Updated: November 16, 2022 6:51 PM EST | Originally published: November 8, 2022 4:16 PM EST

Republicans have won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, according to the Associated Press, but it’s poised to be a smaller majority than GOP leaders and many pundits had been expecting. Republicans needed to only win five House seats to take the gavel away from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and hand it to one of their own, with Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California the clear frontrunner.

Before Election Day, some were speculating Republicans would quickly pick up those five seats, and end the night having gained dozens. Instead, it dragged out for more than a week before Republicans secured 218 seats.

Republicans entered the midterms elections with historical precedent and several structural advantages in their corner: the party out of power almost always makes gains in a midterm election, and President Biden’s low approval rating, surging crime and an uneven economy strengthened those tailwinds. Skyrocketing inflation only sharpened voters’ economic concerns. There was also a perception that Republicans had other advantages positioning them for big wins, including favorable new congressional maps in some states, and a spate of Democratic retirements that left more House seats open to Republican pickup.

Heading into Election Day Nov. 8, many Democrats were wondering if they misjudged the salience of abortion and democracy issues, and that their decision to pour millions into ads about abortion rights in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade was wrong-headed. Republicans meanwhile stayed laser-focused on kitchen-table issues like inflation, the economy and crime, a decision that appeared early after the polls had closed to not have been as persuasive as they had hoped.

But with Republicans in charge of the House, the agenda in Washington is poised to shift. Already some Republicans have made noises about using the House’s oversight role to investigate the Biden administration, and the President’s son Hunter Biden.

Kevin McCarthy wins leadership vote

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy won a vote to become his party’s nominee for Speaker of the House in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday—just as his party is poised to claim a narrow majority in the chamber following the 2022 Midterm Elections.

McCarthy sought support from current members of his caucus in a closed-door meeting Monday night. The official Speaker vote will take place on the House floor when the new Congress convenes in January.

While McCarthy only needed the support of a simple majority from his party on Tuesday, he will need 218 votes to clinch the speaker title—a feat that will likely require a fractious Republican caucus to stick together. A week after the Midterms, Republicans have so far secured 217 House seats, and are expected to gain control of the chamber by a tight margin.

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, a one-time leader of the House’s pro-Trump Freedom Caucus, had challenged McCarthy for the speaker position, as the the Republican Party’s right flank pushed back against McCartney’s bid. But former President Donald Trump voiced support for McCarthy in an interview with Fox News last week, and some high-profile Trump supporters have fallen in line.

The vote was 188-31. Based on past speaker nominations following midterm elections, McCarthy is unlikely to face other significant challengers for the speakership.

Though the GOP is on track to take control of the House for the next two years, the margin is smaller than the party had predicted. That performance, combined with losing the Senate to Democrats, has left Republicans in Congress demoralized in a closely-divided Congress. As McCarthy campaigns within the House over the next several weeks, he will need to address concerns from—and likely make concessions to—both far right-wing and centrist Representatives.

Julia Zorthian

Katie Hobbs defeats Trump-backed Kari Lake in race for Arizona governor

After a bruising election in which she was tarred by both her allies and adversaries for running a lackluster campaign, Democrat Katie Hobbs pulled off a come-from-behind victory against Republican Kari Lake to clinch the Arizona governor’s office, according to the Associated Press.

The contest for Arizona governor was defined in large part over the two candidates’ dueling stances on the last election. Hobbs, as Arizona’s secretary of state, gained notoriety two years ago for resisting a pressure campaign by Trump and his allies to decertify Biden’s win and defending the integrity of Arizona’s elections. Lake, in contrast, was outspoken in claiming that Biden did not legitimately win Arizona, despite multiple investigations having found no evidence of substantial fraud.

Late Monday evening, Lake suggested she might not graciously accept the results of her own loss either. “Arizonans know BS when they see it,” she tweeted to her nearly 700,000 followers. A Lake campaign source tells TIME that Lake, who staffed a “War Room” with dozens of lawyers ahead of the election, was “wound up” throughout the day and that her advisers had been discussing potential litigation over problems with tabulators used to scan ballots at polling places in Maricopa County on Election Day.

Hobbs’ victory is part of a nationwide wipe-out in the midterms of GOP gubernatorial candidates who embraced the former president baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, including Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Tudor Dixon in Michigan. The other Trump-aligned candidates on the Arizona statewide ballot lost by even larger margins, including Blake Masters for U.S. Senate and Mark Finchem for Secretary of State.

As of Monday night, Lake had yet to concede, as many of her detractors feared after she refused to tell CNN last month whether she would accept the outcome if she lost. “I’m going to win,” she said, “and I will accept that result.”

–Eric Cortellessa

Democrats clinch control of Senate

Democrats will keep control of the Senate, the Associated Press projected Saturday night, after calling the tight race in Nevada for Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto over Republican Adam Laxalt. The result ensures that Democrats, and two independent Senators who caucus with them, will maintain at least 50 votes in the 100-seat chamber, allowing the party to continue controlling the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaker.

While an evenly split Senate would maintain the status quo, Democrats have an opportunity to pad their majority if Senator Raphael Warnock wins reelection in Georgia’s runoff on Dec. 6. A 51st vote for Democrats would give Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer a bit more leeway after two years in which he could pass nothing in the chamber without all 50 members of his caucus on board.

–Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna

Republicans could have smallest House majority in decades

Over the last two decades, both parties have controlled the chamber by narrow margins. Republicans only had a five member majority in 2001, and Democrats today only control the House with eight more seats. But the election of 1930 was even more drastic, with Republicans winning 218 seats to Democrats’ 216. (One progressive Farmer-Labor member also won.)

A split that narrow can cause chaos when representatives die—which happened a lot in 1930. Between Election Day and swearing in, at least 14 members-elect died, throwing the balance of power completely off. After both parties scrambled to hold special elections, Democrats ultimately secured enough seats for a thin majority.

America was in the grips of the Great Depression, but the small majority still found ways to make some progress, says Eric Rauchway, a professor of history at University of California, Davis and the author of Why the New Deal Matters. Democrats teamed up with a collection of progressive Republicans—who were a minority within their own party—to pass two major pieces of progressive legislation: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act to bail out banks, and the Norris-La Guardia Act to bolster labor law.

“That’s the kind of broader lesson you might want to take away,” Rauchway says about the 72nd Congress. “If you have a very narrowly divided Congress, it’s possible for a small block of legislators to be the balance of power.”

But don’t expect to see a similar coalition of progressive Republicans wielding power come January. Modern American politics don’t have the types of coalitions that appeared in the 1930s, says Rauchway. Political parties are now much more starkly divided by ideology.

–Madeleine Carlisle

Colorado voted to decriminalize Psilocybin and other psychedelics

Colorado voters have approved the broadest psychedelic legalization in the U.S., which would decriminalize five psychedelic substances and enable adults to receive psychedelics at licensed centers. The Associated Press called the vote for the measure, Proposition 122, on Friday morning; 92% of the votes were in as of 11 a.m., with 52.3% of voters in favor.

Kevin Matthews, coalition director for Natural Medicine Colorado, which advocated for the measure, called the victory a “tremendously historic moment.” In Colorado, which he noted is often ranked as one of the states with the poorest mental health, he said there is a need for more mental health treatment options.

The ballot measure decriminalizes the possession of certain psychedelic drugs for personal use in the state and specifically legalize psilocybin, the psychedelic component of magic mushrooms, for use at licensed facilities starting in 2024. (In those ways, it’s similar to 2020 measures approved in Oregon, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs in 2021 and is launching a psilocybin access program in 2023.)

Read more about the ballot measure.

–Tara Law

Rep. Lauren Boebert leads by just 794 votes

Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert, a controversial, right-wing freshman lawmaker, is in an incredibly tight reelection fight with Democrat Alan Frisch. By Thursday evening she led by only 794 votes, with 98% of votes counted.

Boebert, an outspoken Trump supporter, was expected to win reelection—redistricting in 2021 had actually made her district more Republican-leaning. But Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, has given her an unexpected challenge.

The seat that Boebert and Frisch are vying for, Colorado’s third Congressional district, is a mostly rural one, in a swing state that’s been leaning blue since 2018. State data shows that the average age of voters has gotten younger, a demographic that tends to favor the Democratic party in Colorado.

Boebert, the former owner of a gun-themed restaurant called Shooters Grill, is an ardent Trump supporter who has backed the former president’s unfounded claims of election fraud.

Frisch, a conservative Democrat who supports abortion rights, brands himself a “patriotic mainstream businessman.” He hoped to draw voters who were tired of what he called Boebert’s brand of “angertainment,” and he promised to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress if elected.

Donald Trump and the Republican blame game

In conversations among Republicans late Tuesday and early Wednesday, a clear target was emerging for blame about the party’s worse-than-expected showing: Donald Trump, who inserted himself into dozens of races and even said on the eve of the election that he deserved the credit if his party did well, but not the blame if they didn’t.While control of Congress is still up in the air, Republicans’ losses included some of the most expensive and hard-fought races of the midterms, ones in which Trump all but determined the Republican nominee with his endorsement.

Many of Trump’s own supporters criticized his involvement in midterm races.For his part, Trump spent Wednesday morning at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., making angry calls to friends and advisors about why the decisive wave of GOP victories that he and so many others had predicted failed to materialize, with the former President blaming others for the endorsement decisions he had made, according to a former Trump White House official still in touch with Trump’s inner circle.

Trump said in those conversations that candidates that lost should have more fully embraced his lie about winning the 2020 election, singling out TV doctor Mehmet Oz’s defeat to John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race as an especially frustrating outcome, said the former official, who noted that Trump was also fuming that the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post printed the headline “DeFuture” to describe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose landslide reelection victory on Tuesday topped Trump’s 2020 margins in the state.

–Brian Bennett and Jasmine Aguilera

Possible legal battle ahead in Arizona

With the Arizona governor’s race still too close to call, Kari Lake’s campaign has made clear it is prepared to pursue legal action over the election, potentially over the counting of ballots and the observation of that process, according to sources familiar with the matter. A member of Lake’s legal team who requested anonymity tells TIME that “a subject matter of a lawsuit” could be “the counting of the ballots and the monitoring of the counting.” They wouldn’t say whether any specific suits were planned as of yet.

Such an action could ultimately focus on the final batch of ballots—roughly 275,000 mail ballots that were delivered in person on Election Day—that will be counted on Thursday and published later that evening. As of Wednesday evening, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, was leading Lake by a little more than 13,000 votes with roughly 70% of the ballots counted.

The Hobbs campaign informed its supporters on Wednesday that it’s embarking on a process to reach out to Arizonans who voted absentee but who then received a notice that their ballot wouldn’t be processed until a problem was addressed, what’s known as the “cures process” in elections parlance. A Hobbs campaign spokesperson confirmed to TIME that the campaign is being represented by the Elias Law Group, a Washington D.C.-based firm headed by the Democratic Party’s leading elections attorney.

–Eric Cortellessa

How the Georgia Senate runoff works

By Wednesday afternoon, the AP determined that no candidate in Georgia’s blockbuster Senate race earned a majority of the votes, meaning there will be a runoff next month to determine the winner. With 3,928,640 votes counted, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock led Republican college football star Herschel Walker by less than 35,100 votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver kept both major party candidates under the 50% threshold by winning slightly more than 2% of the vote.

Voters will return the polls to cast their votes for either Warnock or Walker on Dec. 6, exactly four weeks after Election Day. The runoff period is shorter than it was after the 2020 election thanks to a change in Georgia law. There will also be an early voting period and an opportunity for voters to request absentee ballots.

–Mini Racker

Biden speaks on ‘strong night’ for Democrats

In his first remarks after the midterms, Joe Biden said “Democrats had a strong night.” Speaking to reporters in the State Dining room of the White House, Biden said that “while the press and pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen.”

Votes are still being counted in crucial races to determine the balance of power in the House and Senate, but the results so far have been seen inside the White House as a vindication of Biden’s measured approach to leadership and his warnings about the dangers that election deniers present to American democracy. “With their votes, the American people have spoken once again and proved that democracy is who we are,” Biden said.

Biden said he plans to welcome leaders of both parties to the White House in the coming weeks to discuss a way forward, regardless of the outcome of the final vote tallies. “I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues,” Biden said, adding that he thought voters sent a message that “they expect Republicans to work with me as well.”

–Brian Bennett

Sen. Ron Johnson holds Senate seat, narrowly

Wisconsin’s Republican Sen. Ron Johnson won a third term, beating his progressive Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, by a narrow margin. With 99% of the votes counted, the AP reported that Johnson won 50.5% of the electorate and Barnes carried 49.5%.

Johnson, famous for promoting COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, participating in the plot to replace electoral college votes with “fake electors,” and other pro-Trump conspiracies, spent millions on ads attacking Barnes as soft on crime and anti-American. Barnes had trouble winning over moderates with his past criticizing law enforcement and supporting Black Lives Matter protests, especially once Johnson’s ad campaign took off. If elected, Barnes would have been the state’s first Black senator.

Just like during his victories in 2010 and 2016, Johnson polled behind his Democratic opponent at first. In the GOP’s fight to overturn blue seats, ultra-conservative, Trump-allied candidates around the country mostly failed, leaving Johnson’s victory as a consolation and a critical advantage for the Republican quest for control of the Senate.

–Anisha Kohli

Sen. Ron Johnson holds Senate seat, narrowly

Wisconsin’s Republican Sen. Ron Johnson won a third term, beating his progressive Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, by a narrow margin. With 99% of the votes counted, the AP reported that Johnson won 50.5% of the electorate and Barnes carried 49.5%.

Johnson, famous for promoting COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, participating in the plot to replace electoral college votes with “fake electors,” and other pro-Trump conspiracies, spent millions on ads attacking Barnes as soft on crime and anti-American. Barnes had trouble winning over moderates with his past criticizing law enforcement and supporting Black Lives Matter protests, especially once Johnson’s ad campaign took off. If elected, Barnes would have been the state’s first Black senator.

Just like during his victories in 2010 and 2016, Johnson polled behind his Democratic opponent at first. In the GOP’s fight to overturn blue seats, ultra-conservative, Trump-allied candidates around the country mostly failed, leaving Johnson’s victory as a consolation and a critical advantage for the Republican quest for control of the Senate.

–Anisha Kohli

Republicans flip key New York House seat

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney—chair of the influential Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)—has lost his re-election bid to GOP state assemblyman Mike Lawler.

Maloney’s loss flips a seat that could help give Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Maloney conceded with more than 95% of the vote counted and Lawler leading the race by 1.2%. AP called the race soon after.

The two candidates were bidding for the 17th district seat just north of New York City after Maloney’s current district was redrawn earlier this year as part of once-a-decade redistricting tied to the Census. Despite New York’s strong Democratic presence, there were a slew of other competitive races focused on crime and economic issues like inflation. Maloney’s defeat is a harsh blow for Democrats, who did surprisingly well in Senate and gubernatorial races across the country but are struggling to hold control of the House.

Lawler, a first-term assemblyman, ran as a moderate Republican, distancing himself from Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, whilst criticizing Maloney for his wealth and detachedness from constituents. A party’s campaign chairman, responsible for boosting and protecting their majority through fundraising, hadn’t lost re-election in 30 years, until now.

Big wins for abortion rights in Kentucky and Michigan

Kentucky voters rejected a measure that would have excluded abortion rights from the state’s constitution, according to the AP. That decision—plus votes to protect abortion rights in Michigan, California, and Vermont—mark major wins for abortion rights supporters.

“The people of Kentucky have spoken and their answer is no–no to extremist politicians banning abortion and making private medical decisions on their behalf,” Amber Duke, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kentucky, told the Associated Press.

Voters in five states considered ballot measures aimed at either defending or restricting abortion access—an issue that took on increased urgency after the Supreme Court’s decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade sent abortion rights back to the states.

California, Vermont and Michigan all voted to protect the right to abortion by enshrining it in their state constitutions—which abortion-rights advocates hailed as a “a seismic win.”

In Michigan, voters supported a measure that will establish a “new individual right to reproductive freedom,” including the “right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion,” invalidating a 1931 abortion ban on the books there. Vermont will amend the state constitution to include “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy” after more than 75% of voters supported the measure.

“Post the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, state constitutions are really the vehicle, the mechanism for protecting abortion rights in every individual state,” says Elisabeth Smith, director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who spent Monday door-knocking around Detroit, encouraging people to vote “yes” on Michigan’s ballot measure.

In California, the measure will change the state constitution to say that the “state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom,” including the right to an abortion and the right to contraception.

In Montana, results are pending for a referendum that would declare an embryo or fetus a legal person entitled to medical care if they are “born alive” at any stage of development, including after attempted abortions. Health care providers who violate the law would face a fine of up to $50,000 and 20 years in prison. Opponents of the measure, including the Montana Medical Association and other medical groups, argue it would criminalize doctors who provide palliative care to newborns with fatal health conditions.

“Voters are rejecting the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe and issuing a clarion call that they want their rights constitutionally protected,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement, calling the ballot measures “an example of what is possible for other states.”

–Katie Reilly

Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial candidate John Fetterman waves as he arrives onstage at a watch party during the midterm elections at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 8, 2022. (Angela Weiss—AFP/Getty Images)
Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial candidate John Fetterman waves as he arrives onstage at a watch party during the midterm elections at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 8, 2022.
Angela Weiss—AFP/Getty Images

Fetterman flips Pennsylvania in a major victory for the Democrats

Democrat John Fetterman beat Trump-backed Republican celebrity television doctor Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race, flipping control of the seat currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who is retiring. It’s a key pickup for Democrats, who are inching closer to retaining the Senate in what many originally expected to be a bruising midterm election for the party.

“We held the line. I never expected that we were gonna turn these counties blue, but we did what we needed to do,” Fetterman, who overcame doubts in the final weeks about the extent of his recovery after suffering a stroke in May, said to a crowd of cheering supporters in a victory speech in the early Wednesday hours.

It was one of the most closely watched races of the election. Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor since 2019, and Oz, who won a competitive Republican primary in May, ran one of the most contentious and expensive races in the country, in a competition seen as a proxy battle between Biden and Trump. Fetterman’s win is a blow for Trump, who endorsed Oz in the primary and campaigned for Oz in the run up to the general election on Tuesday. Biden, too, appeared on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, three times in support of Fetterman in just the final three weeks, according to the AP.

Oz has sparked controversy for promoting problematic medical claims. Oprah Winfrey, who hosted Oz as a regular guest on her iconic talk show for several years, endorsed Fetterman. “I will tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Oprah said last week.

–Amy Gunia

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks to supporters at a Putting Georgians first Fly-around Tour event on Nov. 7, 2022 in Kennesaw, Ga. (Megan Varner—Getty Images)
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks to supporters at a Putting Georgians first Fly-around Tour event on Nov. 7, 2022 in Kennesaw, Ga.
Megan Varner—Getty Images

Brian Kemp defeats Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has defeated former state house majority leader Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor’s race. Abrams acknowledged the defeat in an appearance in Atlanta Tuesday night, saying she offered “congratulations” to Kemp.It was the second match-up between Kemp and Abrams and the second time Georgia did not elect what would have been the first Black woman governor in U.S. history; Kemp defeated Abrams for the governorship in 2018 as well.

Kemp shot to national prominence when he refused to help former President Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election. His re-election this year makes him one of the only Republicans to cross Trump and keep his job.

–Mini Racker/Atlanta

Voters ban slavery as punishment everywhere but Louisiana

Voters in five states faced an anachronistic question on their ballots this election day: whether to let slavery or involuntary servitude remain a legal form of punishment. In Louisiana, the electorate opted not to remove that punishment from the state constitution, keeping slavery an option, after a series of edits to the ballot measure led its original author to oppose it.

Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont all passed the ballot measures that would amend the state constitution to remove language making slavery permissible as a punishment. Votes were still being counted in Oregon as of early Wednesday morning.

In Louisiana, Democratic State Representative Edmond Jordan sponsored House Bill 298 with the intentions of banning slavery as punishment. But once the ballot itself was written, Jordan told local news outlets that the text was so ambiguous it could have the opposite effect, and he urged voters to reject the measure so legislators could clean up the language and try again.

The idea of legal slavery still existing in the U.S. in 2022, close to 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, may be hard to believe. But nearly 20 states have constitutions (along with the U.S. Constitution, within the Thirteenth Amendment) with “exception clauses.” These documents ban slavery or forced labor except when it’s used as criminal punishment.

With over 95% of ballots tallied early Wednesday morning, over 760,000 voters in Louisiana—60.9%—indicated they did not want to pass the ballot measure that would remove the language from the state constitution that allowed involuntary servitude as a punishment.

–Julia Zorthian

Sen. Maggie Hassan retains seat once viewed as vulnerable

Incumbent New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan clinched her seat for Democrats in an election the GOP had hoped would bring Republicans closer to Senate control.

Hassan defeated retired Army Gen. Donald Bolduc during a race in which both Democrat and Republican strategists viewed her seat as vulnerable. Republicans had long had their eye on the seat as the potential flip they needed to control the Senate chamber, but as Bolduc emerged as the frontrunner during the primary, his radical views sparked concerns among party officials.

Bolduc suggested, for example, eliminating the FBI and ending the direct elections of senators. He trumpeted former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 Election was stolen. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu endorsed a different candidate during the Republican primary, calling Bolduc a “conspiracy-theorist extremist.” (Bolduc had his own fighting words; he had described Sununu as a “a Chinese Communist sympathizer.”)

Once he became the Republican nominee, Hassan hammered Bolduc on his extreme views and she held onto a consistent lead in the polls. She outraised Bolduc at an immense scale, spending over $31 million on her campaign compared to the $900,000 Bolduc spent as of Oct. 19.

Bolduc veered closer to center during the general race, walking back his 2020 election denials and eventually earning endorsements from both Sununu and Trump. In late October, the Republican Senate fundraising group injected more money into the race in a last-ditch attempt to flip the seat, which they had last controlled in 2017.

President Joe Biden reportedly called Hassan to congratulate her on the win Tuesday night.

–Julia Zorthian

The ballroom is prepared for guests at an election-night event for Democratic candidate for Rep. Tim Ryan on Nov. 8, 2022 in Boardman, Ohio. (Drew Angerer—Getty Images)
The ballroom is prepared for guests at an election-night event for Democratic candidate for Rep. Tim Ryan on Nov. 8, 2022 in Boardman, Ohio.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images

J.D. Vance wins Ohio Senate seat

The tight race for an open Senate seat in Ohio ground to a narrow end, with Democratic nominee Tim Ryan coming up short against first-time candidate J.D. Vance, a Republican who captured the GOP nomination powered by an endorsement of ex-President Donald Trump. The Associated Press called the race, and a Democratic official tells TIME that Ryan has called Vance to concede.

Ryan, a 10-term member of the House who sought to defeat Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader and tried for his party’s presidential nomination in 2020, had counted on his blue-collar appeal to break a conservative slide in a state that twice voted for Trump. Ryan hails from the northeast corner of the state where the manufacturing core has been hollowed out over the last few decades. He campaigned as an everyman who drank Miller Lite, wore hoodie sweatshirts on the trail, and blasted Trump and his allies like Vance as extremism.

Vance, meanwhile, matured as a candidate as the campaign pivoted from a competitive primary to a general election with national implications. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy and a venture capitalist, similarly tried to appeal to the working-class base of the Ohio electorate. Vance benefited from a raft of cash from billionaire Peter Thiel, and he certainly was not hurt by incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine’s easy victory for a second term.

The seat is currently held by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, meaning Vance’s win does little to advance the GOP’s effort to win the majority.

–Philip Elliott

Alabama votes to remove racist language from constitution

Alabama voters approved a revised constitution that nixes racist language about segregated schools, poll taxes, and interracial marriage. The revision also strips a clause banning slavery except “for the punishment of crime.” This phrasing has enabled the forced labor of convicted felons and reflects a national push to remove the inhumane language from the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

More than 75% of voters approved the change, while 23% voted against it, according to unofficial election results posted by the Alabama Secretary of State on Tuesday night, while votes were still being tallied.

Since it was ratified in 1901, the Alabama constitution has boasted 978 amendments and more than 400,000 words, making it the longest state constitution. Voters first went to the polls to remove racist language in 2020. Two years later, they returned to the polls to vote to approve additional removals and a more streamlined document.

Among other removed clauses is a provision that protected parents’ right to send their children to “schools provided for their own race.” That amendment had been adopted in the wake of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which was supposed to make racially segregated schools unconstitutional.

–Olivia B. Waxman

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis coasts to re-election

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey DeSantis and their children walk on stage to celebrate victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during an election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on November 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. DeSantis was the projected winner by a double-digit lead. (Octavio Jones—Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey DeSantis and their children walk on stage to celebrate victory over Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during an election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on November 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. DeSantis was the projected winner by a double-digit lead.
Octavio Jones—Getty Images

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis easily won re-election on Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press, positioning him for potential national ambitions or a future bid for the presidency.

DeSantis faced Democrat Charlie Crist, who himself served as a Republican Governor of Florida from 2007 until 2011. (He became a Democrat in 2012.) With 80% of votes counted, De Santis had 58% of the vote to Crist’s 41%.

A rising star in the GOP, DeSantis defined his first term as governor with resistance to pandemic-era restrictions and brash right-wing stances on America’s culture wars. His funding vastly outpaced Crist’s, and he focused his campaign on criticizing Democrats for what he described as the “woke agenda.” Widely considered to be a future Republican presidential contender, the conservative firebrand made headlines this year for his stances on LGBTQ issues, handling of immigration policy, and investigations into alleged voter fraud. He repeatedly drew liberal ire and swallowed media cycle after media cycle, leaving Crist and his moderate approach largely ignored.

While he’s been re-elected to another four years in office, it remains unclear if he’ll serve all of them—in a recent debate DeSantis, 44, did not answer when Crist pressed him to commit to a full-four year term rather than run for President in 2024. Former President Donald Trump, a registered Florida voter who is also mulling a presidential bid, told reporters on Tuesday that he had voted for DeSantis’ re-election, although he had mocked the governor at a rally just days before, potentially teeing up the primary dynamics for next cycle.

–Madeleine Carlisle

Sarah Huckabee Sanders wins Arkansas governorship

Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the gubernatorial race in Arkansas, according to the Associated Press, becoming the first woman to hold the seat in the state’s history.

Sanders, former White House press secretary during the Trump Administration, won by a landslide. Her father Mike Huckabee previously served as the state’s governor for more than a decade.

Both of the candidates for lieutenant governor are women, and though results are not yet in for that race, Sanders’ victory ensures Arkansas will become one of the first states in the country to be led by women in both top spots. (Massachusetts will also be led by two women after Democrat Maura Healey won the governor’s race there.)

–Jasmine Aguilera

Democrat Wes Moore, his wife Dawn, and their children, react after Moore was declared the winner of the Maryland gubernatorial race, in Baltimore, on Nov. 8, 2022. (Bryan Woolston—AP)
Democrat Wes Moore, his wife Dawn, and their children, react after Moore was declared the winner of the Maryland gubernatorial race, in Baltimore, on Nov. 8, 2022.
Bryan Woolston—AP

Wes Moore becomes Maryland’s first Black governor

Democrat Wes Moore won the Maryland gubernatorial race, according to the Associated Press. Moore will become the state’s first Black governor.

Moore was expected to win the race against far-right Republican Dan Cox, who was endorsed by Trump and received an approximately $1.7 million boost by Democrats in his primary race, with Democrats betting that he would lose the general election.

–Jasmine Aguilera

First member of Gen Z elected to Congress

Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional District Maxwell Frost speaks as he celebrates with supporters during a victory party at The Abbey in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022. (Stephen M. Dowell—Orlando Sentinel/AP)
Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional District Maxwell Frost speaks as he celebrates with supporters during a victory party at The Abbey in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2022.
Stephen M. Dowell—Orlando Sentinel/AP

Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost won his race in Florida’s 10th Congressional district. Frost, 25, was born in 1997, making him the first member of Gen Z to be elected to the House of Representatives. (Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorne, 27, was born on the cusp between Millennials and Gen Z; another Gen Z Republican, Karoline Leavitt, is running for a House seat in New Hampshire, although that race has not yet been called.)

Frost, who worked as an Uber driver to make ends meet during his campaign, ran as a Gen Z leader who could represent his generation’s lack of patience with the status quo. A former March for Our Lives organizer, Frost told TIME he planned to bring a Gen Z urgency to issues like gun violence, voting rights, and climate change. “I think the biggest generational divide I see isn’t necessarily the issues—it’s the urgency of these things,” he says. “How quickly do they get done?”

–Charlotte Alter

What voters outside Atlanta are saying

Some voters casting their ballots at a church in Sandy Springs, Georgia on Tuesday said they wanted to rebuke political excesses on both sides of the aisle.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be voting for Kemp and Warnock,” says Dylan Spearman, a 26-year-old accountant who says he doesn’t associate with either party. “Abrams, I feel like, is a little more extreme on the left side, and I prefer not to have anyone extreme on either side. And then Herschel Walker, the other way around, more extreme on the right side.”

Georgia is holding two critical elections on Tuesday: the gubernatorial contest between Governor Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams, and the Senate contest between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta in deep blue Fulton County, is home to boxy houses, high gates, and big lawns, as well as mixed-use apartment buildings. Several residents characterized the neighborhood, which is dotted with signs supporting Republican Governor Brian Kemp, as either more Republican-leaning or politically mixed, although most of the voters who agreed to speak with TIME were supporting Democrats.

Ibn Blanford, a 42-year-old actor, model, and caterer, says he used to identify with Democrats, but feels the party has supported giving too many handouts. He’s supporting Abrams, but even as he walked into the polls, he wasn’t sure who he was going to vote for in the Senate race. “Now I think both parties are a little messed up,” he says. “And I think that the country is in a place where we’re somewhere in the middle.”

Multiple voters who identified with the Democratic Party also decried extremism, but they saw it primarily on the Republican side. Several of them said they weren’t thrilled with President Joe Biden, who some called “the lesser of two evils,” but they said they don’t support the GOP and former President Donald Trump—especially after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“That whole January 6th event really took the cake for me,” says Antonne Broussard, a substitute teacher and food and beverage industry worker. “If we start going that route and challenging our democracy, we won’t have a democracy.”

Multiple voters mentioned abortion rights as a factor in their decision to vote for Democrats: “I’m not too happy about how they’re trying to overturn abortion rights,” says Antrena Williams, who said she went to school with Abrams.

–Mini Racker/Sandy Springs, Ga.

Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for the Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks at a rally ahead of the Nov. 8 Midterm Election in Latrobe, Pa. on Nov. 5, 2022. (Shuran Huang—The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for the Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks at a rally ahead of the Nov. 8 Midterm Election in Latrobe, Pa. on Nov. 5, 2022.
Shuran Huang—The Washington Post/Getty Images
More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

You May Also Like
EDIT POST