barely passed, making affordable health care a constitutional right. Then there is measure 112, which strips the state’s right to use forced labor as punishment for a crime which passed with 55% saying yes. Finally, in terms of Measures in Oregon, there is measure 113, which punishes Oregon legislative members from walking out; they are a cap of ten walkouts because they can no longer hold office within the state. Measure 113 passed with flying colors by getting 68% of the vote. Finally, here in Jackson county, along with several other counties, there was a measure to ban the use of therapeutic use of psilocybin. Jackson and Deschutes were the only counties with this on their ballot that didn’t vote to ban them.
Outside of Oregon, several vital races were going on within the country that is worth some attention. First, in Florida and Texas, Republicans saw massive wins, with Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot winning their Governor reelection bids in both Florida and Texas, respectively. In Pennsylvania, there was a high-profile race for the senate between John Fetterman of the democrat party and Mehmet Oz of the republican party, with Fetterman being the winner and becoming Pennsylvania’s senator. At the same time, Josh Shapiro of the democrat party won the governor’s seat in Pennsylvania.
Much like in 2020, Georgia will be heading into a run-off for its senate seat. Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his opponent Republican Herschel Walker did not secure at least 50% of the vote. So on December 6th, both men will be heading into a run-off where the top two candidates will have run for election to become Georgia’s senator. In addition, the congressional race in Georgia saw the very controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene reelected to congress. Finally, on the topic of Georgia, Georgia’s governor saw a massive loss for the Democrats, with Stacy Abrams losing to Brain Kemp of the Republican party.
In Arizona, the latter saw Senator Mark Kelly of the Democrat party reelected to his position after a tight race. While in Nevada saw an insanely close race for its senate seat that ended with Senator Cortez Masto of the democrat party keeping their seat and securing control of the Senate for the Democrats. If the Democrats win the Georgia run-offs, this even gives more politically center democrats like Joe Manchin less power in the Senate.
As for critical measures in other states, alongside Oregon, which saw banning slavery as a form of punishment, Alabama, Tennessee, and Vermont also voted to ban it. Louisiana did not cite the vagueness of its language as to why it failed and would be brought back on next year’s ballot. Regarding Abortion, Vermont and California both voted for measures to protect it as a constitutional right. At the same time, Kentucky did not vote in favor of a measure that would have denied it constitutional protection. Regarding drugs, measures to make marijuana legal in Maryland and Missouri passed but failed in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In terms of voting, Nebraska and Ohio both voted in measures that would put additional restrictions on voting access. In contrast, Michigan and Connecticut voted in a voting law that allows early voting. Finally, Nevada voters had voted for historic LGBTQ protections.
Now, this could impact the 2024 elections. In Florida, while Ron DeSantis may have won reelection, former President Donald Trump attacked him repeatedly before and after the midterms. Reports show DeSantis is considering a run for president in the 2024 election. His supporters backed him up during his acceptance, chanting, “two more years.” Which has created massive tension between Trump and DeSantis, which indicates the GOP might be done with Trump and see DeSantis as their future. For the Democrats, while they could still lose the Georgia runoff and did lose the majority of the house, they will still maintain control of the Senate. With this, things turned out much better than the projections for them. The youth vote is a big reason this red wave did not happen. The youth vote was the second highest for a midterm in 30 years; this could be an excellent sign for the democrats in the 2024 election, especially in a conflict between Trump and DeSantis within the GOP.