Election 2022 updates: Congress returns with midterms unsettled – USA TODAY

Amid the uncertainty over control of the next Congress, legislators return to Washington on Monday to start the lame-duck session.
Over the weekend, Democrats cemented a majority in the Senate for the next two years with incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s win in Nevada. But the House remains in flux. 
With all 435 seats up for election in the midterms, 20 remain uncalled. Republicans have 212 seats secured, Democrats 203, based on the latest race tallies. Republicans are still forecasted to regain control of the chamber, but any GOP majority is expected to be as narrow as the Senate.
A party needs 218 seats to have the majority.
How did far-right candidates perform? Far-right candidates struggled in midterm election. Who’s to blame? Experts say Trump, GOP
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Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs won the race for Arizona governor, beating out Republican nominee Kari Lake.
Hobbs, a veteran of Democratic politics, served as Arizona secretary of state and gained a national profile defending President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.
Lake is a former television news host turned politician whose embrace of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen helped her win the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and the votes of many of his hardline supporters.
– Anna Kaufman
A nonpartisan watchdog group alleges that former President Donald Trump and his affiliated fundraising groups have been violating campaign finance laws.
A complaint that the Campaign Legal Center filed with the Federal Election Commission alleges that Trump decided long ago to run for reelection, and that triggered certain federal restrictions on how money his groups raised could be used.
The complaint says his leadership PAC Save America transferred $20 million to MAGA Inc. in October in “a brazen attempt to circumvent the fundraising restrictions that apply to federal candidates, which are crucial to preventing corruption and its appearance.”
The complaint says there is a “strong likelihood” that Save America will send more of its $69 million remaining cash to MAGA Inc. to support Trump’s presidential candidacy “which would result in additional violations.”
– Erin Mansfield
Democrat Andrea Salinas has won the U.S. House seat in Oregon’s newly created 6th District.
The state representative and former congressional staffer defeated Republican Mike Erickson, a businessman.
Salinas was one of two candidates seeking to be Oregon’s first Latina congresswoman, along with Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in the 5th District, who also won her race.
A population boom made Oregon one of just six states to gain a House seat following the 2020 census. The state’s population jumped by more than 10% in the past decade to more than 4.2 million people, giving it a new congressional district for the first time in 40 years.
– Associated Press
Far-right conservative firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., signaled on Monday she would vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for speaker of the House. McCarthy is fending off opposition and anger from House Republicans’ most conservative members in the House Freedom Caucus after lackluster election results.
But Greene, one of the caucus’ most outspoken members, disavowed the efforts to stop McCarthy and called for the party to unify behind him.
“It’s very risky right now to produce a leadership challenge, especially for speaker of the House,” said Greene on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. “I will not do it. There is no way in hell I will stand there and allow that to happen.”
– Ken Tran
ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock’s first runoff in 2021 was a titanic nine-week clash to control the Senate that included three weeks of early in-person voting and lots of mail ballots.
Warnock’s victory against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler – and Democrat Jon Ossoff’s tilt against Republican David Perdue – ended in two Democratic victories that gave the party control of a 50-50 Senate, thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to break ties.
But the Dec. 6 runoff won’t be for Senate control this time, with Democrats retaining seats in Arizona and Nevada earlier this month. Successful reelection bids by Sens. Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto were what Democrats needed to keep the slimmest of margins in the chamber.
Georgia requires a runoff if a candidate doesn’t win a majority in the party primary or in the general election. Neither Warnock nor Republican Herschel Walker got to 50%.
Under Georgia’s 2021 election law, there will be only four weeks before the runoff — with Thanksgiving in the middle. Many Georgians will be offered only five weekdays of early in-person voting beginning Nov. 28. And June’s primary runoffs showed time for mail ballots to be received and returned can be very tight.
Those changes could disadvantage Democrats, who tend to push early voting and vote-by-mail more than Republicans. Because the 2021 law makes it harder to apply for a mail ballot, Democrats urged supporters to vote early in person in October.
– Associated Press
Congress is back in session nearly a week after Election Day, as counting continues to determine which major party will control the U.S. House.
House and Senate Republicans are slated to hold leadership elections Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, though they are facing increasing calls from some members and other conservative leaders to delay those elections.
These GOP bids are happening against a backdrop of mounting questions about how and why the party underperformed in the midterms – and while the party’s leader, former President Donald Trump, is expected to announce a reelection run Tuesday.
Democrats are not scheduled to hold leadership elections until Nov. 30.
– Candy Woodall
Looking to 2024:Trump is under fire over the midterms. DeSantis is rising. And a 2024 rivalry is just beginning.
Republicans flipped Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, with Lori Chavez-DeRemer winning the open seat that had been held by moderate Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader.
He lost the Democratic primary to progressive candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner. She conceded the race to Chavez-DeRemer on Sunday.
— Katie Wadington
Democrat Katie Hobbs held a slim lead over Republican challenger Kari Lake on Sunday in the Arizona gubernatorial race as the number of ballots left to count shrinks, making a path to victory for Lake more difficult. 
Hobbs led Lake by just over 26,000 votes on Sunday night, with a slim 1 percentage point gap between the two. The race was still too close to call, meaning the suspense will continue.
The course of the day Sunday, with more vote counts coming in across the state, saw Lake whittle away at Hobbs’ lead, which at one point Sunday was 36,000 votes.
Lake gained ground among Maricopa County voters, where officials reported a big update of 97,000 votes in the evening. Lake won the majority of those, over 54%, eating into Hobbs’ lead in the county and cutting it from about 57,000 votes to 48,500.
– Stacey Barchenger, Arizona Republic 
Democrats are jockeying to push through whatever they can in upcoming weeks before the new Congress is seated.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that Democrats are going to try to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act, legislation that seeks to remove legal ambiguity that Trump and his allies tried to exploit to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“That’s the bare minimum of what we need to do,” said Raskin.
Anita Dunn, senior adviser to Biden, also told Brennan the White House will push for additional funding for Ukraine and emergency funding for Florida and Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Ian and Fiona.
In an op-ed in the New York Times reacting to Democrats securing the Senate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for her colleagues to make the next “lame-duck session of Congress the most productive in decades.”
“Where we can pursue legislative action, we should fight aggressively,” Warren wrote. “When Republicans try to obstruct such action and the president can act by executive authority, he must.”
– Ken Tran


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