Voters across the country cast their ballots in the midterm elections for the candidates they wanted to represent them at the local, state and federal levels on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
For months, pundits have said Democrats could lose in a big way at the polls. However, the current ruling party did not fare as badly as predicted and several races are still too close to call.
The House is leaning towards flipping to Republican leadership but the Senate is still up for grabs.
Some key races have garnered national attention, including those in Georgia, Florida, Maryland and California. According to exit polls done by CNN, issues like inflation and women’s reproductive rights were top of mind for many voters.
Here is a recap of some of the midterm elections, particularly those that either featured Black American candidates or will impact Black Americans in a significant way.
Georgia’s race for governor and the U.S. Senate garnered national interest. In the gubernatorial race, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams faced off in a rematch of their highly contested 2018 race for the office.
Kemp is projected to retain his seat as the state’s leader. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, he has 53.4 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock is heading into a runoff with his opponent Herschel Walker after a night of seesawing with whom was in the lead. With 99 percent of the vote in, Warnock is in the lead with 49.2 percent to Walker’s 48.7 percent, according to polls shown by MSNBC.
Because neither candidate has received 50 percent of the vote, the run-off will be held Dec. 6. Both men say they plan to win. On Tuesday night, Walker told his supporters, “I didn’t come to lose.”
Warnock told his supporters they needed to do everything necessary to be victorious.
“Here’s what we know: When they’re finished counting, we are going to have received more votes than my opponent,” Warnock tweeted. “And whether we need to work all night, through tomorrow, or for four more weeks, we will do what we need to and bring this home.”
At the state and federal levels, Democrats have been victorious in California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is projected as the winner of his reelection bid against Brian Dahle. Newsom currently has 57.6 percent of the vote to Dahle’s 42.4 percent.
Democrat U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee also won her reelection bid by a landslide. The incumbent garnered 87.1 percent of the vote count – a steep contrast to her opponent Stephen Salauson’s 12.9 percent. This is with 28 percent of the precincts reporting.
At the local level, California’s mayoral race still has yet to be decided, but businessman Rick Caruso has taken the lead over U.S. Rep. Karen Bass. Polls show Caruso with 51.2 percent of the vote and Bass with 48.8 percent.
“We will win! We will win because we’re going to build a new Los Angeles,” Bass told supporters Tuesday night, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Together, we want to have a City Hall that serves all the people,” Bass continued. “We want a City Hall that’s not just the City Hall for the powerful, not just the City Hall for the wealthy, but a City Hall that is for everyone so that we can have the quality of life that I know that we deserve.”
Caruso said he was “happy” about his current lead. “We don’t know the outcome yet, but I’m happy to say that we’re starting out strong and we’re a couple thousand votes ahead,” Caruso said.
“We have dreams of a better life to make come true for so many,” Caruso continued. “And I come here tonight in full anticipation and excitement about what is to come and what we can do together.”
Democrat Wes Moore made history on Tuesday when he defeated Republican Dan Cox to become the state’s first Black governor. In the process, he flipped the state’s executive leadership from red to blue.
With 91 percent of the vote counted, Moore led with 59.8 percent of the vote, a large lead over Cox’s 37 percent.
During his victory speech, Moore explained why he ran for office.
“When I was an Army captain and led soldiers into combat in Afghanistan, we lived by a simple principle: Leave no one behind … Real patriotism means bringing people together,” Moore said. “It means lifting each other up and improving each other’s lives.”
Moore’s win makes double history as his running-mate, Aruna Moore, will be the first immigrant to be Lt. Governor of the state.
Incumbent Congressman Anthony Brown also made history by becoming the first Black person elected as Maryland’s attorney general.
“This evening I accept the honor and the privilege to be your next attorney general,” Brown said as the results came in.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won his reelection bid against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio retained his seat and bested his opponent, former Orlando police chief Val Demings.
Both Republicans won by double digits. DeSantis received 59.4 percent of the vote compared to Crist’s 40 percent and Rubio received 57.7 percent of the vote to Demings’ 41.3 percent.
Even Miami-Dade County, which has been blue for decades, voted heavily Republican. The major flip has been attributed to Miami-Dade’s large Hispanic population voting red.
“After tonight, the Republican Party will never be the same, and that’s a great thing for America,” Rubio said as the results rolled in. “You know what we call people who are Black, white, Hispanic, Asian and are men and women, who come from other countries. You know what we call them in Florida? We call them Americans.”
In her concession speech, Demings encouraged her supporters to keep fighting for change.
“I ran for the Senate because we can never stop striving to form that more perfect union,” Demings said. “It’s not easy. It’s never been easy, but nothing ever worth it is ever easy. But I came tonight to tell you it’s worth the fight.”
In Pennsylvania, Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz to flip the state’s Senate seat blue. There was a question about whether Fetterman could overcome voters’ concerns after he suffered a near-fatal stroke shortly before the election, but he silenced the critics.
He thanked supporters for their confidence in him.
“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down,” Fetterman tweeted. “And I won’t let you down. Thank you.”
It would not be surprising if the House does flip to Republican control, which is likely based on the current election trends. Historically, midterms tend to favor the party that is not in presidential power. The same happened under former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Former President Donald Trump’s presidency was the first time in decades the same party held power in all three branches.
Black Americans weighed in on election results from around the country. In recent years, there has been a critical call for a real Black Agenda from lawmakers. The chorus of voices that are over Black Americans’ votes being taken for granted is getting stronger
“The real issue is that you want democrats to win even when it means Black Americans lose,” Devine Prince of the United States Freedman Project. “POLICY OVER PARTY. You don’t have the policies we need and want…. we don’t owe you our vote because ‘the other side is worse.'”
“The Black community has not been able to count on either Party. There’s no reason to guarantee either your vote,” Educator Dr. Steve Perry tweeted. “Educate yourself to who truly represents your family’s interests. Your vote is yours. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.”
Others railed against the popular trend of blaming Black men for not voting when Democrat candidates lose.
Speaker and political consultant Tezlyn Figaro railed against the ‘racist trope’ that Black men don’t vote.
“They would have you believe that no Black men at all have voted and that’s just simply not true, so rather than saying I blame you, how bout they say, “I’ll do better,’” Figaro said during a recent interview about voter turnout.
“Blaming Black voters or blaming Black men is no different than blaming the person who got cheated on in the relationship … ‘Perhaps if you just cooked more, I wouldn’t have cheated.’ At the end of the day, it is about who is trying to engage these voters and if they failed,” Figaro continued.
Journalist Michael Harriot shared polls from Stacey Abrams’ race that underscored Figaro’s words.
“According to exit polls, Abrams had MORE support from Black men than Dems had nationwide,” Harriot wrote. “In fact, if every single Black male Kemp voter had voted for Abrams instead, she still would’ve lost Turns out, the “Black male voter problem” was a lie It was white voters. It ALWAYS is.”
Other issues on the ballot included legalizing marijuana and even slavery.