Here are 5 of the GOP’s biggest 2022 midterms disappointments

Here are 5 of the GOP’s biggest 2022 midterms disappointments

When Tuesday, November 8 arrived, the Republican National Committee (RNC) was hoping for a massive red wave like the ones that the GOP enjoyed in 1994 during Bill Clinton’s presidency and in 2010 during Barack Obama’s presidency. But that red tsunami didn’t materialize. As of Wednesday morning, November 9, control of Congress was still up in the air — and votes were still being counted in nail-biting U.S. Senate races in Nevada, Wisconsin and Georgia. Yet while the 2022 midterms weren’t the “blue tsunami” for Democrats that liberal/progressive activist and filmmaker Michael Moore was predicting, Republicans suffered their share of disappointments on Election Night — and they suffered them in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The worst humiliation for Democrats came in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis ran as a far-right MAGA culture warrior and defeated Democratic nominee Charlie Crist by around 19 percent. MSNBC’s Joy Reid has been arguing that Florida should no longer be considered a swing state — it has become a full-fledged red state — and the 2022 midterms were incredibly discouraging for Democrats in the Sunshine State. Yet in other parts of the U.S., they are breathing sighs of relief.

Here are five of the GOP’s biggest 2022 midterms disappointments.

READ MORE: The Republican 'red wave' evaporates as Democrats shatter midterm expectations and precedents

1. John Fetterman defeats Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, which former President Donald Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020, is the ultimate swing state. Democratic strategist James Carville was not exaggerating when, in the late 1980s, he characterized the Keystone State as Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between; Pennsylvania really is that complex politically. But on Election Night 2022, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman narrowly defeated his Republican opponent, the Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz, in Pennsylvania’s nail-biting U.S. Senate race — and Democrats flipped the seat presently held by arch-conservative Sen. Pat Toomey, who decided not to seek reelection.

Pre-Toomey, that seat was held for many years by the late Sen. Arlen Specter, who became a Democrat near the end of his life but spent most of his political career as a moderate Republican. In 2023, however, a Senate seat that has been mostly in Republican hands for decades will be occupied by liberal Democrat Fetterman.

2. Doug Mastriano loses badly in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has had some popular Republican governors in the past. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now a Never Trumper, was a pro-choice conservative Republican who enjoyed strong numbers in GOP-friendly Central Pennsylvania as well as in the Philadelphia suburbs. But Pennsylvania Republicans clearly weren’t taking the Tom Ridge approach when, in 2022, they nominated State Sen. Doug Mastriano for governor. Mastriano ran as a far-right MAGA conspiracy theorist, QAnon ally, election denier and Christian nationalist, and his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, defeated him by 13 percent. Shapiro’s attack ads slammed Mastriano as a dangerous, unhinged extremist, and they worked; the centrist Democrat will be Pennsylvania’s next governor.

READ MORE: 'Stop the voting': Wisconsin man arrested for threatening election workers with a knife

3. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prevails in Michigan

Like Shapiro in Pennsylvania, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slammed her MAGA Republican opponent, Tudor Dixon, as an extremist — emphasizing that Dixon opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest and has promoted the Big Lie, a false and totally debunked claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Whitmer ran a disciplined, very focused campaign, even winning over some conservative Republicans who believed that Dixon was too far to the right. And in the end, Whitmer defeated Dixon by a decisive 8 percent. Some pundits are speculating that Whitmer has what it takes to run for president in the future.

4. Tony Evers defeats MAGA challenger in Wisconsin

During Wisconsin’s 2022 gubernatorial race, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ MAGA Republican challenger, Tim Michels, declared, “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor” — a comment that countless Democrats, including Evers, vigorously attacked him for. Big Lie promoter Michels, critics argued, was saying the quiet part out loud and admitting that as Wisconsin governor, he would be happy to toss out any Democrat-friendly election results that he didn’t like. Michels was slammed by critics as an anti-democracy authoritarian. And when the votes were counted, Evers had defeated Michels by around 2 percent.

5. Jocelyn Benson wins second term as Michigan secretary of state

Whitmer and her Democratic allies, including Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, repeatedly stressed that democracy was on the ballot in their state — and that message clearly resonated with Michigan voters. Benson’s GOP opponent Kristina Karamo, a far-right MAGA conspiracy theorist adored by QAnon supporters, didn’t prevail. On Election Night, Benson declared victory, enjoying roughly a 12 percent lead over Karamo in the vote count and pointing out that an election denier would have been in charge of Michigan’s elections had she won.

Benson told supporters, “In this election, democracy was on the ballot. Our right to vote was on the ballot. And tonight, democracy won here in Michigan.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump wants to imprison a 'significant numbers of reporters' in a second term

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