Madeline Richard ’26 (she/hers)
On November 8, voters across the country cast their ballots for the 2022 midterm election. The election focused on several contentious topics, including abortion rights, inflation and economic policy, climate change, and immigration.
While the Senate race remained undecided for several days, the Democrats retained control. There were many close races, particularly in Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. In fact, Georgia’s winner is still undecided; the state will have a runoff election in December to decide between Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Democrat incumbents Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto won in Arizona and Nevada, respectively. After their victories, there were 50 Democrats and 49 Republicans in the Senate, and since Vice President Kamala Harris also has a vote, the Democrats will keep control of the Senate regardless of the outcome in Georgia.
Arizona also had a close gubernatorial race. While it took nearly a week to reach a verdict, Democrat Katie Hobbs won over Republican Kari Lake. However, as of Tuesday morning, Lake has still refused to concede the race, even calling the election “botched.”
As of Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives still remained undecided. To control the House, a party must have 218 representatives. However, according to the Washington Post, the Democrats have 206 representatives and the Republicans have 217 representatives, meaning that, while Republicans are in the lead, neither party has won control. Currently, the Democrats have control of the House, but the results of this election could shift the balance of power.
Typically, midterm election outcomes favor the president’s opposing party, so many Republicans anticipated victory. However, the Democrats had a historically strong outcome. As mentioned, they kept power in the Senate, and though the Republicans won control over the House of Representatives, they did not win a supermajority. Furthermore, research from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts suggests that young voters (ages 18–29) overwhelmingly supported Democrats, alluding to a shift in the political landscape.
Since North Carolina is a swing state, its elections are particularly contested. After a close Senate race, Republican Representative Ted Budd defeated Democrat Cheri Beasley; Budd had 50.7% of the vote, while Beasley had 47.0%. Beasley won by a significant margin in Mecklenburg County; however, District 12, where Mecklenburg County is located, is a majority-minority district and the most Democratic district in North Carolina. These factors may explain Beasley’s popularity in Mecklenburg County.
The US House of Representatives race was also competitive in North Carolina. However, the outcome was ultimately balanced — seven Democrats and seven Republicans won seats. Democrat incumbent Alma Adams won District 12, where Davidson College is located. She defeated her opponent, Republican Tyler Lee, by a meaningful margin; Adams earned 62.6% of the vote, whereas Lee had 37.4%.
Davidson’s political organizations encouraged student voting and engagement before the election, and they offered thoughtful commentary after the ballots had been counted. For instance, while Sode Smith ‘23, president of Davidson College Democrats, was disappointed about Cheri Beasley’s loss, she remained hopeful about the national election outcomes. In her perspective, “it was really nice seeing that three states codified abortion rights,” and she was excited that “now we have two lesbian governors [ … ] we’ve never had that before.”
Henry McGannon ‘24, co-president of the Davidson College Republicans, also provided insight. While he felt that “the midterms were definitely disappointing on a national level,” he was happy with the results in North Carolina and stated that “Ted Budd ran a strong campaign based on the issues.”
Despite their political differences, both Smith and McGannon left space for optimism. As Smith explained, “there’s still positive things to see in every single election” regardless of one’s views “and it’s important to just take all that into account instead of getting very down.”