2022 Midterms Post-Elections Recap: Who Holds the Power
The 2022 midterm elections are now in the rearview mirror.
The Senate race in Georgia between Herschel Walker and Senator Raphael Warnock will be advancing to a run-off on December 6, but the control of the chamber was secured by Democrats after Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s win in Pennsylvania.
In the House, Republicans have done enough to win control, effectively ending Democrats “trifecta” for the upcoming 118th Congress.
See our related post with analysis of impact on key security industry issues here: The 2022 Midterm Elections’ Impact on the Security Industry.
Even with retirements, leadership in the Senate will remain largely unchanged. Should Warnock prevail, Democrats will have a 51/49 majority, making tied votes less common and eliminating most of the need for Vice President Kamala Harris to weigh in.
The House, however, will see a significant shift in the new year. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have indicated they intend to step back from leadership in the upcoming Congress, making room for a younger generation of leaders to takeover.
Expected Senate Leadership in 2023
Majority Leader: Chuck Schumer
Majority Whip: Dick Durbin
President Pro Tempore: Patty Murray
Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell
Minority Whip: John Thune
Conference Chair: John Barrasso
Expected House Leadership in 2023
Speaker: Kevin McCarthy
Majority Leader: Steve Scalise
Majority Whip: Tom Emmer
Conference Chair: Elise Stefanik
Minority Leader: Hakeem Jeffries
Minority Whip: Katherine Clark
Caucus Chair: Pete Aguilar
Assistant Minority Leader: Jim Clyburn
Majorities in both the upper and lower chambers will be extremely slim.
50 (51) Democrats (No Net Gain/+1 Gain)
49 (50) Republicans (-1 Loss/No Net Gain)
Some 35 Senate seats were up for re-election in November. Republicans were defending 21 of those seats, whereas Democrats were safeguarding 14. Should Warnock win the Georgia runoff, it will make 2022 the first year the Democrat party has not lost any Senate seats during a midterm election under a Democratic president since 1962, and the first time no Senate incumbent has lost in either party since 1914.
222 Republicans (+9 Gain)
213 Democrats (-9 Loss) [CO 3 – Democrat challenger conceded, but race is likely headed to automatic recount]
Historically, the party of the sitting president loses seats during the midterm. For reference, Democrats lost 54 seats in the House during President Clinton’s first term and 63 seats during President Obama’s term. Republicans gave up 40 seats during President Trump’s midterms in 2018.
The 2020 census led to reapportionment, which in turn led to the “once-a-decade” redistricting. States approach redistricting differently. Some states have non- or bipartisan commission, some efforts are legislature-led, and some are a hybrid. Gerrymandering is always a concern, and it is becomingly increasingly common for courts to weigh in on the map-drawing process. The result for 2022 congressional maps, however, was less controversial than expected. Rather than attempt to create “pick-up” seats, both parties in most states opted to strengthen their hold on existing seats, meaning nearly 20 competitive seats across the country were eliminated, making large swings in either direction less likely in the years to come.
As it stands, 26 seats have flipped in the 2022 midterms – 18 to Republican hands (four of which were in New York) and 8 to Democrats. It took nearly three weeks to be finalized, but Republicans secured 222 seats on November 8, which creates a mirror image of the power margin for the 118th Congress.
The next Congress is shaping up to be the fourth narrowest on record:
83rd (1953-1954) – Senate 48R/46D/2I – House 221R/213D/1I
107th (2001-2002) – Senate 50R/50D – House 221R/212D/2I
117th (2021-2022) – Senate 50R/48D/2I – House 222D/213R
118th (2023-2024) – Senate 49D/49R/2I – House 222R/213D
A narrow majority in either chamber makes legislating difficult, especially given the shifting priorities of policymakers and changing leadership on key committees.
Expected Senate Committee Changes
Before the 2022 midterms, seven Senate committee leaders opted for retirement – six Republicans and one Democrat. Those retirements have set off a cascade of changes on other panels, including Appropriations, Armed Services, Commerce and Homeland Security.
Appropriations: Patty Murray (WA), Susan Collins (ME)
Armed Services: Jack Reed (RI), Roger Wicker (MS)
Commerce: Maria Cantwell (WA), Ted Cruz (TX)
Homeland Security: Gary Peters (MI), Rand Paul (KY)
Judiciary: Dick Durbin (IL), Lindsey Graham (SC)
Small Business: Ben Cardin (MD), Joni Ernst (IA)
Expected House Committee Changes
Before the 2022 midterms, nearly 50 House members decided against running for re-election. Another 17 House members lost their primaries, meaning regardless of the midterm outcome, there was going to be significant turnover at the committee level on both sides of the aisle.
Seven House leaders won’t be returning for the 118th, including Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (NY), Transportation Chair Pete DeFazio (OR), Budget Chair John Yarmouth, Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (TX) and Homeland Security Ranking Member John Katko (NY).
Whereas Republicans have long-standing term limits on their committee leadership roles, Democrats in both chambers have no such restrictions, which is how Frank Pallone (NJ) and Maxine Waters (CA) have been the top Democrats on Energy & Commerce and Financial Services for nearly eight years.
Appropriations: Kay Granger (TX), Rosa DeLauro (CT)
Armed Services: Mike Rogers (AL), Adam Smith (WA)
Energy & Commerce: Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Frank Pallone (NJ)
Homeland Security: OPEN, Bennie Thompson (MS)
Judiciary: Jim Jordan (OH), Jerry Nadler (NY)
Oversight: James Comer (KY), OPEN
Science, Space & Technology: Frank Lucas (OK), OPEN
Small Business: Roger Williams (TX), Nydia Velazquez (NY)
Transportation & Infrastructure: Sam Graves (MO), OPEN
Ways & Means: OPEN, Richard Neal (MA)
Committee assignments, which depend on a number of factors (ratio of majority to minority, steering committee considerations, leadership negotiations and leadership elections) and won’t be final until after the start of the 118th Congress, will have a significant impact, but with incoming chairs, and subcommittee chairs, it is safe to assume that policy priorities will change.