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Bolling: Preliminary Thoughts on 2022 Midterm Elections

With many U.S. Senate and House races still too close to call, I will refrain from commenting on the overall impact of yesterday’s midterm elections, but I would offer the following preliminary observations:

BIGGEST LOSER: Donald Trump. Hands down! Trump-backed candidates for the U.S. Senate were defeated everywhere they ran. These candiates cost the GOP heavily in states like PA, GA, AZ, NH, and more. It’s time to be honest. Donald Trump is an albatross around the neck of the Republican Party. If the party wants to win in 2024 and beyond, it needs to turn the page on Trump and move on. He is a liability, not an asset.

BIGGEST WINNER: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis easily won reelection in a longstanding swing state and did it impressively by winning in heavy Democratic areas like Miami/Dade County. DeSantis may well emerge from this election as the far-right alternative to Trump. While other Republicans will likely be in the mix in 2024, DeSantis moves to the head of the pack based on his strong showing in 2022.

ANOTHER BIG WINNER: Rep. Abigail Spanberger. Spanberger survived the “red ripple” and won in her newly-drawn 7th District, which is in critical Northern Virginia. By doing so, she emerges as a leader in Virginia’s Democratic Party, which frankly, is otherwise void of leadership. If Spanberger has any interest in serving at the state level, Democrats should start talking to her about running for Governor in 2023. She would be a formidable candidate in a race that may feature subpar Republican candidates.

I will have more comments on the 2022 midterm elections once the final votes are counted and we have a chance to look at the exit polling data that may give us a feel for what issues were driving voter choices.