The biggest political winners in 2022: DeSantis, Fetterman score big victories

This year’s midterm election cycle provided success stories for Democrats and Republicans, who both witnessed impressive turnout across the country amid troubling times for the American economy.

With a new Congress set to convene early next year, control in Washington will be divided. Republicans will have control of the House and Democrats will control the Senate, marking a stark contrast from recent years under total Democrat control that aided President Joe Biden’s policies and plans.

The victories from both parties — from gubernatorial elections and Senate races — revealed popularity for certain candidates and shifts among key metrics that have proven vital in past elections.


1. Ron DeSantis

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has served at the helm of the Sunshine State since 2019, saw great success in the state’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, defeating his Democratic challenger, former Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist.

In the election, DeSantis received nearly 60% of the state’s vote, compared to Crist, who received 40% of the vote.

With his landslide victory — DeSantis, who is being pushed by some conservative voters to make a run for president in 2024 — became the first Republican governor in the state to win Miami-Dade County in two decades. DeSantis’ victory in the county, which has a high Latino and Hispanic population, shed light on the fact that many within the state approve of his work.

‘My first year, we banned sanctuary cities, and [the] news media thought that would not be approved down [in Miami]. And yet Hispanic voters in Florida had the highest approval rating for our policy to ban sanctuary cities,’ DeSantis previously told Fox News.

2. John Fetterman

Pennsylvania Sen.-elect John Fetterman, a Democrat who currently serves as the Keystone State’s lieutenant governor, provided another success for Democrats as they aimed to retain control in the Senate.

In the general election, Fetterman defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz, his GOP challenger, in what was considered by many as the most closely watched Senate race of the 2022 cycle. Fetterman and Oz were running to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who has served in the Senate since 2011 and formerly represented the state’s 15th District in the House.

Fetterman’s victory over Oz came after a grueling campaign that featured only one debate between the two candidates. Earlier this year, in May, Fetterman suffered a stroke and relied on closed-captioning services through the latter half of his campaign to respond to questions from the media and debate moderators.

Fetterman’s health struggles, however, did not upend his election chances. In the general election, Fetterman defeated Oz by more than 260,000 votes, earning 51.2% of the state’s vote, compared to Oz’s 46.3%.

3. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican who represents the California’s 20th Congressional District and has served as House Minority Leader since 2019, also witnessed great success in the 2022 midterm elections.

Aside from his own victory over Marisa Wood — his Democratic challenger in the Golden State’s 20th District — McCarthy’s support for several Republicans running nationwide in the midterm elections led to the GOP taking a slim majority in the House of Representatives for the 118th Congress, which is set to convene in January.

Republicans will hold 222 seats in the House beginning Jan. 3, compared to the Democrats’ 212 seats.

The 2022 midterm elections marked the first time Republicans had won control of the House since the 115th Congress and boosted McCarthy’s chances of serving as the next speaker of the House.

Last month, McCarthy won the Republicans’ designation for House speaker, but questions remain over his ability to lock up the spot on the floor in January amid opposition from members of his own party.

4. Raphael Warnock

Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock, who serves as senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, ultimately came out on top in the 2022 Georgia Senate election.

After failing to garner 50% of the vote in the state’s November general election against Trump-endorsed football icon Herschel Walker, his Republican challenger, Warnock was forced into a runoff election. Warnock narrowly defeated Walker in the runoff election after he earned 51.4% of the state’s vote.

Warnock’s success over Walker in the Peach State provided Democrats with a crucial 51-seat majority in the Senate for the 118th Congress, allowing for pushback on measures weighed by House Republicans.

5. Joe Biden

President Biden, despite several rocky moments in his presidency, also has a reason to claim success following the 2022 midterm elections.

While several Republicans predicted a ‘red wave’ that would rebuke Biden’s polices in the 2022 elections, that is not how things played out. Democrats maintained control of the Senate and lost the House to Republicans by a slim margin.

Ahead of the midterm elections, millions of voters expressed concern over high inflation and consumer prices that impacted Americans at the gas pump and at the grocery store. Those concerns, however, did not necessarily translate into political wins for GOP candidates.

Following the elections, inflation dropped slightly, but consumer prices remain elevated.

The Labor Department said this month that the Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods that includes gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 0.1% in November from the previous month. Prices climbed 7.1% on an annual basis. 

Those figures were both lower than the 7.3% headline figure and 0.3% monthly increase forecast by Refinitiv economists, a potentially reassuring sign for the Federal Reserve as it tries to tame runaway inflation with a series of aggressive interest rate hikes. It marked the slowest annual inflation rate since December 2021.

Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this article.

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