Key midterm races remain in limbo, how abortion rights fared: 5 Things podcast – USA TODAY

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Georgia Senate, other key races remain in limbo after Election Day
We look at an unexpectedly good night for President Joe Biden and a bad one for former President Donald Trump. Plus, Courier-Journal chief political reporter Morgan Watkins looks at how abortion rights prevailed in ballot initiatives.
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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Taylor Wilson 
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 10th of November 2022.
Raphael Warnock
We always knew that this race would be close. I’m feeling good.
Herschel Walker 
I’m like Ricky Bobby, I don’t come to lose.
Taylor Wilson 
What’s next after midterms? Plus, a look at the Latino vote at this week’s elections, and a late season hurricane makes landfall.

The 2022 midterms are now in the rear view mirror, but we’re still waiting on results to know whether Democrats or Republicans will control the House and Senate. One thing we know is that these midterms did not represent the red wave of Republican wins that many pollsters and analysts predicted. Republicans did not overwhelmingly take the House, though they’re still expected to control it. As for the Senate, the chamber may come down to Georgia again. The race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger, former football player Herschel Walker, is going to a runoff election on December 6th. Warnock narrowly leads Walker but is short of 50% of the vote, which is needed to avoid a runoff in Georgia.
It’s clear that it was a bad night for former President Donald Trump. He used the midterms as a chance to prove his political influence, endorsing more than 330 candidates. Trump-backed candidates lost some of the night’s biggest races, including the Senate seat in Pennsylvania and in three governor’s races in Michigan, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He did get some big wins though, including his pick for US Senate in Ohio, JD Vance. Trump has signaled that he’ll announce a run for president next week, but some advisors are reportedly urging him to delay that announcement following underwhelming midterms for the GOP.
As for President Joe Biden, it was a better night than expected, despite low approval ratings and record inflation. In his first comments after the election, he praised Democrats for better than expected results. While acknowledging that many voters are still frustrated.
Joe Biden 
While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen. And I know you were somewhat miffed by my obsess and optimism, but I felt good during the whole process. I thought we were going to do fine. While any seat lost is painful – some good Democrats didn’t win the last night – Democrats had a strong night.
Taylor Wilson 
Despite Biden’s glass half full comments. There will probably be legislative gridlock in his last two years of term, and Republicans may open up investigations involving Biden if they run the House. Biden said he will decide early next year whether to run for reelection.

Election night was a mixed bag for Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Latino voters. USA TODAY White House reporter Rebecca Morin has some analysis on the results, and with all politics, she says it starts locally.
Rebecca Morin 
I think what happened in the election in terms of Latino voters is we saw that it’s not a monolith. We saw that there are some Latinos who have decidedly become more Republican like in South Florida. And I think we saw though that the Latino vote was really important in kind of fighting back against this sort of red wave, red tsunami that was predicted. Leading up to the election, Republicans were making pretty big investments in several Latino communities. We saw in South Florida, Republican candidates really vying for the Latino vote there. In South Texas, there was a really big investment. Those communities are very different from each other despite being majority Latino. A lot of it is about community based, I would say, versus just thinking about policies.
In South Florida, we saw that the messaging of the economy and inflation really was a huge inflection point on where voters’ minds were. But in Texas, there’s other layers there. In South Texas, especially like access to abortion… That’s where a lot of the fight has begun is, in South Texas. The Supreme Court fights and the district court fights, a lot of them began in South Texas. So that’s kind of a big concern among some voters in addition to the economy, which is still probably the top.
Taylor Wilson 
You can hear more from Rebecca on the key role the Latino vote plays in elections on this Sunday’s episode of 5 Things.

It’s been months since the Supreme Court removed constitutional protections for abortion. Since the end of Roe vs. Wade, at least 10 states have banned abortion in almost all cases, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy organization that supports abortion rights. But other states have expanded abortion rights, places like Kansas, where voters rejected an initiative to remove abortion rights from the state constitution in August. And on Tuesday, voters in several states moved to preserve access to abortion. Morgan Watkins is the chief political reporter for the Courier Journal of the USA TODAY Network and joins me now. Morgan, thanks for being here. So where are the states that voters protected abortion rights this week?
Morgan Watkins 
California, Michigan, and Vermont, all past ballot measures that specifically in one way or another, enshrined abortion rights specifically in their state constitutions. That’s pretty important because now with Roe v Wade overturned and no federal nationwide right to abortion, a lot of these big battles over abortion laws are now going to be decided. I mean, it’s all going down to the state level now.
Taylor Wilson 
All right, how about this Montana abortion referendum. Results are still coming in, but what were voters looking at there?
Morgan Watkins 
So the Montana ballot referendum was essentially, you see these sometimes called born alive measures. So it would essentially criminalize healthcare providers if they don’t take whatever steps are necessary to try to save the life of an infant if the baby is born under various circumstances. This would essentially criminalize doctors that they don’t do everything they need to. I know that there were some medical professionals who organized against the ballot measure in Montana, basically saying that it would have a negative impact on the decisions doctors have to make.
Taylor Wilson 
And how about where you are, Morgan in Kentucky?
Morgan Watkins 
The fact that Kentucky voted down their referendum, that is a huge deal here because that leaves open the possibility that a current legal challenge to the near total abortion ban we have in this state, potentially could result in a court ruling saying there is a right to abortion here and potentially could lead to the lifting of that ban. So that’s a big deal, and I expect that to be something people pay a lot of attention to because Kentucky very much like Kansas did a few months ago. It’s a more conservative state for sure, but they came out and said no on something that was a high priority for anti-abortion folks, and that can’t be discounted, I think as a big moment.
Taylor Wilson 
You can find more of Morgan’s work at

Hurricane Nicole made landfall earlier this morning. The storm slammed Florida’s east coast as a category one after moving through The Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center says Nicole will bring dangerous storm surge and heavy rains to eastern Florida. And in one county it appears to have breached the sea wall. Residents on several barrier islands were told to evacuate. People across South Florida are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which hit the state’s opposite coast in September as a category 4, killing more than a hundred people. If a hurricane seems odd for this time of year, it is. Nicole is the first hurricane on record to make landfall after November 4th in the continental US since 1985. It’ll next move north into Georgia later today.

A long election cycle, the upcoming holiday season and workers returning to the office. There’s been no shortage of things to feel anxious about lately. So how do you counter the negativity? Do you go to the gym, ride a bike, listen to music? How about taking a walk and going bird watching? Producer PJ Elliott spoke with Ryan Hammoud, a PhD student at Kings College in London, about a study on stress and bird watching.
Ryan Hammoud 
Our study was looking at how different environmental characteristics affect mental wellbeing and mental health in general. What we ended up finding was that birds had a positive association with mental wellbeing and that positive effect could last up to eight hours.
PJ Elliott 
What gave you the idea for this study?
Ryan Hammoud 
I work at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and we’re interested in factors that can predict or factors that can increase risk of mental illness. In current modern cities and in densely populated areas, incidents of depression and psychosis and other mental illnesses are much higher than that outside and less densely populated areas. So there’s something about cities, which I suppose can sort of lead to mental illness. So there’s some factors there. So we’re trying to figure out what those factors are.
PJ Elliott 
Ryan, how were you able to determine your findings?
Ryan Hammoud 
In the past, what we had done was we looked for different environmental characteristics, which can affect mental wellbeing. We had found that trees and natural elements was a predictor of better mental wellbeing, but we wanted to check about other aspects of natural elements. So we decided to take a look at whether or not birds also had a positive effect on mental wellbeing regardless of whether or not trees were present or regardless of other natural characteristics. And we did find that, yeah, birds had a positive effect on mental wellbeing.
Taylor Wilson 
Thanks so much to artists. R2 Juno for the sound, which was recorded in New York’s Central Park. And to see what birds are in your neck of the woods this time of year, go to
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. We’re here every day of the year, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our great team for their work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.


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