Zero Senate incumbents lost their seats with Warnock runoff victory

Election 2022 Senate Georgia
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks during an election night watch party, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Atlanta. Sen. Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) John Bazemore/AP

Zero Senate incumbents lost their seats with Warnock runoff victory

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Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) won Georgia’s runoff election Tuesday night, closing out the 2022 midterm cycle with zero losses for Senate incumbents.

The election marks the first time since 1914 that every sitting senator running in the general election is staying in office and the first time since 1934 that every Democratic incumbent in the majority party won reelection. Warnock’s victory over Republican Herschel Walker secures a 51-49 Senate in favor of the Democrats, a difference of one seat from the 50-50 split of the last two years, in which Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote.

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“This is the first time since 1934 where every Democratic incumbent of the party in power won. Why did we win? We had great candidates!” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a Wednesday press conference celebrating Warnock’s win.

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Though incumbents usually have advantages in funding and name recognition, Republicans hoped that high inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings would manifest in them flipping a Senate seat or two. Instead, Democrats gained one in Pennsylvania when Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz in their contest for the seat retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) vacated.

The GOP targeted potentially vulnerable Senate seats in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia but didn’t succeed in ousting Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), or Warnock. In total, Democrats successfully defended all 15 of their Senate seats that were up for election, while Republicans won 20 elections but lost Pennsylvania.

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The last time incumbents saw this level of success was in 1914, which was the first election after the ratification of the 17th Amendment, which changed senatorial elections so that they would be based on the popular vote rather than election by state legislatures. This year differs from 1914 in that, 108 years ago, two senators lost their primaries, while this year, all advanced to the general elections.

Republicans succeeded in taking back the House, where the GOP will have a 222-seat majority to the Democrats’ 213.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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