This ‘superstar loser’ tops the list of 2022’s biggest losers in politics

This year’s midterm election cycle provided stories of success and failure for both Democrats and Republicans who 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 Biden’s policies and plans.

From the reversal of Roe v. Wade to the ‘red wave’ that never was, the 2022 election cycle was undoubtedly full of big wins and losses for both parties. Fox News Digital breaks down the biggest losers of 2022 in this year’s midterm elections. 

1. Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, who ran a second unsuccessful bid for governor of Georgia this year, has earned the top spot of 2022’s biggest political losers, even earning the moniker ‘superstar loser’ from The Atlantic. 

Abrams lost to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp by 7.5 percentage points in the Nov. 8 elections. In 2018, Abrams lost by just over one point in a runoff election against Kemp. 

Abrams is well-known as an all-star political fundraiser and has frequently traveled the country to stump on behalf of fellow Democratic candidates. Despite raising more than $100 million throughout her second gubernatorial bid, the Abrams campaign still owes over $1 million to vendors, according to a recent Axios report.

The Abrams campaign abruptly cut off paychecks to almost all 180 campaign staffers just one week after the election. Staffers for the Kemp campaign were paid through the end of November, according to the report. 

News of Abrams short-changing her campaign staff came in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report highlighting the campaign’s extravagant spending throughout the gubernatorial race. According to the report, Abrams’ team rented out a $12,500-per-month, 5-bedroom ‘hype house’ that was intended to house Tik Tokers and promote the Abrams campaign. The campaign also purchased a ‘swag truck’ that reportedly had no giveaway strategy.

Despite losing to Kemp by over seven points, Abrams is still considering running for public office in the future, she said in an interview on ‘Good Morning America’ shortly after her defeat. 

2. Beto O’Rourke

After failed campaigns for U.S. Senate, the presidency and now Texas governor, Beto O’Rourke also earned the title of ‘superstar loser’ from The Atlantic this year. 

O’Rourke is perhaps the biggest name in Texas Democratic politics, but his claim to fame is not so much his victories as it is his big-time failures. The former El Paso mayor launched a gubernatorial campaign against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, losing by a dismal 11 points in 2022 despite out-raising the Republican governor. O’Rourke spent a whopping $80 million on his gubernatorial run.

The loss follows unsuccessful runs for U.S. Senate in 2018 — he narrowly lost to Sen. Ted Cruz by 2.6 points — and the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. He dropped out of that race after losing momentum and fundraising support. O’Rourke has raised almost $200 million combined from his unsuccessful statewide campaigns in Texas. 

With this third high-profile loss, O’Rourke’s political future remains in question though his campaign remains optimistic Texas can still turn blue some day.  

‘I don’t know what form that will take — I don’t know what my role or yours will be going forward — but I’m in this fight for life,’ he told a crowd of supporters on election night in El Paso.

3. Donald Trump

Former President Trump, who kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign shortly after the midterm elections, has taken heat from some in his party who blame the former president for the GOP’s underwhelming performance in the midterms and his part in endorsing unelectable candidates in the primary. 

Trump backed a number of atypical candidates early on in several battleground races. Some of the former president’s ill-fated endorsements included Kari Lake in Arizona, Blake Masters in Arizona, Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and even Sen.-elect JD Vance, who, despite winning Ohio’s Senate seat, won by only seven points. The GOP gubernatorial candidate, Mike DeWine, pulled off a 26-point win in the state. 

In the weeks following Election Day, national polling has shown mixed feelings on the president as he makes his third run for the White House. 

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll indicates that a plurality of Republican voters still support Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — even outperforming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — if the GOP 2024 primary race includes multiple candidates. 

The findings add context to a Wall Street Journal poll released Dec. 14 that indicated DeSantis was polling ahead of Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup for the 2024 GOP nomination. 

4. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has served New York’s 17th Congressional District since 2013, was defeated by his GOP challenger, State Assemblyman Mike Lawler, in a historic loss on Election Day. Maloney ironically served as the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the organization responsible for winning Democratic campaigns. 

The DCCC chair lost to his GOP challenger by a narrow margin of 0.8 percentage points following a contentious campaign centered on crime and inflation. 

On a night where many Democratic incumbents endured contentious races across the country, Maloney’s defeat stood out as a noteworthy exception. Maloney is the first chair of a party’s congressional campaign arm to lose re-election in 30 years.  

Maloney came under fire leading up to the midterms for suggesting families struggling with the impacts of inflation eat Chef Boyardee while also traveling to high-end European cities over the summer to raise money for House Democrats.

5.  Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker, the GOP nominee in Georgia’s Senate race, failed to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the general and runoff elections. Though Georgia has become more competitive in recent years, Walker was the only Republican to lose a statewide election in the state this year; every other GOP candidate won by five points or more, avoiding a runoff election. 

Trump endorsed Walker, a longtime friend and former football star, early in the primary process, long before allegations of domestic abuse and claims that Walker paid for abortions for two women surfaced in the media. 

With Warnock’s victory, Democrats successfully defended every Democratic incumbent up for re-election in the Senate this year, a political feat no party had accomplished since the 1934 midterms.

Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report. 

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