The Republican red wave swept over Florida and skipped most of the rest of the nation Tuesday, leaving the GOP clinging to hopes of a small majority in the House and control of the Senate in question.
Despite polls that had Republicans hoping to capture as many as 35 seats, as the votes came in, it became clear that voters’ displeasure with President Joe Biden would not translate into any sort of GOP mandate.
“Definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for darn sure,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said as the results came in.
Several key Senate seats Republicans hoped to flip, including in New Hampshire and Washington went to incumbent Democrats. Republican J.D. Vance won a convincing decision over Rep. Tim Ryan, but that was a seat the GOP had to win because it was vacated by retiring Republican Rob Portman.
From red wave to red wedding
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 9, 2022
Republicans hoped to hold Pennsylvania, but early Wednesday, Democrat John Fetterman was projected to win the race by less than 1% with nearly all of the votes in.
The hotly contested Georgia Senate seat had incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger and former NFL great Herschel Walker neck and neck, but both under 50% and headed for a runoff in December.
Aside from a handful of races around the country and the possibility that they would still take a House majority, Republicans had only Florida to celebrate. Governor Ron DeSantis trounced Democrat Charlie Crist by 19 points, winning record margins for a Republican among Latino voters. In addition, Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio easily defeated his well-funded Democrat challenger, Rep. Val Demmings.
The strong performance by DeSantis, in contrast to the lackluster performance of the overall GOP, could increase calls for him to run in 2024. Although DeSantis has been coy about his future plans, supporters at his victory party were heard chanting “two more years,” a reference to the possibility he would cut his term in Tallahassee short to run for the White House.
Former President Trump is expected to announce a 2024 bid in the coming days, and sought on Tuesday to discourage a DeSantis rivalry with a veiled threat to release dirt on his onetime ally. Trump’s popularity with the Republican base is strong, but if Tuesday belonged to any Republican, it was clearly DeSantis.
“Ron DeSantis won his 2018 gubernatorial race by 30,000 votes,” The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro said Tuesday night. “The state of Florida is now entirely red. For Republicans who are thinking about the future, you might want to consider that in determining who you choose to run for president in 2024.”
A final House tally could take days, though Republicans were still expected to eke out a majority, making California Rep. Kevin McCarthy in line to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans have pledged to stop the Biden agenda, but may not have the Senate to help.
“The RED WAVE did not happen,” tweeted Rep. Mayra Flores, R-TX, who lost the seat she won earlier this year in a special election. “Republicans and Independents stayed home. DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS IF YOU DID NOT DO YOUR PART!”