Control of the U.S. House and Senate was still up in the air Wednesday, as states across the country tallied votes in neck-and-neck midterm election races.
A set of close contests will determine whether Democrats keep their slim majorities in the House and Senate, or if Republicans will seize control of one or both chambers of the legislature.
Democrats picked up a pivotal Senate seat in Pennsylvania with Republican Mehmet Oz conceding the election to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Critical Senate races in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona that will determine the majority were still unresolved, according to NBC News. The Georgia contest, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock narrowly leads Republican Herschel Walker, will head to a runoff on Dec. 6, as neither candidate will garner 50% of the vote.
NBC estimated that Republicans could pick up nine seats, giving them 222 seats and a slight edge over Democrats in the House. But the party came into Election Day hoping to take commanding control of the chamber. States are still tallying votes in many races, so those results could change.
The outcome could make all the difference for President Joe Biden, whose legislative hopes rest on whether Democrats can push his agenda through a hyper-partisan Congress.
Millions of Americans also cast their votes in key races for governor, secretary of state and other offices down the ballot.
Correction: This blog was updated to correct the vote count in Georgia's Senate race. Warnock had a slight lead over Walker as of Wednesday afternoon.
Biden says he wants to work with Republicans, but won't compromise on abortion, Social Security and climate change
President Joe Biden said Wednesday he is eager to work with congressional Republicans after the midterm elections, but stressed he would not compromise on issues such as abortion rights and Social Security.
"I'm open to any good ideas. I want to be very clear: I'm not going to support any Republican proposal that's going to make inflation worse," Biden said, giving the example of removing the prescription drug price cap for Americans on Medicare passed by his party. "And I'm not going to walk away from the historic commitments we just made to take on the climate crisis. They're not compromise-able issues to me and I won't let it happen."
— Emma Kinery
Trump says GOP midterm disappointment doesn't change his teased 2024 campaign launch
Former President Donald Trump is celebrating the wins of Republicans he endorsed for the 2022 midterm elections, despite losses for many of his preferred candidates in key races.
"I really think we had great candidates that performed very well," Trump told Fox News. He offered examples in a range of GOP incumbents and newcomers who won Senate races: Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Eric Schmitt in Missouri, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Ted Budd in North Carolina and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
But Trump's anticipated success for a bevy of candidates he endorsed has not come to pass. U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz's loss to Democrat John Fetterman in a hotly contested Pennsylvania race and 2020 election denier Kristina Karamo's loss to Jocelyn Benson for Michigan secretary of state are two high-profile examples.
Trump told Fox claims that he was "furious" at the election outcomes are a "fake news narrative." The results have not swayed his plans for a "major" announcement this month about a possible 2024 presidential run, he added.
"We had tremendous success," Trump said. "Why would anything change?"
Biden says he plans to run in 2024, expects to make decision early next year
President Joe Biden said he planned to run for reelection in 2024 regardless of how his party fared in the midterm elections — which were viewed in part as a referendum on him.
"Our intention is to run. That's been our intention regardless of what the outcome of this election was," the president told reporters as control of both chambers of Congress was still up in the air.
Democrats are expected to lose fewer than expected House seats and could keep control of the Senate. The party beat expectations despite voters' concerns about inflation and a possible economic slowdown.
Biden said he could make a decision on whether to run for a second term by early next year.
Asked whether he would prefer to face Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is considered the former president's most likely 2024 rival, Biden did not choose.
"It'll be fun watching them take on each other," he said.
— Jacob Pramuk
'It didn't happen': Biden says Democrats prevented a Republican wave
President Joe Biden said his Democratic Party beat back expectations of a strong Republican performance on Election Day.
"It didn't happen," the president said of predictions of a "red wave" that would lead to the GOP holding a strong grip on the House and Senate.
Biden spoke to reporters as election results poured in across the country in races that will determine control of Congress. While Republicans are expected to win control of the House, they are set to gain fewer seats than initially thought. Meanwhile, Democrats have so far gained one Senate seat.
Biden said he is "prepared to work" with Republicans if they win control of one or both chambers of Congress. He added that he expects to speak soon to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the most likely next House speaker if the GOP flips the House.
— Jacob Pramuk
Democratic Rep. Angie Craig wins reelection in Minnesota, NBC projects
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., won her bid for reelection against Republican opponent Tyler Kistner, NBC News projects.
Craig first won election to the House in 2018 and has held on to the seat ever since. She also beat Kistner in the 2020 race for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.
Craig defeated Kistner by about 5 percentage points, according to NBC.
Latino Democrats see the election results as a rebuke of the 'conservative Latino' narrative
Tuesday's election results show that Latino voters aren't as conservative as many political pundits have come to believe, according to a leading Democratic Latino campaign organizer.
"Since the end of the 2020 cycle there has been this running narrative that Latinos are becoming more conservative that has only increased in the past couple of months," said Victoria McGroary, executive director of Bold PAC, which is the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "The narrative was 'this is where the Latino community is going' and it's just not true and it's something that we've known for a while."
McGroary said despite a plethora of stories highlighting Latina women running for Congress, many of the big Republican names like Mayra Flores and Cassy Garcia in Texas, Yesli Vega in Virginia and Yvette Herrell in New Mexico, lost. Races have been called for five new Latino Democratic representatives, including Max Frost in Florida who will become the first Gen Z member of Congress, and more are likely to join.
"These are advocates for our communities for their communities. They are coming they are ready to make that change," McGroary said. "They are not coming to sit around and watch anything they are ready to lead the charge and fight for change."
— Emma Kinery
Libertarians win in handful of local races, but show outsize influence in key Georgia Senate race
Of the hundreds of Libertarian Party candidates who competed in races up and down the ballot around the country, just 15 emerged victorious, and nearly all of those seats were at the local or county level, according to the party's election tracker.
But one libertarian, Chase Oliver, appears to have left a mark on the all-important Senate race in Georgia.
Oliver clinched just over 2% of the vote in that race, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is defending his seat against Trump-backed GOP rival Herschel Walker, according to NBC News projections. NBC's count of the neck-and-neck Senate race shows Warnock and Walker each just shy of the 50% vote threshold, triggering a runoff election set for Dec. 6.
Depending on how other key Senate races shake out, the Georgia runoff could decide which party holds majority control of the upper chamber of Congress. Oliver's 2% share of the race may have siphoned away enough votes to put one of the two major candidates over the top.
"Last night, Libertarians demonstrated that we have the power to change outcomes in key elections. Even as election results pour in, we have confirmed 15 wins for our party in red and blue states alike—states including Iowa, Kentucky, Arizona, Nebraska, and Colorado," Libertarian Parry spokesman Reed Cooley said in a statement.
"With the majority of our wins being on the local level, we are playing the long game to become a serious contender in the years to come," Cooley said.
— Kevin Breuninger
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise announces bid for majority leader
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., announced he is running for majority leader if Republicans take control of the House.
"I am asking for your support to be the next House Majority Leader," Scalise said in a letter shared by his office with CNBC. The letter came shortly after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced he was running to be speaker of the House.
Scalise's letter presumes that the GOP has won a majority in the House, but NBC News and other outlets have yet to make a final call on the balance of power in either chamber of Congress.
"As your Majority Leader, I will work relentlessly to usher our vision through the House and show the country how conservative ideas can solve the problems that families are facing," Scalise wrote.
— Kevin Breuninger
Republicans are projected to pick up more seats in the U.S. House
The margin between Democrats and Republicans winning House seats will continue to narrow as local precincts continue counting votes from Tuesday's midterm elections, NBC News predicts.
Republicans are projected to pick up nine new seats, giving them 222 seats and Democrats 213, according to NBC News. However, those totals haven't been confirmed yet as states continue tallying votes.
— Chelsey Cox
Kentucky rejects anti-abortion constitutional amendment in surprise win for reproductive rights
Voters in Kentucky have rejected a constitutional amendment that would have effectively shielded the state's abortion ban from legal challenge, NBC News projects.
About 52% of those who cast ballots rejected an amendment that said there's no right to an abortion under the state constitution.
Kentucky banned abortion immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June through a so-called trigger law passed by the legislature. The amendment put before voters on Tuesday was an attempt by anti-abortion activists to protect the ban from legal challenges in state court.
The failure of the ballot measure indicates that there are limits to anti-abortion politics even in conservative states. Kentucky has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.
-- Spencer Kimball
Stocks fall with control of Congress still undecided
Stocks were broadly lower on Wednesday as investors kept an eye on key political races that remain undecided.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 320 points, or nearly 1%. The S&P 500 dropped by about 0.9%.
Wall Street was expecting Republican gains in the midterms to lead to a divided government. Many investors consider a split in Washington, D.C., to be beneficial for stocks because that situation limits potential regulatory or tax changes.
The major market averages have risen for three-straight days, so Wednesday's declines could be in part due to the uncertainty about Congress leading traders to hedge their bets.
To be sure, there are non-political factors also weighing on stocks. Disney's 12% decline after an earnings miss is particularly damaging to the Dow.
— Jesse Pound
Biden to speak from the White House at 4 p.m. on the midterm elections
President Joe Biden plans to discuss the midterm results at the White House at 4 p.m. ET today in what will likely be a bit of a victory lap for Democrats, who held on to far more seats in the House and Senate than expected.
"Democracy doesn't happen by accident. We have to defend, strengthen, and renew it," Biden wrote in a tweet following the schedule change. "I'll have more to say this afternoon, but thanks to the poll workers and officials that worked into the night to safeguard our sacred right to vote. And the millions who made their voices heard."
Biden will speak from the State Dining Room and take questions following his remarks.
— Emma Kinery
Pivotal Georgia Senate race between Warnock and Walker headed to a runoff
The hotly contested Georgia Senate race will head to a runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican former NFL player Herschel Walker, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.
Since neither candidate will garner the 50% of the vote needed to clinch the seat outright under state rules, he said the two Senate hopefuls will head to a Dec. 6 runoff.
"Right now we have less than 20,000 total votes still out to be counted. That's not enough to change the race. So this is headed for a runoff," Raffensperger said on "The Brian Kilmeade Show."
The Georgia race, one of the most competitive in the country, could help determine control of the Senate, along with remaining races in Arizona and Nevada. Republicans need to win two of those contests, against Democratic incumbents, to win a majority in the Senate.
The presence of Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, a 37-year-old Atlanta businessman, helped to deny Warnock and Walker the majority they needed to win outright. With 96% of the vote counted Wednesday morning, Warnock had won 49.2% of the vote to Walker's 48.7%, according to NBC News. Oliver garnered about 2.1% of the vote.
— Christina Wilkie
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson projected to win in Wisconsin against Mandela Barnes
Incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is projected by NBC News to defeat his Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes.
Johnson had 50.5% of the votes, while Barnes, the state's lieutenant governor, had 49.3%, with 94% of the ballots counted.
Three other states have yet to determine the winners of the elections for U.S. Senate: Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. In all three of those races, Democrats are incumbents.
Republicans need to win two of the outstanding seats to get majority control of the Senate in 2023. Pennsylvania's open Senate seat, which is currently held by a Republican, was won by a Democrat.. GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz conceded his loss to Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman earlier Wednesday morning.
Before Johnson's victory was projected, he said in a statement that he had clinched the race.
"Truth has prevailed over lies and the politics of personal destruction," Johnson said.
"I want to thank my family and everyone who supported me and worked so hard to save this U.S. Senate seat," he said. "I will do everything I can to help make things better for Wisconsinites and to heal and unify our country."
— Dan Mangan
Here's when Senate election results in key states could get decided
Control of the U.S. Senate in 2023 could take days, and maybe weeks, to resolve, as votes are still being counted in three states.
Because Democrat John Fetterman flipped the GOP-held Pennsylvania Senate seat, Republicans need to win two of the races for the Democratic-held seats in Arizona, Georgia or Nevada to win Senate control.
Democrats need to prevail in two of those three races to hold their majority.
Georgia could be headed to a run-off election on Dec. 6 if no Senate candidate cracks 50% of the vote in coming days.
With 96% of the votes counted in Georgia as of this morning, incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock had 49.2% of the vote, with his Republican challenger Herschel Walker holding 48.7%. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver had 2.1% of the vote.
In Arizona, a much smaller percentage of the votes were in, which means it could take several days more to resolve the race between Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Blake Masters. Kelly had 51.9% of the vote, and Masters had 45.9%.
But just 67% of the ballots had been tabulated in Arizona, where many voters submitted ballots early, before Election Day.
Ballots that were submitted at polling places on Tuesday will take days to have their signatures verified and counted.
In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt had 49.9% of the vote, compared with the 47.2% of the vote held by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent Democrat.
But just 80% of the vote in the state was in.
And because most of the ballots will be mail-in votes, which have four days to arrive if they are postmarked by Election Day, it could take several days, if not more, to get a final result.
— Dan Mangan
Dr. Oz concedes Pennsylvania Senate race to John Fetterman
Dr. Mehmet Oz called John Fetterman to concede he lost the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania, and later issued a statement urging "everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done."
The call by the Republican Oz came hours after NBC projected Fetterman, the Democratic lieutenant governor, as the winner in the Keystone state.
With 94% of the votes in, Fetterman had 50.3% of the vote, while Oz had 47.2%.
Fetterman's victory was a major one for Democrats — who are battling to retain their razor-thin majority in the Senate — because the seat is currently held by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican.
In his statement, Oz said, "This morning I called John Fetterman and congratulated him. I wish him and his family all the best, both personally and as our next United States Senator. Campaigning throughout our great Commonwealth was the honor of a lifetime, and I will cherish the memories and the people I met."
"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.
"With bold leadership that brings people together, we can create real change. As a Doctor, I always do my best to help others heal. That's why I ran for Senate. I hope we begin the healing process as a nation soon."
— Dan Mangan
Some of Trump's favorite candidates disappoint on Election Day
But as returns began to come in Tuesday evening, the Republican rout driven by Trump's chosen candidates never materialized.
In one of the country's most high-profile races, Trump's handpicked Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehmet Oz, lost to Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, according to NBC News. The result cost the GOP a Senate seat.
In Michigan, Trump-endorsed Republican Tudor Dixon lost a gubernatorial race, while 2020 election denier Kristina Karamo lost her Trump-backed bid for secretary of state, NBC projected.
In Arizona, Kari Lake, a former newscaster turned gubernatorial candidate who is one of Trump's most high-profile picks, trailed Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs in a race that NBC considered too early to call. Trump-endorsed Senate hopeful Blake Masters, who is challenging Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, also lagged in a race that NBC said was too early to call.
— Christina Wilkie
Michigan, California and Vermont make abortion a state constitutional right
Voters in Michigan, California and Vermont have amended their state constitutions to protect abortion as a right, NBC News projects.
Michigan will become a crucial safe haven for reproductive rights in the Midwest, a region where abortion access is shrinking as states such as Indiana and Ohio have passed very restrictive laws.
Although abortion was never under threat in liberal California and Vermont, the state constitutional amendments will protect access for future generations.
In conservative Kentucky, voters were asked whether the state constitution should be amended to say that it does not protect abortion as a right.
The votes are still being counted and NBC News has not made a call yet. So far, however, 51.4% of Kentuckians have voted against the anti-abortion measure while 48.6% have voted in favor with 82% of the vote in.
— Spencer Kimball
Republicans didn't see a 'red wave' as control of both chambers of Congress remains up for grabs
Ballots are still being tabulated from Tuesday's midterm elections leaving which party controls either chamber of Congress uncertain, but one thing is clear: The Republican "red wave" did not materialize.
Venture capitalist J.D. Vance scored an early win for Republicans, retaining Ohio's vacated U.S. Senate seat for the GOP by beating U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan. But Democrats saw critical wins in Pennsylvania where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman flipped a U.S. Senate seat blue by defeating TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz. Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general, Josh Shapiro, won the governorship, beating state Sen. Doug Mastriano who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Unlike the 2020 election, Pennsylvania was not among the last to be called, but several other critical races remain undetermined Wednesday morning. Senate races in Nevada and Arizona are still too close to call, with Georgia's U.S. Senate race looking likely to go into a December runoff. Neither party has claimed control of the U.S. House with several seats left uncalled. Republicans are still more likely to take control of the House majority, but it won't be with the margins they had hoped.
"Definitely not a Republican wave, that is for darn sure," said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on NBC News on Tuesday evening. "A wave would have been, like, (winning) New Hampshire and Colorado."
— Emma Kinery