California passes three propositions as races in both houses of Congress remain close

Nov. 9, 2022, 1:58 a.m.

California voters passed measures to add abortion rights to the state’s constitution, ban the sale of flavored tobacco and increase public school funding for arts programs, according to the California Secretary of State. Nationally, Republicans are likely to take control of the House of Representatives while the Senate remains a toss-up, according to Politico’s forecast.

Pew Research Center surveys show that the economy has consistently been the top issue for voters this election season, with Americans having a primarily negative view of the country’s economic situation. The issue of abortion also rose sharply in voter priorities after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

California

California voters had the fewest propositions on their ballots in more than a century with only seven state measures this year. This relatively small amount is largely due to proponents withdrawing their measures after negotiating and compromising with the California legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Proposition 1, the addition of the right to an abortion and contraceptive use to the state constitution, passed with overwhelming support. Other propositions that are projected to pass include Prop. 28 — which provides funding for arts and music programs in public schools — and Prop. 31 — which places a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco.

The gambling propositions did not receive enough support from voters to pass. Prop. 26, which would have allowed sports betting on tribal lands, and Prop. 27, the proposed legalization of online sports betting in agreement with Native American tribes, were both rejected by wide margins. The New York Times also projected that both Prop. 29, regulation on kidney dialysis clinic staffing, and Prop. 30, increased taxes on the wealthy to fund electric vehicle and climate programs, will fail to pass.

Stanford’s House Representative, incumbent Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), is projected to win the general election for California’s 16th Congressional District. Before redistricting in accordance with the 2020 Census, Eshoo represented California’s 18th Congressional District, which included Stanford.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Newsom will continue to serve as the 40th governor of California, after defeating his Republican challenger, California State Senator Brian Dahle.

Incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla (D) will be California’s first elected Latino senator after defending his seat from Republican candidate Mark Meuser; Padilla was first appointed to the Senate by Gov. Newsom after former Sen. Kamala Harris resigned to become Vice President.

Congress

In Congress, 35 seats in the Senate were up for election as well as the entirety of the House of Representatives. Sixteen states did not have a Senate election.

Despite increased support for Democrats in Congress shortly after the Dobbs decision, Republicans have consistently been projected to take the House, as the president’s party typically does poorly in midterm elections.

Oklahoma held a special election after Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) announced his resignation effective next year. The Associated Press called that Republican candidate Markwayne Mullin will fill Inhofe’s final four years in Congress. Mullin would be the first Native American in the U.S. Senate in almost 20 years.

Incumbent Sen. James Lankford (R) is projected to keep another Republican seat for Oklahoma.

Voters showed concern about Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s (D) ability to continue his Senate campaign against Republican candidate and television presenter Mehmet Oz after Fetterman suffered a stroke days before the May primary. Despite this, the Associated Press called the state’s highly contentious race for Fetterman, flipping the previously Republican Senate seat.

Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson held a slight lead in polls shortly before Wisconsin’s tight race. Johnson is expected to keep his seat in the battleground state, defending his position against Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov. of Wisconsin Mandela Barnes. 

Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), former football running back Herschel Walker (R) and Chase Oliver (L) competed in Georgia’s Senate race this year. In October, Walker denied allegations that he paid at least one woman to have an abortion, hurting support for his campaign from some conservative voters. 


Despite support from all parties, none of the three candidates earned 50% of the vote, causing the election to advance to a runoff. Georgia voters will return to the polls in December, this time deciding solely between Warnock and Walker.

Gubernatorial races

Democrats flipped the governor’s offices in Maryland and Massachusetts with the projected victories of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D-Mass.) and investment banker and television producer Wes Moore (D-Md.). Healey is projected to be Massachusetts’s first elected female governor and the first openly lesbian governor in the country. Moore is due to become the first Black governor of Maryland.

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-Ark.) is projected to become Arkansas’s first woman governor after beating Democratic candidate Chris Jones.

This article has been updated to include results from the Wisconsin and Georgia Senate races. More updates will follow as races are called.

Mark Allen Cu '26 is a news writer for science and technology at The Daily. Contact him at [email protected]

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