Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held on to his seat, even though Beto O’Rourke showed promise as a worthy challenger. Cruz said the O’Rourke campaign was an “unprecedented assault” and railed against “Hollywood money” infiltrating the campaign.
His opponent took a more inclusive tract.
“We’re not going to define ourselves by who or what we are against, or afraid of, or scared of. We are a great people, ambitious, defined by our aspirations, the hard work that we are willing to commit in order to achieve them. Every single one of us - Republicans, Democrats, Independents - from the biggest of cities, to the smallest of towns, the people of Texas want to do, and will do, the great work of this country.”
In the Senate, some predictable results have already played out. Stalwart liberal incumbents such as Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Tim Kaine, D-VA, Sherrod Brown, D-OH, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Chris Murphy, D-CT, Ben Cardin, D-MD, Bob Casey, D-PA, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, have been projected to win re-election by the Associated Press.
Bob Menendez in New Jersey also held on in a tough re-election campaign.
Incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin, also considered vulnerable in conservative West Virginia, managed to win his re-election bid.
Strong Republican challenges to Democratic incumbents in Indiana and Florida were being closely watched.
The Mississippi special Senate race between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith will go to a runoff on Nov. 27 after no candidate got 50-percent of the vote. Hyde-Smith was appointed to her Senate seat to replace incumbent Thad Cochran after he retired in April.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also held onto their seats.
Republican Marsha Blackburn became the state’s first female senator by defeating former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, won a Utah Senate seat on the Republican ticket.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, who has made headlines for her opposition to Trump, won re-election in her state’s 43rd Congressional District, according to the AP. Waters was one of several prominent politicians who were targeted by mail bombs in late October.
Democrat Kendra Horn won Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District – in what the statistics website FiveThirtyEight said was the biggest upset of the election.
In Kentucky’s 6th District, Republican incumbent Andy Barr held off a fierce challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath in a big win for the GOP. Republicans also held Ross Spano’s seat in Florida’s 15th District.
Democrats, seeking to flip 21 seats to take the House, scored in Virginia, where Democrat Jennifer Wexton upset incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in the 10th District, a district that was Republican for decades. And Donna Shalala (in Florida’s 27th District) also flipped a seat that had belonged to outgoing Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim Congresswoman after her unopposed victory in Minnesota’s 5th District. Rashida Tlaib, another Muslim woman, won in the 13th District.
Democrat Jahana Hayes won the House race in Connecticut’s 5th District to become the first black woman to represent the state in Congress.
In New Mexico and Kansas, Democrats Deb Haarland and Sharice Davids will become the first two Native American women in Congress.
Twenty-nine-year-old Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, representing New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Republican Steve Scalise, who was shot when a gunman targeting conservatives opened fire on a practice for the Congressional baseball game last year, becoming a symbol of the country’s sometimes violent divides, was re-elected in Louisiana’s 1st District.
Steve King, the Republican incumbent for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, also won re-election.
Kansas elected Democrat state Sen. Laura Kelly as governor over incumbent Kris Kobach. Known for writing laws for states that took a hardline on immigration, Kobach rose from secretary of state to governor.
As secretary of state, Kobach also implemented strict guidelines for voter ID laws. Kobach also worked with the Trump administration on a possible a Muslim registry.
Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum in a race that was neck-and-neck to the end.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won the Michigan gubernatorial race, ending Republicans’ eight-year hold over the state governor’s office.
Observers anxiously awaited returns in Georgia, where Democrats pinned their hopes on Stacey Abrams against Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a contentious race.
A number of Republican incumbents, including Bill Lee in Tennessee, Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas, Greg Abbott in Texas and Charlie Baker in Massachusetts were predicted to cruise to re-election.
Democrat Andrew Cuomo won re-election without difficulty in New York.
In Florida, voters approved an amendment that will restore voting rights to most felons when they complete their sentences. Those convicted of sex offenses and murder are exempt from the amendment.
Previously, felons had to wait at least five years after their sentence was fulfilled before they could request their voting rights restored. About 1.5 million people are affected by the new law.
Voters in Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma approved Marsy’s Law, which advocated for victims' rights. The well-funded initiative is also on the ballot in Kentucky, Nevada and North Carolina.
Marsy's Law would ensure the victim of crimes be told about criminal proceedings, and to be present and heard at those proceedings.
Here are some of the other noteworthy issues being voted on in ballot measures around the country:
- Voters supported an amendment to Alabama’s state Constitution that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments on state, public and school grounds by a wide margin. More than 7 out of 10 voters backed the measure, according to WBRC. National organizations that advocate for separation of church and state are already promising legal challenges.
- Idaho Proposition 2, Montana Initiative 185, Nebraska Initiative 427, Utah Proposition 3: All would, if approved, expand Medicaid eligibility.
- Alabama Amendment 2, West Virginia Amendment 1: Both are largely symbolic rejections of abortion. Alabama’s measure, if approved, would “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life,” and West Virginia’s notes that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.”
- Michigan Proposal 1, Missouri Amendment 2/Amendment 3/Proposition C, North Dakota Measure 3, Utah Proposition 2: Marijuana laws on the ballot in these four states. Utah and Missouri’s three competing measures would legalize medical marijuana (Missouri has three for different rates of taxation); Michigan and North Dakota would legalize recreational use.
- Arkansas Issue 5, Missouri Proposition B: Would increase minimum wage (to $11 an hour by 2021 in Arkansas, and $12 an hour by 2023 in Missouri).
- Washington Initiative 1639: A gun control measure that would “implement restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms including raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, background checks, waiting periods, and storage requirements.”
- Massachusetts Question 3: If approved, would keep in place a state law that “adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort, or amusement.”
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