The results of the midterm elections and the expected red wave that never materialized will likely dominate this week’s Sunday talk shows circuit.
The Republican Party has hoped to make large gains in both houses of Congress, in line with a historical trend that usually sees the president’s party lose seats in Congress in the midterms. But Democrats outperformed polls in major House, Senate and gubernatorial races across the country, causing disappointment among the GOP.
Republicans are still favored to win a majority in the House, but their margin will likely be narrow, no more than a few seats. Either party could win the majority in the Senate, but Republicans must win both yet-to-be-called races, in Nevada and Georgia, to win control.
Members of the GOP have expressed their dismay since most races were called Tuesday, which showed early on that a major shift in voting in favor of Republicans was not going to happen.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who serves as the chairman of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the elections were a “complete disappointment” for the party and blamed low voter turnout among Republicans for the results.
“I think we’ve got to reflect now,” Scott said. “What didn’t happen? I think we didn’t have enough of a positive message. We said everything about how bad the Biden agenda was. It’s bad, the Democrats are radical, but we have to have a plan of what we stand for.”
Scott, who will appear on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures, was rumored to be considering a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for leading the Senate Republicans but reportedly decided against it after the party’s top Trump-backed candidates lost.
The party has turned a bit to the question of who is to blame for Tuesday’s results, with some pointing the finger at former President Trump, who endorsed various candidates in key races who were viewed as weaker choices but more loyal to him.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said in an interview on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel that he blamed Scott and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their comments on Social Security and abortion, respectively.
Scott had proposed during the campaign pushing for Congress to be required to renew Social Security funding every five years, leading to Democrats to attack the GOP and accuse it of planning major cuts to the program and Medicare.
Graham proposed a national 15-week abortion ban in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, drawing more attention to Democratic attacks that Republicans would try to ban abortion nationally if they retook control of Congress.
Exit polls showed voters considered the economy to be the most important issue, but abortion came in a close second. Democrats got a boost in the polls after Roe was overturned, gaining an advantage from voter enthusiasm to protect abortion rights.
Sununu, who is appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said Scott and Graham’s actions caused voters to “push back on extremism.”
Following Democrats’ widespread success despite their likelihood of losing their narrow majority in the House, attention on the left side of the political aisle has shifted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and whether she will continue to serve as the party’s leader in the House.
Pelosi, who will appear on “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” has served as the Democratic leader in the House for 15 years. She had previously signaled that she would step aside from her leadership role at the end of this congressional session, but the strong performance from her party in the midterms has given her more power to decide what she wants to do.
Pelosi was crucial to Democrats’ success in House races, directing $276 million to vulnerable Democratic lawmakers. She has remained mostly quiet about whether she will stay in her role but has said that her decision “will be affected” by the attack on her husband, Paul, last month.
The party’s success is also a significant win for President Biden, whose approval ratings in the low 40s did not seem to hurt his party’s performance as much as some expected leading up to Election Day.
This year’s elections saw the best performance for a sitting president’s party since the 2002 midterms, in which Republicans gained seats in both houses of Congress. President George W. Bush’s approval rating remained near 70 percent in Gallup polling at the time as the country had recently passed the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Biden, will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Democrats also scored big victories in closely watched gubernatorial races, with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro easily beating Republican Doug Mastriano and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer fending off a challenge from Republican Tudor Dixon.
Shapiro and Whitmer will both appear on “State of the Union.”
Wes Moore, the Democratic governor-elect of Maryland, also easily defeated Republican Dan Cox in his election, setting him in line to become the first Black governor of the state. Moore will appear on “Fox News Sunday.”
Republicans did clinch some key victories to keep Congress closely divided and had some strong performances in races they did not win. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won reelection by almost 20 points, and Republicans in the state performed well up and down the ballot.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who was seen as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Senate, held off a challenge from Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) to win reelection, despite Democratic Gov. Tony Evers also winning his reelection campaign in the state.
Johnson will appear on “Sunday Morning Futures,” as will Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
Zeldin performed impressively in New York against Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). Hochul held on to win the race but only by about 6 points.
Below is the full list of guests scheduled to appear on this week’s Sunday talk shows:
ABC’s “This Week” –– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.)
NBC’s “Meet the Press” –– Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Anita Dunn, senior adviser to President Biden
CBS’ “Face the Nation” –– Dunn; Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-Md.)
CNN’s “State of the Union” –– Pelosi; Govs. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.); Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.)
“Fox News Sunday” –– Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.); Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D-Md.)
Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” –– Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.); Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.); Stephen Miller, former White House senior adviser and president of America First Legal; Kari Lake, Republican nominee for governor of Arizona