Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 14, 2022

Democrats keep Senate control; House lineup in next Congress awaits a few vote totals

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1.gifQuote a vivid election reaction and identify language that makes it colorful.

2.gifIf a question or proposal was on ballots in your area, tell what happened.

3.gifPick a hot issue facing Congress and summarize a key point from each side.

Days after nationwide voting for Congress members and state leaders last week, suspense existed as counting continued in some close U.S. House races. It was unclear last weekend which party would have a majority in that chamber when a new term starts Jan. 3. Several days of uncertainty about the Senate's balance ended with a Democratic victory in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto beat a past state attorney general endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

This means Democrats will have at least 50 votes in the new Congress, just as they do now, letting Vice President Kamala Harris break ties in their favor. She may not need to do so if the last Senate seat goes to her party in a Georgia runoff election Dec. 6 between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Neither man cleared the state's 50-percent threshold to win last Tuesday.

In the House, Republicans were on track to narrowly win control away from Democrats. As counting continued in a few close races last weekend, they were inching toward the 218 seats needed to control the chamber in the last two years of President Joe Biden's term. (Democratic representatives now have an eight-seat majority.)

Overall, Election Day is generally seen as disappointing for Republicans. The party that doesn't control the presidency usually does well in midterm elections. Not this time. Democratic incumbents won nearly all of their races, while Republicans endorsed by Trump lost the Senate contest in Pennsylvania, as well as House and statewide races in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and elsewhere. Democrats also won several key governorships. "We found ourselves consistently navigating the power struggle between Trump and anti-Trump factions of the party," says Paul Cordes, the Michigan Republican Party's chief of staff. "That power struggle ended with too many people on the sidelines and hurt Republicans in key races." The party also was hobbled by unprepared first-time candidates and fundraising shortfalls.

President Biden says: "It was the first national election since Jan. 6 [2021], and there were a lot of concerns about whether democracy would meet the test. It did."

Senator says: "Like all of you, I'm just watching and waiting for them to finish counting votes." – Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who'd be the next Senate majority leader if his party gets 51 seats

Journalist says: "When you consider the political and economic context for this election, Democrats over-performed at a historic scale." – Dan Rather, former CBS News anchor, now blogging

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2022

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.