Nov. 7, 2022 US midterms coverage

By Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Nouran Salahieh and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 6:07 AM ET, Tue November 8, 2022
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12:51 p.m. ET, November 7, 2022

More than 41 million pre-election ballots have been cast 

From CNN's Ethan Cohen

Voters fill out ballots in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Voters fill out ballots in Pittsburgh on Thursday. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

More than 41 million pre-election ballots have been cast across 47 states, according to data from elections officials, Edison Research and Catalist.

Pre-election voting has been ahead of the 2018 pace across the states where data is available from for the last three cycles. However, it’s still too early to know if overall turnout will reach 2018 levels, as voting patterns may have changed in the last few years. 

Texas still has had the most pre-election votes, with more than 5.4 million ballots cast. Florida has had more than 4.7 million ballots cast and California has more than 4.1 million. Georgia, with more than 2.5 million ballots cast, and North Carolina, with more than 2.1 million, are the only other states with more than 2 million ballots cast so far. 

Some voter data comes from Catalist, a company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and nonprofit issue-advocacy organizations and is giving insights into who is voting before November.

11:22 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

Voters should look at Biden's progress on jobs, climate and gun reform, White House official says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President Joe Biden waves as he heads to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday.
President Joe Biden waves as he heads to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield touted Joe Biden's accomplishments during his presidency, saying voters have to choose between the progress made by Democrats on gun reform, climate change and drug price or the vision that the Republicans offer. Notably, she did not mention election denialism among Republican candidates or the threat to Democracy that Democrats have campaigned on through this election cycle.

"Elections are a choice," she told CNN Monday. "What the President has done has gone out and made the case that what Republicans have put forward is a vision that will provide tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations. It will make prescription drug costs go up again. It will take away your right to privacy, your right to choose. And it will reverse the progress that we've made on things like meaningful gun reform legislation, which the President was able to work with Congress to get done."

"Americans have a choice between continuing to take the country forward or taking the country backward, which frankly is what the Republican agenda will do," she added.

Bedingfield acknowledged that historically, a president's first midterm election "could be challenging," but asserted that Biden has made progress on manufacturing jobs, the cost of prescription drugs, energy bills and tackling climate change.

"If you're wondering what the President is going to do moving forward, look at what he's accomplished so far. You could see his priorities is working families, creating jobs and giving them breathing room," she said.

Watch Kate Bedingfield's full interview on CNN here:

10:52 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

New Hampshire's key Senate race will be an early indicator for both parties on Tuesday night

From CNN's Dan Merica

US Sen. Maggie Hassan and her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc
US Sen. Maggie Hassan and her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc (Getty Images)

As votes roll in on Tuesday night, operatives from both parties will be looking toward the results of the tight New Hampshire Senate race to gauge how the rest of the night may look for them.

When Don Bolduc unexpectedly won the state’s late primary in September, Republicans were dour about their chances of unseating Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, given the Republican candidate has struggled to raise money and took several far-right positions in the primary that they believed would hurt him in the general.

Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general, has proven resilient, however, aided by over $30 million in outside ad spending since Labor Day, putting him within striking distance of Hassan and worrying Democrats in the state.

That tightness has operatives from both parties eying New Hampshire as a forerunner for how the rest of the night may go. 

"The bellwether is New Hampshire," said Chris Hartline, spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "If it becomes pretty clear by 9 or 10 o’clock that we are going to win New Hampshire," Hartline said, then the GOP “almost definitely” would carry other key Senate contests including Pennsylvania and Georgia, setting the party up to retake the majority.

A Democratic operative in New Hampshire acknowledged that even while the Hassan campaign “feel good” about her chance of winning reelection on Tuesday, “it is going to be a close race.” But the operative also echoed Hartline, arguing the state will provide a guidepost for how the night will be for each party.

“It will be pretty clear how things are going. Early on Tuesday night, you will start to get a sense,” said the operative. “If we are winning by a lot or if it is closer, that will be a measure.”

10:13 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

The future of American elections could depend on these secretary of state races

From CNN's Fredreka Schouten

In Georgia, Democrat Bee Nguyen is running against Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In Georgia, Democrat Bee Nguyen is running against Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. (CNN/Reuters)

Secretary of state contests — typically low-profile races that determine who helps administer elections in a state – have drawn national attention and millions of dollars in political spending this year as several Republican nominees who doubt the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election pursue the jobs.

In all, voters in 27 states will choose secretaries of state in the midterms. Fourteen of those seats currently are held by Republicans and 13 by Democrats.

But the presence of election deniers on general election ballots in key battlegrounds has set off alarms for voting rights advocates because of the pivotal role these offices will play in affirming the outcome of future elections, including a potential 2024 rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

And Trump, who attempted to pressure public officials to set aside the will of voters after he lost the presidency, has championed their candidacies.

“Even one being elected would be terrifying enough in a swing state,” said Nick Penniman, the founder and CEO of Issue One, a nonprofit group tracking these races. “We know that elections in America come down to 300,000 votes stretched across five or six swing states, so every vote counts.”

Here’s a look at some key 2022 secretary of state races:

Arizona: In Arizona – where election conspiracy theories have flourished ever since Biden won this traditionally red state by fewer than 11,000 votes two years ago – Republican voters picked state Rep. Mark Finchem as their standard-bearer. Finchem, who has described himself as a member of the far-right Oath Keeper’s group, scored Trump’s endorsement back in September 2021. The GOP lawmaker has lobbied to toss out the results of the 2020 election in some of the state’s largest counties – including Maricopa, home to Phoenix, where a widely derided review of ballots ordered by Republicans in the state Senate still concluded that Biden had won more votes than Trump did.

Georgia: The Georgia contest features one of the country’s best-known election chiefs – Republican Brad Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s request to “find” the votes needed to overturn his loss in the Peach State. (That campaign by Trump and his allies is the subject of a special grand jury investigation in Fulton County, Georgia.)

Michigan: The race pits the incumbent, Democrat Jocelyn Benson – a leading national voice countering election denial – against Republican Kristina Karamo, who has made false claims about the 2020 election and who was behind the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Karamo, a community college professor who secured an endorsement from Trump last year, has said he won the election, and she signed on to an unsuccessful Supreme Court lawsuit that challenged Biden’s victory in four states.

Read about other key secretary of state races here.

9:34 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

Why the Pennsylvania Senate race is key for both parties 

From CNN's Dan Merica

Democrat John Fetterman, left, and Republican Mehmet Oz are facing off for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
Democrat John Fetterman, left, and Republican Mehmet Oz are facing off for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania. (Reuters)

No Senate race in the country has received as much money and attention as the hotly contested and at-times divisive contest between Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.

And with over one million ballots already cast and Election Day just hours away, the reason is clear: Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's retirement in a state President Joe Biden won two years ago has created Democrats' best opportunity to pick up a seat and save their narrow majority. For Republicans, holding the seat is key to toppling that majority.

"This is a must-win race," said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, the preeminent Republican Senate super PAC that has blanketed the state with tens of millions in ads attacking Fetterman. "We believe if we win Pennsylvania, we win the majority."

With even upbeat Democrats conceding the party is unlikely to keep control of the House on Tuesday, Senate control is arguably the most closely watched battle on Election Day. Republicans only need a net gain of one seat. Democrats are focused on protecting incumbents in Nevada, Arizona, New Hampshire and Georgia and possibly flipping seats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Ohio.

But it is the race in Pennsylvania that both parties view as critical. From Labor Day through Election Day, nearly $160 million will be spent on ads by both parties, more than any other Senate race, according to ad tracker AdImpact.

"The bottom line is if Democrats are able to flip a current Republican-held seat, there is likely no path for the Republicans to get to 51 votes in the Senate," said Mike Mikus, a Democratic operative based in Western Pennsylvania. "It gives the Democrats some breathing room because if one of the incumbents goes down, this is the buffer. And the inverse is true. If for some reason we can't win here, it is going to be a bad night in multiple states."

That importance was clear as Oz and Fetterman crisscrossed the commonwealth in the final week of campaigning, trying to appeal to last-minute voters and urging people who have long decided who they're voting for to now get their friends and family to the polls.

"It's a jump ball," Fetterman said bluntly on Sunday in Harrisburg. "On Tuesday, it's going to come down to every single vote."

"I have one job. ... Win this race. You are the key," Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the head of the Republican committee tasked with taking control of the Senate, said introducing Oz on Thursday. "You want a majority in the Senate? Yes. It comes right through Pennsylvania."

CNN’s Kit Maher contributed to this report.

9:16 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

Here's how to watch election night like a pro

From CNN staff

The first statewide polls will close Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET, and there may be some early clues about how things could unfold.

CNN political director David Chalian breaks down what to watch for as polls begin to close:

9:06 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

"When people are saying they don’t feel safe, it’s because they’re not safe," GOP candidate in New York says

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Republican Mike Lawler, a New York state assemblyman from Rockland County, appears on CNN on Monday morning.
Republican Mike Lawler, a New York state assemblyman from Rockland County, appears on CNN on Monday morning. (CNN)

Republican Mike Lawler, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the New York suburbs, doubled down on his criticism of Democrats’ handling of crime in an interview Monday on CNN.

“When people are saying they don’t feel safe,” Lawler said, “it’s because they’re not safe.”

Lawler, a state assemblyman from Rockland County, New York, is in a tight race with Maloney, the chair of the House Democratic campaign arm, in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District. The contest has attracted national attention – and cash – as Republicans look to make headlines by ousting one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill. The GOP’s leading House super PAC has spent nearly $10 million on the race.

Maloney, who lives in the district, but is new to more than 70% of its constituents, has been hobbled by the new map – which only came about after a judge threw out a gerrymandered draft and called on an independent “special master” to draw up the one now being used.

For that reason, Lawler said Maloney largely “doesn’t have the built-in advantages of incumbency.”

For his part, Maloney has called Lawler “MAGA Mike,” seeking to tie him to former President Donald Trump, and warned that, despite Lawler’s protests, the Republican would be a vote against abortion rights.

“I am against a national ban on abortion,” Lawler said when asked whether he would vote for federal legislation banning the procedure. “I will be a Republican that represents everyone.” 

Maloney's challenge mirrors those facing so many other Democrats in New York and around the country. Republicans have seized on concerns over rising inflation and public safety, their message juiced by Biden's low approval ratings and widespread frustration and angst over a pandemic that, more than two years after it began, continues to wreak havoc on the economy.

If Maloney falls, not only will Republicans be able to boast about taking down the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in his own backyard, but they will almost surely be on their way to an Election Day evisceration of Democrats' House majority. 

8:39 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

In the final stretch of the campaign, Biden takes aim at GOP election deniers

From CNN's MJ Lee and Jeremy Diamond

President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.
President Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Philadelphia on Saturday. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

On Election Day Eve, President Joe Biden will headline a political rally in Maryland where Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore looks poised to become the state’s first Black governor.

That final campaign swing before Election Day comes after Biden spent the weekend in New York stumping for Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, and making yet another visit to Pennsylvania to prop up Democrats including gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for Senate in one of the country’s most closely watched races.

All of those Democrats have one notable thing in common: they are all taking on Republican opponents who are known election deniers – or, at the very least, have demonstrated skepticism about the results of the 2020 election. And that's a dynamic that Biden has made a central theme of his political rallying cry in the final stretch before Tuesday.

He delivered a speech last week near Capitol Hill – where a mob of election deniers breached the legislative building to try to prevent members of Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election. He called out the numerous Republican candidates on the ballot this week who question the legitimacy of the last – and possibly also this week’s – election.

But with control of Congress hanging in the balance, some Democratic strategists have criticized the focus in the final stretch of the campaign on issues related to election integrity as a mistake, given that voters overwhelmingly consider the economy and inflation as their top concern.

Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Hilary Rosen predicted on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that Democrats would have a “bad night” on Tuesday – in no small part because, she said, Democrats had failed to listen to voters.

“When voters tell you over and over and over again that they care mostly about the economy, listen to them. Stop talking about democracy being at stake,” Rosen said. “Democracy is at stake because people are fighting so much about what elections mean. I mean, voters have told us what they wanted to hear and I don’t think Democrats have really delivered this cycle.”

In a recent CNN poll, 51% of likely voters said the economy and inflation would be most important to them in their congressional vote, far outpacing any other issue. In comparison, just 9% of likely voters, including 15% of Democrats, called “voting rights and election integrity” their top issue.

Watch here:

8:25 a.m. ET, November 7, 2022

Why the fight for control of the US Senate could come down to Georgia – again

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

US Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker
US Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker (Getty Images)

Democrats won the Senate after flipping Georgia last year and the state could be pivotal once again in the 2022 midterm elections.

For the second time in less than two years, the Peach State, which elected two Democratic senators in the last election cycle, is home to a contest that has gripped both national parties and potentially holds the key to the fate of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

This time around, though, at least one key characteristic of the race has been reversed: Democrat Raphael Warnock has gone from challenger to incumbent, trying to fend off Republican nominee Herschel Walker. The former football great, recruited and endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has run an uneven campaign and spent the past month beset by controversy, but is still running neck-and-neck with Warnock with early voting in high gear and Election Day nearing.

A Warnock victory would likely foreclose Republicans’ path to a majority in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a decisive vote. That reality, coupled with headwinds – in the form of economic angst and Biden’s low approval ratings – familiar to Democrats across the country, has helped coalesce Republicans behind Walker.

Underscoring his party’s mix of ambivalence and political practicality, former Vice President Mike Pence, after not mentioning Walker during his remarks at a rally in Cumming, Georgia, on Tuesday for GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, told reporters he is “supporting the whole (Republican) ticket here in Georgia.”

Read more here.