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Colorado and North Carolina Offer Hope That There Won’t Be a “Red Wave” This Election

The so-called "red wave" might not really be a wave at all.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Tonight might not be a blowout after all.

At about 9:35 p.m. ET, or a little more than half an hour after the Colorado polls closed, NBC projected incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet the winner over GOP challenger Joe O’Dea. That was a pretty fast call for a race that in September and October was labeled as one where a seemingly safe Democratic incumbent might be in trouble.

In other words, Bennet was exactly the kind of Democratic who would have tumbled in a major red wave. But the fact that he not only held on but is apparently winning pretty comfortably is a sign of hope.

Item two: About 10 minutes later, NBC shifted the North Carolina Senate race from “too early to call” to “too close to call.” “Too early” means, “Well, we can’t say it yet, but we all really know what’s going to happen”—in this case, that Republican Ted Budd was going to beat Democrat Cheri Beasley. I remember, still, the shudder of involuntary horror that consumed by body on Election Night 2016, at (I think) exactly 8:32 p.m., when NBC shifted that same North Carolina from “too early” (meaning, then, that Hillary Clinton was going to win, but they just couldn’t say yet) to “too close,” which meant that Donald Trump was going to win. And if he was going to win North Carolina, that meant he was going to win period. I still have nightmares.

But tonight, the shift to “too close” appears to bode well for Beasley. Maybe not to the extent that she wins, which would of course be great; but at least to the extent that she’s outperforming late polls, which tells us something interesting.

Things can still change. But right now, around 10 p.m. Eastern time? It’s not yet a red wave kind of night.

We Won’t Get Immediate Election Results in Nevada, Georgia, or Arizona

Three battleground states will take longer to count their votes—and then come the conspiracy theorists.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Add Nevada to the list of states where the results of top ticket races may not be called tonight. That’s according to Jon Ralston, the indispensable Nevada journalist.

Ralston tweeted Tuesday evening that mail-in ballots dropped off in Clark County, the biggest county in the state, won’t fully be counted tonight and may not be until Thursday.

It was highly unlikely that control of the Senate would be decided Tuesday night. Georgia’s Senate race was expected to go to a run-off between incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker..

But as election results came in Tuesday night, political strategists and candidates began to caution that election results will also not be immediately clear in Nevada and Arizona. Arizona counts ballots slowly, a Democratic official cautioned. There was also a problem with tabulating machines in Arizona’s Maricopa County, raising the possibility that a winner in the Senate race or governor’s race would not be announced Tuesday.

That three battleground states will likely have undecided Senate and gubernatorial races on Tuesday means that there will be inevitable lawsuits and scrutiny over counting the remaining ballots. And unfortunately, the conspiracy theorists will abound as well.

With Sweeping DeSantis and Rubio Wins, Florida Was a Bloodbath for the Democrats

The Florida Democratic Party is a total and utter disaster.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The instant the polls closed in Florida, the calls were made: Ron DeSantis, projected winner in the governor’s race; Marco Rubio, projected winner in the Senate race. Neither was a surprise, but the Senate race was a bit of a disappointment, because Democrats thought they had a good candidate in Represenative Val Demings, and months ago, the polls were pretty close.

On MSNBC, Alex Wagner, Carlos Curbelo, and David Plouffe remarked on what a train wreck the situation was for the Democrats in Miami-Dade, where the swing from Democrat to Republican was on the order of 20 points, maybe more. Could that be real?

Apparently, yes. Under state party chairman Manny Diaz, the Florida Democratic Party has just vaporized. Politico reported back on October 28 that there were “already plenty of signs that Nov. 8 is going to be a rough night for Florida Democrats.”

Diaz got in the middle of some local races between Democrats, and one intra-party critic, Tom Kennedy, charged that “the party was ‘non-existent’ on Spanish-language media and Democrats are getting ‘eaten up’ in early voting.”

How does a major party—in south Florida—become “non-existent” on Spanish-language media? And how does the national party let that go on?

This is a collapse that’s beyond epic. If the state Democratic Party can ever come back from this, it’ll take a decade. And until it does happen, Democratic presidential candidates can kiss 29 electoral votes goodbye.

TNR Hits the Polls as Georgians Turn Out to Vote

Here's what it looked like in a key state this election.

Megan Varner/Getty Images

Compared to the long lines voters experienced when casting their ballots during the state’s early voting period, voting on Election Day in Georgia appeared to run smoothly—with few notable exceptions. In Fulton County, which encompasses Atlanta, many voters went in and out of polling locations at a brisk pace.

A poll worker at Park Tavern, which had notoriously long lines in the 2020 election, told me that this Election Day had not seen any significant delays. As the surrounding streets clogged with rush hour traffic, a growing number of voters ducked into the polling place after leaving work.

Ashley Adams, an attorney who volunteers with the Election Protection coalition to assist voters with any issues or concerns they may have regarding voting, told me that she had not received many inquiries from voters with questions about casting their ballot. The steady stream of voters, she said, was due to the “pressure” people were feeling to turn out.

“I think that there’s a bit of election fatigue,” Adams said. She predicted that many voters were hoping no race would go to a runoff—a possibility if candidates in the gubernatorial or Senate races do not obtain a majority of the vote.

It’s a case candidates are making as well. As GOP Governor Brian Kemp told supporters at a rally on Monday evening, if he wins outright, “Y’all won’t be getting mailers and phone calls and watching commercials during Thanksgiving.” “It’s going to be great,” he promised.

Maxwell Frost Wins, Becomes First Gen Z and Afro-Cuban Member of Congress

The 25-year-old from Florida is now the youngest member of Congress.

Thomas Simonetti for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost has defeated Republican Calvin Wimbish and won the race for Florida’s 10th congressional district, projects the Associated Press.

Frost leads Wimbish 58.8 percent to 39.7 percent, with 98 percent reporting.

Frost’s victory was not unexpected in the district, but his election still marks history. The newly-elected congressman will be the first Gen Z and first Afro-Cuban member of Congress.

A former campaign staffer first for Bernie Sanders and then Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, Frost has been involved in politics for years. In 2018, Frost organized with the ACLU to lobby voters to support a successful Florida ballot initiative that restored voting rights to felons. Thereafter, Frost served as a national organizing director for gun violence prevention organization March For Our Lives, spurred into action after the tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people and injured another 17.

Frost, a part-time Uber driver, put forth an unapologetically progressive platform. Some of his focus was on big-ticket items including Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, and banning assault weapons. Frost also put out targeted proposals including the Homes for All Act, which would direct the construction of 12 million new affordable housing units, and putting an end to a rule that gives 80 percent of transportation funding to highways and only 20 percent to transit.

While age could have been an inhibitor, the 25-year-old, buoyed by nationwide progressive support, overcame the Democratic establishment. Filling in the seat formerly held by Congresswoman Val Demings, Frost emerged from a crowded primary field of nine other candidates including former Florida representatives Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown, and state Senator Randolph Bracy.

Frost enjoyed support from members of congress including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Jamie Raskin, and figures such as Reverend Jesse Jackson and gun violence activist Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting.

This piece has been updated.

Becca Balint Will Be Vermont’s First Woman and Openly Gay Representative in Congress

The Democrat has spoken out about her concerns for LGBTQ youth, who have been targeted by state legislatures across the country.

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrat Becca Balint has defeated Republican Liam Madden and won the Vermont at-large congressional race.

Balint’s victory was not unexpected in blue Vermont, but her election still marks history. The newly-elected representative will be the first woman and first openly gay person Vermont sends to Congress.

The seasoned legislator was widely seen as the progressive candidate throughout the primary and election season. Balint has served in Vermont’s state Senate since 2015, and was the first lesbian elected to the chamber. In 2017, she was selected as majority leader of the Democratic caucus, before becoming the first woman to serve as president pro tempore in 2021.

Balint’s campaign focused not only on her time in the state legislature, but on how her personal background has guided her worldviews.

Embroiled in depression as she first came out, Balint sought a therapist who would accept her sexual orientation. “It absolutely saved my life,” she said, “and if it had been handled differently, I honestly don’t know if I would be here.” Years later, she finally told her parents, who offered to take her to a therapist to “fix” her—an offer she refused.

Now, as an elected official, Balint has joined efforts in the state legislature to support transgender youth seeking medical care, and to prohibit conversion therapy.

Balint was born in a U.S. Army hospital in Germany, where her Hungarian Jewish father was stationed at the time. His father, Balint’s grandfather, was killed during the Holocaust, Balint wrote in a personal blog, when he fell behind on a forced march after trying to help another ailing prisoner.

“One ongoing toll of the Holocaust and indeed of all totalitarian regimes…is that we start to doubt our neighbors’ basic humanity. We come to believe it’s safer to keep them at a distance because people can sometimes be so horribly callous,” Balint wrote. “This is the family story I am trying to change. I believe strong neighbors make strong democracy.”

Trump: Thank Me If Republicans Win, Don’t Blame Me If They Lose!

The figurehead of the GOP pretends he’s not the figurehead of the GOP when it comes to the election.

Donald Trump smiles to his right (off camera) and makes a victory fist

In an interview Tuesday evening, former President Donald Trump said that if Republicans he endorsed do well, he should “get all the credit”—but if those candidates lose, he “should not be blamed at all.”

The serial fraudster and inciter-of-riots complained that he always seems to be the one who takes the heat if things go awry for Republicans. “Usually what would happen is when they do well I won’t be given any credit, and if they do badly they will blame everything on me.”

Though Trump may complain, he has still enjoyed playing kingmaker for the party, inviting candidates across the country to beg his favor. “In many cases I told people to run, and they ran and they turned out to be very good candidates,” Trump said.

If Republicans do suffer losses this election, Trump does deserve some of the blame. On Monday, he declared he may announce his 2024 bid for president as soon as November 15.

He is self-obsessed enough to flirt with a presidential announcement in the lead-up to a midterm election that is already meant to be a slam dunk for Republicans. He’s spending time at candidate rallies testing new nicknames for possible primary opponents, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. All that only serves to remind midterm voters why they voted him out of office just two years ago.

Election Deniers Are Outraged by Arizona’s Voting Machine Issues, Even Though People Can Still Vote

There are issues with some tabulators in Arizona's Maricopa County, but in reality, people can still cast their vote.

 Kari Lake speaks at a campaign rally. She holds a mic in her left hand and is pointing the index finger on her right.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Conspiracy theories of election rigging are already swirling Tuesday after some Arizona polling stations reported issues with their vote-counting machines.

About 20 percent of polling stations in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, were experiencing problems with their tabulator machines, according to election officials. The ballot would not run through the tabulator, but officials were prepared for such a scenario.

The Maricopa County Elections Board explained on its official Twitter account that people could still vote by dropping their ballots in a lockbox attached to the machines or by going to another one of the 223 voting stations.

But right-wing figures seized on the report anyway, accusing the state government of trying to rig the election in favor of Democrats.

“Reports are coming in from Arizona that the Voting Machines are not properly working in predominately Republican/Conservative areas,” former President Donald Trump said on TruthSocial. “Here we go again? The people will not stand for it!!”

Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, both extreme-right figures and former advisors to Trump, accused Democrats of trying to steal the election, with Miller complaining about a “third world voting system.”

Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, who is being investigated for her role in the attempted January 6 coup to steal the election, tried to cast doubt on all of the tabulators’ accuracy. “How did all of the machines in Maricopa miraculously work over the last few days when they were ‘tested & certified’ with test votes & test ballots…but now they won’t work for real voters & real ballots?” she tweeted.

Others have accused Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state who is also running for governor, of being behind the issue.

“The problems you are witnessing in Maricopa County are thanks to two people who are on the ballot today: KATIE HOBBS & ADRIAN FONTES,” tweeted Tyler Bowyer, a member of conservative group Turning Point USA, also referring to the Democratic candidate for Arizona secretary of state.

Hobbs’ opponent MAGA Republican opponent Kari Lake, who continues to refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election, has retweeted multiple posts blaming Hobbs for the problems.

Hobbs, of course, does not oversee the technical maintenance of voting machines, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is made up primarily of Republicans.

Arizona is a crucial swing state that, in a major twist, went for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The state has struggled particularly hard with election fraud conspiracies as Trump continues to falsely claim for years that the election was stolen from him.

After the 2020 election, the state’s Republican Party supported a massive recount of the votes that ultimately found no evidence of voter fraud. Ironically, the recount was demanded in part because Trump and other Republicans claimed the electronic voting machines had been hacked.

Right-Wing Media Is Preparing People for a Civil War After Election Day

Outlet after outlet is questioning the possibility of a Democratic victory this midterm election.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson laughing
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Right-wing media is painting a picture of insurgency on Election Day…from the left.

Conservative news outlets and media figures have been priming voters to reject tight Democratic victories—or any outcomes they don’t like—on Tuesday.

“Bottom line: Democrats absolutely cannot lose tomorrow’s elections,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his viewers Monday night. “So with that in mind, they’re already preparing the rest of us for election theft, which if you don’t want a civil war, you shouldn’t complain about.”

Fox News also slammed White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre for saying that it could take a few days to count all the votes cast Tuesday, quoting a conservative think tank fellow as saying, “This is not…how it’s supposed to work.”

In fact, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. A record-high number of people, at least 44 million, voted early. States have different laws on when poll workers can start counting early votes, let alone ones cast on Election Day, meaning results will be released at varying times.

But far-right news outlets are trying to argue that delays will mean Democrats are rigging the outcome.

The Federalist praised so-called “election observers” who have been turning up to ballot boxes and voting stations, ostensibly to make sure there is no voter fraud. The outlet also accused the Department of Justice of deploying federal officials to stop the poll watchers in the government’s “latest election-rigging scheme.”

In reality, the self-appointed watchers, some of whom show up armed, have been accused of voter intimidation. Arizona has filed 18 counts of voter intimidation with the DOJ, and North Carolina has also reported both voter intimidation and interference.

Steve Bannon, a former advisor to Donald Trump, also accused Democrats of trying to steal the election, via mail-in ballots. “We’re going to contest all of this. Only legitimate, certifiable chain-of-custody votes count, OK?” he said.

And despite being the only party with members that continue to lie about the 2020 election results, many right-wingers are also saying the Democrats will not only reject any midterm losses but will also get violent over them.

In addition to Carlson’s cry of civil war, The Federalist warned Democrats will not cede power “peacefully,” and Bannon said the left will get “‘nasty.”

But chillingly, it is not the left that appears to be preparing for violence. Reporter Ben Collins, who covers disinformation and extremism, tweeted that “on extremist pro-Trump forums, they are not talking about voting.”

People in those forums have been discussing preparing firearms for when results come out.

Trump Lawyer Christina Bobb Is Priming Voters to Reject the Election Results

According to Bobb, if we don't get the election results immediately, it's "suspicious."

A laptop computer shows Christian Bobb and the words "Weekly Briefing with Christina Bobb" on OANN.
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing media has started Election Day spreading false claims that Democrats will try and steal midterm outcomes.

The 2022 midterms are highly contentious, as Democrats fight to maintain control of Congress. At least 44 million people voted early, according to a report by the United States Elections Project, a record high.

Christina Bobb, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump (who started the terrifying new trend of rejecting valid election results), said Monday night she expects results no later than Wednesday morning.

There should absolutely be a result no later than the middle of the night, early Wednesday morning,” she told Right Side Broadcasting Network. “I think those areas that don’t have a result, it’s gonna look very suspicious.”

She accused Democrats of creating fraudulent ballots in the 2020 election and of using the Covid-19 pandemic as a cover.

In reality, the pandemic forced states to dramatically expand mail-in voting, creating delays because the paper ballots had to be checked and counted by hand.

Every state has different laws on when poll workers can start counting votes, meaning results will be released at varying times.

Republicans are already trying to seize on those differences to sow doubt about any outcomes they don’t like.

Republican lawmakers have spent the entire run-up to the midterms priming voters to reject tight Democratic victories. Many tried to sow suspicion around the Pennsylvania result, after the state’s acting secretary of the commonwealth said it could take days to count all the votes.

But the thing is, under Pennsylvania state law, poll workers can’t even start counting votes until the morning of Election Day. And as writer James Surowiecki pointed out, the “Republican state legislature will not allow early votes to be counted or even pre-canvassed” before then.

Then right wingers use that legislature-required delay as evidence of something nefarious. It’s ridiculous.”