The United States Mid-Term Election Process Explained

House Delegations

In a previous post, I explained about the US election process and once again, I’ve received an email asking me to explain the mid-term election process.

Unlike the presidential election process, the mid-term – also held every four years, is an election of senators and representatives, the representatives – as implied – being those that represent each district within each state of the union.

It should be noted that like the presidential election, the mid-term elections are also held on November 8th.

During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate were contested.

Thirty-nine state and territorial gubernatorial elections, as well as numerous other state and local elections, were contested.

The results will determine the 118th United States Congress. This was the first election affected by the 2022 U.S. redistricting that followed the 2020 U.S. census.

A predicted red wave, named after the color of the Republican Party, did not materialize and the race for U.S. Congress control has been closer than expected. As of November 10, Republicans are favored to regain control of the House with a narrow majority of 3 seats (214–221) according to Decision Desk HQ, while the Senate remains too close to call.

While midterm elections often see the president’s party lose a significant number of seats in the U.S. Congress, preliminary results instead saw Democratic Party candidates dramatically outperform these historical trends, making this the best performance for the president’s party since the 1950 U.S. midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Republican Party candidates that were backed by Donald Trump under-performed significantly.

Both general turnout and among young voters (18–29) is the second highest (after 2018) of any midterm since 1970.

Issues that favored Democrats included significant concern over respect for democratic norms among Republicans as part of democratic backsliding, abortion rights, and the status of abortion in the United States after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and a potential Trump 2024 election campaign.

The elections reflected trends that started in 2012, in which the white American working-class and since 2016 minorities, in particular those who are working class and/or Hispanic and Latino Americans, moved towards Republicans, while affluent and college-educated whites continued to move towards the Democrats.

Six referendums to preserve or expand abortion access uniformly won, including in the states of Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Montana, as did those increasing the minimum wage (Nebraska and Nevada) and expanding Medicaid coverage (South Dakota). In other elections, Democrats gained full control of government in Minnesota and gained in Pennsylvania. In the state of Michigan, Democrats took full control of government for the first time since 1983. Democrats made further gains in the 2022 U.S. gubernatorial elections (Maryland and Massachusetts), while Republicans outperformed in Florida.

Several notable Native American tribes are holding elections for tribal executive positions during 2022, including the Kaw Nation, Cheyenne River Sioux, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, and Delaware Tribe of Indians.

During 2022, Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and Tribal Council Chief Beverly Kiohawiton Cook of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe were both re-elected to third terms. Chairman Marshalle Pierite of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma chief Craig Harper, and Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation tribal chairman Joseph Rupnik were re-elected for a second term.

The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska re-elected Tribal President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson to a fifth term; Lynn “Nay” Valbuena was also elected to serve a fifth term as chair of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Also re-elected were the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma chief Craig Harper and Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community president Martin Harvier, as well as the Quapaw Nation chairman Joseph Byrd. Bill Sterud was re-elected as chair of the Puyallup Tribe; he first joined the Puyallup Tribal Council in 1978. Reid D. Milanovich was elected chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, replacing the retiring Jeff Grubbe. Clayton Dumont Jr. won an open seat to become chairman of the Klamath Tribes.

Arden L. Kucate was elected governor of the Pueblo of Zuni. In the Wabanaki Confederacy, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk re-elected William Nicholas to a fourth term as chief; chief Kirk Francis was elected to serve a sixth term as head of the Penobscot Nation; and tribal representative Rena Newell was elected chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, ousting Chief Maggie Dana.

Several other tribal leaders were defeated when seeking re-election. Buu Nygren defeated Jonathan Nez to become president of the Navajo Nation; Nygren’s running mate, Richelle Montoya, is the first woman elected as Navajo Nation vice president. Lora Ann Chaisson defeated August “Cocoa” Creppel in the election for principal chief of the United Houma Nation. Kasey Velasquez defeated chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatwood to become the second woman elected to lead the White Mountain Apache Tribe. RoseMary LaClair defeated incumbent Nooksack Indian Tribe Tribal chairman Roswell Cline Sr. Former Red Lake Band of Chippewa chairman Floyd “Buck” Jourdain defeated incumbent Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki Sr.