This live blog is now closed. You can find all our US midterms coverage here
Virginia’s Republican lieutenant-governor Winsome Sears said she could not support Donald Trump if he again ran for the White House, telling Fox Business Network in an interview that the former president has become a “liability” for the GOP:
“A true leader understands when they have become a liability. A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage, and the voters have given us that very clear message… I could not support him.”
—VA Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) comes out against Trump’s 2024 candidacy pic.twitter.com/0g1plfHJmu
The comments are significant considering Sears did something last year that Trump hasn’t done in more than six: win an election. Voters in the Democratic-leaning state elected Sears as the running mate of Glenn Youngkin in his gubernatorial campaign, and she made history as the first woman and first person of color to serve as Virginia’s lieutenant governor.
Her comments also underscore the tension among Republicans over Trump’s influence on the party, particularly since many candidates he backed did not fare well in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
This live blog is now closed. You can find all our coverage here.
Counting is set to continue in all the races that are yet to declare. We’re going to pause our live blog now, but will return if there is anything important to update you on.
If you want to know why the vote count is taking so long in some states, you can read our explainer here.
And if you want to continue to track the results live, you can do so here.
Ballot counting continues, and it may still be a while until we find out which party will control the House and Senate. As Republicans wrestle with questions about why the elections failed to bring about the “red wave” they expected, Joe Biden has continued in his party’s performance.
Here’s a rundown of what has happened so far today:
A top White House official insisted the Democrats still had a chance at winning the House.
A newly elected Republican congressman said the party should “move forward” from Donald Trump. The former president is facing pressure to delay announcing his presidential bid after many of his endorsed candidates faltered in the midterms.
The chair of the Texas GOP said the party needs to give voters a positive message if it wants to improve on what is looking to be a lackluster performance in the midterms.
Montana became the latest state where voters said no to further abortion .
Nevada’s razor-thin Senate and governor races may not be known until Saturday, by when most ballots from the Democratic-leaning Clark county will be counted.
An official in Arizona’s Maricopa county asked Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to tone down her rhetoric about the elections.
Inflation declined in October, new government data showed. potentially signaling the beginning of the end of the political perilous wave of price increases
Democrat Tina Kotek is the winner of the Oregon governor’s race, defeating a Republican candidate in a race that was unusually close in the typically blue western state.
– Chris Stein and Maanvi Singh
Democrat Tina Kotek is the winner of the Oregon governor’s race, defeating a Republican candidate in an unusually close election in the typically blue western state.
Democrat Tina Kotek was elected governor of Oregon, topping a three-woman field in what was seen as the GOP’s best chance in years to capture the office in the liberal state. https://t.co/Bf11DqvGKB pic.twitter.com/MyksvnI10o
Kotek was the longest serving speaker of the Oregon House, and the GOP candidate, Christine Drazan, was the former leader of the Republicans in the state House. Kotek had 47.1% of the vote and Drazan had 43.5%.
Kotek is making history with her win, joining Maura Healey of Massachusetts as the first lesbians elected as governors in the US. Kotek said today:
It is an absolute honor. I can tell you that being who I am is important to Oregonians across the state. Lots of young people have come up to me and said thank you for running and thank you for being who you are.
Hi all – Sam Levin in Los Angeles here, taking over our live coverage for the rest of the evening.
Here in LA, voters are closely following the very tight race for mayor of the second largest city in the US, with many votes still to be counted. As of the latest count this evening, Rick Caruso, a billionaire real estate developer had 50.25% of the vote and Karen Bass, the Democratic congresswoman, was trailing slightly behind at 49.75%.
More than 545,000 votes have been counted so far, and on Wednesday, LA county officials estimated that there were still more than 1m votes to be counted. It could take a week for a winner to be called, according to the LA Times, which noted that in the primary, Bass was initially behind in votes, but as more were counted, she ended up surpassing Caruso.
Both nominally Democrats, Bass and Caruso come from starkly different backgrounds, and their down-to-the-wire contest comes at a particularly fraught time for Los Angeles.
The region’s homelessness crisis has become a humanitarian catastrophe, with LA county recording 69,000 unhoused people in this year’s annual estimate, considered an undercount, including more than 48,000 living outside. City government is also in crisis. Recordings leaked last month captured three councilmembers, including the council president, making bigoted and racist remarks.
More here on the race:
A federal judge in Texas has blocked Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.
The Trump-appointed judge declared the policy unlawful in a ruling issued Thursday evening. The ruling comes after a stay on the program was granted in a separate lawsuit. There have been a number of legal challenges against the program from conservative groups and officials.
The Washington Post has more details:
In the Texas case, the plaintiffs argued, in part, that the Biden administration made arbitrary decisions about who would qualify for debt forgiveness and how much of their balance would be canceled. Biden’s loan relief plan would cancel up to $10,000 in federal student debt for borrowers who earn up to $125,000 annually or up to $250,000 annually for married couples. Borrowers who received Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 in forgiveness.
Biden has continued to promote the program, which could benefit tens of millions of Americans.
Zoe Grueskin reports:
New York state voters passed a ballot measure that would fund up to $4.2bn for environmental improvement projects – including increasing flood resiliency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, electrifying school buses and creating more green and open spaces.
The proposal also aims to reach communities most affected by the climate crisis. If approved, it will allow the state to sell bonds in order to raise funds to finance several projects.
Nearly 60% of voters at the state level cast their ballot in support of the measure – in New York City, that number went up to 81%. The support is not entirely surprising: since the early 20th century, 11 environmental bond acts have made it to the ballot in New York. All but one, in 1990, passed with a substantial margin of the vote.
Donald Trump has sent supporters an email trashing Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is broadly viewed as a potential presidential candidate after his midterm victory.
The former president, who has teased that he will soon announce his candidacy for 2024, referred to the governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious” and accused him of lacking “loyalty and class” for entertaining media questions about whether he’d run against Trump for president.
Trump is facing pressure to delay announcing his presidential bid after many of his endorsed candidates faltered in the midterms.
A top official in Arizona’s Maricopa county, the state’s largest, has asked Kari Lake to tone down her rhetoric about the elections.
Lake, who is the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for governor, has denied the 2020 election results and often spread false claims and misinformation about elections. Lake and her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, are locked in a tight race.
“Now, I feel 100% confident we are going to win this, I hate that they’re slow-rolling and dragging their feet and delaying the inevitable. They don’t want to put out the truth, which is that we won,” Lake said on the conservative Charlie Kirk show. “We’re going to win this, and there’s not a darn thing they can do about it. But they’re trying to pour cold water on this movement.”
In Maricopa county, officials were not pleased.
“Everyone needs to calm down, tone the rhetoric down,” said Bill Gates, chair of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors. “Let’s stop the name calling.”
"Quite frankly, it is offensive for Kari Lake to say these people behind me are slow rolling this."
Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, is not very happy about some of the things being said about the elections department. pic.twitter.com/OoUpd4oyLf
In Arizona, where many voters vote early, officials have to verify and approve ballots in a process that can take days or weeks. It is normal in close races to have to wait a while for results.
Even though it remains unclear which party will take control of the House with several key races still undecided, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has established transition teams for the 118th congress.
“The House Republican majority is getting right to work,” McCarthy said, despite the fact that it may be a while until we know whether Republicans have a majority. “These transition teams will ensure we hit the ground running on issues that Democrats have ignored or made worse for the American people under one-party rule, all while shutting out our fellow citizens from the People’s House.”
McCarthy, a California Republican, has long sought the role of House speaker, but Republicans’ underperformance in the midterms means that if he does ascend to the role, he might be helming a very small Republican majority. Several pro-Trump, Freedom Caucus Republicans have also expressed disappointment with McCarthy, and there’s a chance they could mount a challenge against him.
McCarthy has named Republican whip Steve Scalise, and congressmen James Comer, Jim Jordan and Bryan Steil as leaders in his transition team – which could be a strategic move to keep potential rivals close.
Ed Pilkington and Sam Levine report:
Several of the most consequential races are happening in the border state of Arizona. A US Senate contest between the Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters could determine which party controls the Senate.
There are also consequential state races, including for governor and secretary of state, in which prominent election deniers endorsed by Donald Trump have a shot at winning. So far only 70% of the Arizona vote has been counted.
To understand why that is, you have to zoom in to Maricopa county, which covers the state capital, Phoenix. It contains 60% of all votes in Arizona and is the second largest voting jurisdiction in the nation.
The number of people who vote early has increased dramatically since the pandemic. This year Maricopa county also saw a surge in the number of early ballots that were dropped off on election day – they are known as “late earlies” – rising to 290,000, the largest number in the state’s history and 100,000 more than in 2020.
Each early ballot has to be verified to check that the voter’s signature matches the signature in the voter rolls, and after that is done it is sent to a bipartisan panel for approval and processing. That all takes time, as we are witnessing.
Many people have drawn a comparison of Arizona’s vote count with that of Florida, which called its results within hours of polls closing on Tuesday. That state’s system allows election officials to begin counting mail-in ballots as soon as they are received; mail-in ballots have to be requested and must be received by an election supervisor no later than 7pm on election day.
But the main reason why Ron DeSantis won his re-election race so quickly on Tuesday was because it was a blowout, with the incumbent Republican governor garnering 59% of the vote while his challenger, Charlie Crist, received only 40%.
Had the candidates we are watching in Arizona or elsewhere had such a convincing lead, we would probably not still be waiting for their races to be called. Nonetheless, there are questions that Arizona is going to have to face in future elections.
Stephen Richer, who is the recorder of Maricopa county, said that after the dust settles “we will likely want to have a policy conversation about which we value more: convenience of dropping off early ballots on election day or higher percentage of returns with 24 hours of election night”.
Oliver Milman and Nina Lakhani in Sharm el-Sheikh report:
Nancy Pelosi has accused Republicans of treating the climate crisis like “it’s all a hoax” while at the Cop27 climate talks in Egypt, where the US delegation is attempting to remain upbeat about continued progress on dealing with global heating despite uncertainty over the midterm election results.
Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, made a surprise appearance at the climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday. The trip may be one of Pelosi’s last as speaker, with most forecasts predicting Republicans will eke out a narrow majority in the House.
There has been “shall we say, a disagreement on the subject” of the climate crisis between the parties, Pelosi said at Cop27, adding that Republicans have said “‘Why are we having this discussion? There is no climate crisis. It’s all a hoax.’ We have to get over that. This is urgent, long overdue.
“So we cannot just have any political disagreement or the power of the fossil fuel industry cramping our style as we go forward with this, but to show a path that gets us to where we need to be,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s appearance at Cop27 comes at a critical point for the future of democracy in the US and the future of the planet. Joe Biden was able to pass the country’s most significant piece of climate legislation this year because Democrats have the majority in both the House and the Senate. With that set to change, the mounting anger at the US for obstructing meaningful global climate action, despite being the world’s largest polluter and richest country, may only get worse.
Republicans are inching towards a House majority, but several key races, especially in the west, remain undecided.
Many of these close races are in California, where elections often take days or weeks to tabulate. In Orange county, the Democratic star Katie Porter is very narrowly leading Republican Scott Baugh in her newly formed swing district. Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent Michelle Steel, who ran an intensely negative campaign falsely painting her Taiwanese American opponent as having ties to Chinese communism, is leading in her race. And the Democrat Adam Gray is barely trailing the Republican John Duarte in the Central Valley.
in Colorado, the far-right firebrand Lauren Boebert remains in an unexpectedly tight virtual tie with her opponent, the Democrat Adam Frisch.
In Nevada, the Democratic representative Susie Lee is leading in a tight race against the Republican lawyer April Becker, who challenged the 2020 presidential election results. And the incumbent Democrat Dina Titus is pulling ahead of her Republican challenger in a redrawn district.
Voter turnout this year was the second highest of any midterm since 1940, according to the Washington Post, which analyzed AP and US Elections Project data.
About 112.5m people – or about 47% of eligible voters – cast ballots in the midterms. In 2018, about 50% of eligible voters cast ballots, according to the Post.
And according to researchers at Tufts University, about 27% of eligible voters 18-29 turned out:
This 2022 youth turnout is likely the second-highest youth turnout rate for a midterm election in the past 30 years, behind only the historic 31% turnout in 2018. Votes cast by young people made up 12% of all votes in this election, nearly matching the 13% youth share of the vote from the 2014 and 2018 midterms, according to National Election Pool surveys.