Control of Congress: Why the AP hasn't called Senate, House

With the U.S Capitol in the background, people walk down steps on Election Day in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib) (Mariam Zuhaib, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – Which political party will control either chamber of Congress hangs in the balance three days and counting after the 2022 midterm elections. Let's see where things stand.


Put simply, neither party has reached the 218 seats necessary to win in the House or the 50 (for Democrats) or 51 (for Republicans) required in the Senate. When that will happen isn't clear — it could be tomorrow or it could be weeks.

The AP does not make projections and will only declare a winner when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. In some contested races where a party or candidate has a history of consistent and convincing wins The AP can use results from AP VoteCast to confirm a candidate's victory, even as soon as polls close. VoteCast is a survey of American voters aimed at determining why they voted how they did.

In House races, the AP had declared Republicans winners in 211 seats compared with 202 for the Democrats by Friday evening. Other races hadn't been called yet.

In the Senate, where about a third of the 100 seats were up for election, the count of AP race calls meant the chamber stood evenly at 49-49. If Democrats keep control of 50 seats, they keep the Senate because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote.


Key races, like contests for governor in Arizona and U.S. Senate in Nevada, remained uncalled Friday as officials there continue to tally votes, including mail-in ballots. Late Friday, AP called Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly as the winner of Arizona's U.S. Senate contest.

In other close congressional races, runoff contests are either pending or probable. The Georgia Senate contest between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, for example, will be decided in a runoff set for Dec. 6.

In Alaska, where incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola won a special election this summer to fill an open House seat held for decades by Republicans, a second round of vote tabulating could take place.

That's because Alaska has ranked choice voting in which voters rank candidates. If no one gets more than half of the votes cast Nov. 8, the person with the fewest votes gets eliminated and voters' choices count toward their second pick. The rounds continue until two candidates are left and the one with the most votes wins.

Peltola was leading Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich in a race too early to call.


In 2020, former President Donald Trump challenged outcomes in close races across the country. Those challenges failed in courts, though Trump continued to insist falsely that the race was stolen.

So far, nothing like those kinds of objections has materialized.


Mike Catalini can be reached at


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