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Thursday February 2nd, 2023 2:53AM

2022 midterms live updates: Latest election news from AP

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-ground updates on the 2022 U.S. midterm elections from The Associated Press. Live updates — all times Eastern — are produced by AP journalists around the country.

You can find updates from Election Night itself at this page.

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WHAT'S NEXT

2022 isn't over, yet eyes are already on 2024. On the heels of Tuesday night's disappointing results for Republicans, allies of former President Donald Trump were calling on him to delay his planned announcement of another White House run, AP national political reporter Jill Colvin reports.

Trump sought to use the midterms as a chance to prove his enduring political influence, endorsing more than 330 candidates in races up and down the ballot. While he notched some big wins, his candidates also lost high-profile races. Trump insisted publicly he was happy with the results, but his setbacks were animating the hopes of a long list of potential rivals waiting quietly in the wings.

Republicans’ biggest victory lay in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis easily won reelection and cemented his status as a rising star while eyeing his own potential 2024 run.

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THEY SAID IT

“I believed that the people would choose freedom over slavery, if we gave them the opportunity, by taking the slavery question away from the legislators and putting it into the hands of the people. And they proved us right,” he said.

— Max Parthas, campaigns coordinator for the Abolish Slavery National Network

Ballot measures approved Tuesday will change the state constitutions in Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime, AP national race and ethnicity reporter Aaron Morrison reports.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Louisiana — one of a handful of states that sentences convicted felons to hard labor — torpedoed their own, similar measure because of ambiguous language.

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VOTECAST

If Tuesday’s vote defied the durable history of presidential parties taking heavy losses in a midterm election, it also reinforced an often-forgotten fact: These campaigns are a patchwork of thousands of races, not a nationwide contest, AP's Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut report.

Inflation, abortion or fears about democracy may have swayed the votes of many Americans, but they did so in myriad ways depending on the state, district or the candidates. That was clear in AP VoteCast, an in-depth survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide.

Its numbers tell a story of how demographics, cultural issues and the quality of candidates were central to the outcomes of many contests.

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ROLL TAPE

Ted Johnson, the Senior Advisor of New America, provides analysis about the Black candidates making waves in this year’s election.

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THEY SAID IT

“If they lose, that just reaffirms beliefs that the whole thing is rigged. And if they win, you have people running elections who have pretty wild thoughts about how elections should be run.”

— Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, on candidates for offices that have power over elections who spread misleading claims

AP's David Klepper reports on Election Day misinformation, offering examples of how misleading claims emerge and travel, and how innocent events can be spun into the latest viral election hoax.

He also delves into the kind of baseless rumors and conspiracy theories that were reverberating around the internet Wednesday as candidates and far-right influencers sought to explain away losses and closer-than-expected races.

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THEY SAID IT

“We have seen no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was any way compromised in any race in the country.”

— Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, said in a statement

Despite a few state and local governments appearing to be hit by a relatively basic form of cyberattack that can make public websites unreachable, federal and local officials said none had broken through vote-counting infrastructure, AP’s Nomaan Merchant and Emily Wagster Pettus report.

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THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Republicans, according to the narrative, had a disastrous night — even causing Fox News to call for “soul searching” in the GOP. But how big of a disaster was it if Republicans remain favored to retake the House and still might manage to flip the Senate?

Democrats battled tough circumstances and political history to dilute the dreaded red wave. But the relief could obscure growing weaknesses in the party’s position and a tough road ahead for President Joe Biden.

The power of those pre-election expectations fueled the national conversation and the media narrative after election day.

Associated Press media writer David Bauder looks at whether the “bad for GOP, bad for Trump” instant analysis is as clear cut as it seems.

And Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian and Hannah Fingerhut explore why the next two years might still be an uncertain slog for Biden.

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4:20 p.m.

President Joe Biden, in his first public comments on the outcome of the midterm elections, said his takeaway is that voters were clear that they’re still frustrated with record inflation, crime and other issues. “I get it,” Biden said at the White House.

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SNAPSHOT

Buu Nygren ousted Jonathan Nez as president of the Navajo Nation, a position that wields influence nationally because of the size of the tribe’s reservation in the U.S. Southwest and its huge population, AP's Felicia Fonseca reports from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Nygren, 35, positioned himself as the candidate for change in the nonpartisan race and as someone who could get the ball rolling on long-awaited projects. He has a background in construction management but has never held political office.

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ANALYSIS

“Democrats had plenty to savor in the morning light. But as they exhaled and Republicans lamented big gains that didn’t materialize, there were larger problems that both political parties will need to address — and soon,” AP chief political writer Steve Peoples writes in an analysis of the midterm results so far.

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DID YOU KNOW?

In Tuesday’s midterm elections, records were broken and history was made, AP's Adriana Gomez Licon reports. In states across the country, women, LGBTQ and Black candidates were elected to congressional seats and governor’s offices as part of a new generation of political leadership.

Those firsts include the country’s first openly lesbian governor, Maryland’s first Black governor, and Vermont’s first woman in Congress. Candidates also smashed records — 12 women will be governors, hitting double digits for the first time.

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STAY TUNED IN GEORGIA

It might be another month before we know who controls the Senate. Georgia’s closely watched race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker will go to a Dec. 6 runoff because neither candidate took more than half of the vote.

Democrats or Republicans would need to win both of the other pending Senate races, in Arizona and Nevada, to control the chamber without winning in Georgia. AP’s Meg Kinnard explains how the runoff will work.

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GROUNDBREAKERS IN ARKANSAS

Arkansas has never had a female governor. Or lieutenant governor. On Tuesday night, they got both.

Voters elevated former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to the state’s top role, a position her father held from 1996 to 2007.

Arkansas voters also picked current Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to serve as lieutenant governor. She becomes the first woman to serve as the state’s No. 2 and essentially swaps roles with current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who was elected attorney general.

All are Republicans.

Sanders faced Democrat Chris Jones, a nuclear engineer who would have become Arkansas’ first Black governor. In a statement Wednesday congratulating Sanders, Jones said: “History was made. Sarah’s election has shown women, including my little girls, that being a woman is no longer a barrier to becoming governor in our state.”

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

With Sean Patrick Maloney losing his race, New York’s congressional delegation goes from having two Maloneys to zero. Carolyn Maloney lost her primary for the 12th district earlier this year.

For the first time since 1993, when Carolyn Maloney was first elected, New York will have no Maloneys in Congress.

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1:15 p.m.

President Joe Biden completed a final round of calls to lawmakers on Tuesday's ballot. Amid the many congratulatory and conciliatory calls to fellow Democrats, Biden also called Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio.

The two have certainly had their policy differences — DeWine even ran campaign ads attacking Biden's policies — but they have also found areas of common ground and mutual interest. Biden pushed for the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion measure intended to boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research. Passage of the law was crucial to Intel Corp. agreeing to build a new $20 billion facility outside of Columbus, Ohio.

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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Pennsylvania Rep.-elect Summer Lee replaced Mike Doyle, a Democrat who did not seek reelection after nearly 30 years in Congress, AP's Brooke Schultz reports. But to nab the seat, Lee had to face Mike Doyle — a completely different person and a Republican.

The identical names were the source of some puzzlement, and the Republican Doyle tried to capitalize on it by using the tagline #TheRight Mike.

In her speech to supporters Tuesday night, Lee nodded to the name conflation.

“When we were up against a wall — every single time when it looked like it was getting bleak: friends came from all over,” she said. “When we got into the name confusion and people started wondering, ‘What’s going on?’ We had friends come up.”

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THE UVALDE VOTE

Despite outspoken activism by some families of the children killed at Robb Elementary School, voters in Uvalde County backed Gov. Greg Abbott over challenger Beto O’Rourke in the governor’s race.

Unofficial results show about 60% of voters in Uvalde County backed the Republican Abbott.

O’Rourke made the Uvalde attack a centerpiece of his campaign, at one point interrupting Abbott during a press conference shortly after the school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.

On the local level, the acting Uvalde police chief — who has been suspended — won a county commissioner’s race, prevailing over challengers that included the father of Jacklyn Cazares, who died in the school shooting.

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READ MORE

The winner of Alaska's U.S. Senate contest is yet unclear, but whoever it will be, we know it will be a Republican. AP's Mike Catalini explains how the state's ranked choice voting will ensure either Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski or Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka will nab the seat.

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THEY SAID IT

“The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

— GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who won reelection Tuesday despite an array of controversies, including disciplinary action by the state bar, an FBI investigation and a long-delayed trial on securities fraud charges.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Summer Lee has made history as Pennsylvania’s first Black congresswoman with her election. AP called the race for the open seat Wednesday morning.

Lee has served as a state representative since 2019. Speaking to supporters at a watch party, she called their event a “scaled down thing, because we’ve been through it.”

“We had to go through ugly to get here,” she said. “There is a reason why there had never been a Black woman, ever, serving (in Congress) in the history of Pennsylvania. So I can assure you they’re not going to let up on us. They’re not going to relent.”

Lee defeated Republican Mike Doyle, who conceded Tuesday night.

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THEY SAID IT

“Saddle up.”

— Doug Mastriano, Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania

The AP called the Pennsylvania governor's race for Democrat Josh Shapiro on Tuesday night, but Mastriano has yet to concede. He posted a photo of him on a horse with the above caption Wednesday morning and told a crowd of supporters Tuesday night that he would wait “until every vote counts,”

Meanwhile, Republican Mehmet Oz said he called John Fetterman to concede the race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat Wednesday morning, saying he wished him well “both personally and as our next United States Senator.” AP called the race in the early hours Wednesday.

“We are facing big problems as a country and we need everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done,” Oz said in a statement.

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12 p.m.

Abortion rights advocates in Kentucky saw clear vindication in that state’s rejection of an amendment that would have provided legal protections for a ban on abortions approved by the state legislature.

“We’ve been making the case throughout this campaign that Kentucky’s abortion laws are very extreme and are out of step with the majority of Kentuckians’ values,” said Rachel Sweet, campaign manager for Protect Kentucky Access, who also coordinated a successful fight against a similar amendment in Kansas earlier this year. “And I think that the results that we are seeing from the Amendment 2 vote are a repudiation of the policies that have been in place in Kentucky so far.”

Sweet, who spoke on a Zoom call organized by opponents on the amendment, said the fight is far from over, in Kentucky or anywhere else: “It is still an issue that we do not anticipate will be settled in any way, shape or form."

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THEY SAID IT

“There’s still a beating heart to American democracy.”

— U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Wednesday morning

Maloney, who represents a New York district, acknowledged his own defeat after conceding to Republican Mike Lawler, a state assemblyman. The AP has not declared a winner in that contest.

Maloney said Nov. 8 would stand as a “signature day in American political history.”

“If we fall a little short," Maloney said of his party, "we’re going to know that we gave it our all and we beat the spread.”

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STATUS UPDATE

In a series of statewide ballot measures, voters affirmed abortion rights in the first major election after the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

In Michigan, California and Vermont, voters enshrined the right to abortion in their state constitutions on Tuesday, AP’s Lindsay Whitehurst reports. And in Kentucky, a heavily Republican state, voters declared there is no state constitutional right to abortion.

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THEY SAID IT

“Let me say the message so it can be loud and clear — so that the radical left-wing teachers’ union can hear it, so that Joe Biden can hear it. Folks, Oklahoma won’t go woke.”

— Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s newly elected superintendent of schools who as a candidate targeted teachers over banned books

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STATUS UPDATE

Why hasn't the AP called control of Congress yet? Neither party has reached the thresholds required to win the House or Senate — and it's not quite clear when that might change, AP's Mike Catalini explains.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Here's the difference between two phrases often bandied about during elections, from AP national political reporter Meg Kinnard's glossary:

“Too early to call”: Races in which the vote count is active and ongoing and a winner is not yet clear are “too early to call.” That includes races in which the vote count may take several days.

“Too close to call”: Races in which the vote count has reached its primary conclusion – all outstanding ballots save provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots have been counted – without a clear winner are “too close to call.” AP formally declares a race “too close to call” via our election reporting system and in our news report.

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STATUS UPDATE

Backers of recreational marijuana scored wins Tuesday night in Maryland and Missouri but in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota legalization efforts went up in smoke.

Recreational pot use will be legal in 21 states following Tuesday’s results, AP’s Andrew DeMillo reports.

The votes come a month after President Joe Biden announced he was pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law.

In Colorado, recreational pot has been legal for a decade. A ballot measure that would decriminalize certain psychedelic substances including so-called “magic mushrooms” remained too early to call Wednesday morning.

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READ MORE

The AP has tallied votes and declared winners in U.S. elections since 1848. AP's Meg Kinnard and Mike Catalini take you through how we made the calls in 10 key races so far:

U.S. Senate calls: John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Ted Budd in North Carolina, JD Vance in Ohio, Michael Bennet in Colorado

Governor calls: Tony Evers in Wisconsin, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania, Greg Abbott in Texas, Ron DeSantis in Florida

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MORNING AGAIN IN AMERICA

The weather in the nation's capital is cool and crisp on this Election Morning After, as control of Congress still hangs in the balance.

AP's Brian Slodysko in Washington identifies the takeaways so far:

— Republicans hoped for a sweep that never came — but they could still wrest control of the House and Senate

— The increasing redness of Florida, a traditional battleground state, was reinforced by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio's reelection victories

— At $16.7 billion, the midterms themselves are on track to be the most expensive ever, according to the nonpartisan OpenSecrets, nearly doubling the cost of the 2010 midterm elections

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