The 2022 midterm election campaign has been a wild ride from start to finish.
The 2022 midterm election campaign has been a wild ride from start to finish. Election Day is tomorrow, so it’s time to look back at the 10 craziest stories from a midterm election to remember.
- Trump endorses his impeachment tormentors
Former President Donald Trump’s penchant for internet trolling is well-known, but the septuagenarian former president still has the capacity to surprise. In August, Trump trolled New York Democrats by sarcastically endorsing two prominent impeachment advocates, Dan Goldman in the open primary for New York’s 10th and Rep. Carolyn Maloney in New York’s 12th.
- Republicans flip 85% Hispanic district in a special election
Republican rising star Mayra Flores shook up the political world when she stormed the national stage over the summer. Flores flipped an 85% Hispanic district in South Texas in a special election in a powerful indicator of the rightward shift among Latino voters. Flores, the first Mexican-born Congresswoman, is now locked in a tough reelection battle for her first full term.
- Ohio Republican’s fictitious war record forces GOP to cut bait
Ohio Republican J.R. Majewski made his stories of deploying to Afghanistan, not bathing for forty days while deployed, and his campaign medals a central component of his campaign to oust Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. One problem: they were all fiction. While Majewski never served in Afghanistan, he did achieve the difficult feat of forcing Republicans to pull funding from a seat Trump won.
- The trials and tribulations of Sean Patrick Maloney
Party campaign chiefs should be running their national campaign strategy, not scrambling to defend their own turf. Enter Sean Patrick Maloney. The New York Democrat wrecked another Democrat’s congressional career to run in a slightly-safer district for Democrats, only to find himself locked in a tossup race and in danger of being the first campaign chief to lose reelection in forty years. Not ideal!
- Democrats spend tens of millions backing far-right Republicans
While President Joe Biden and leading Democrats warned of the “threat to democracy” posed by “extreme MAGA Republicans,” Democratic campaign consultants worked hard to help far-right candidates win Republican primaries under the theory they’d be easier to beat in the general election. All told, Democrats would spend tens of millions backing far-right candidates, many of whom could end up winning tomorrow.
- The Herschel Walker drama
Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign is certainly unconventional – whipping out a police badge at a Senate debate proved that. The former University of Georgia football star has survived scandals – allegations he paid for an abortion in 2009, reports of several unacknowledged children – that would’ve brought down lesser candidates. Even after a tidal wave of negative coverage, Walker remains neck-and-neck with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock.
- Lee Zeldin’s crime message hits home
Lee Zeldin, the GOP nominee for Governor of New York, has surged into contention in the solidly Democratic Empire State on an anti-crime platform. Zeldin’s broadsides against crime and New York’s permissive new bail law took on a new dimension in July. A man got up on stage and tried to stab Zeldin at a campaign event, only to be set free by New York’s bail laws within 24 hours of the attack. Later in October, the shooting of two teenagers outside Zeldin’s home added another personal dimension to Zeldin’s tough-on-crime message.
- Vegas Democrat stabs reporter he blames for his primary defeat
Robert Telles, a Las Vegas-area public official, could’ve blamed his Democratic primary defeat on his unprofessional conduct or his decision to conduct an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. Instead, Telles blamed Jeff German, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter who uncovered the turmoil. In September, Telles was arrested for stabbing German to death.
- Biden tries to commune with the dead
President Joe Biden’s call for Rep. Jackie Walorski at a White House event nearly two months after her tragic death in a car accident launched a wave of stories about the president’s mental acuity and fitness to serve and turned the nation’s oldest president into a punchline. White House Press Secretary Karine John-Pierre repeated nearly a dozen times that Walorski was “top of mind” while denying that there was anything odd about Biden calling for a dead woman.
- The Fetterman-Oz debate
The Pennsylvania Senate debate between John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz, celebrity heart surgeon and the first Muslim major-party Senate candidate, may have been the oddest political debate in American history. Fetterman, the Democrat, obviously struggled to get his message out as he recovered from a stroke while refusing to release his medical records to the public.
- NBC News covered the stranger-than-fiction downfall of Texas Republican Rep. Van Taylor. Taylor dropped his reelection bid in March after admitting the explosive allegations that he was having an affair with a former “ISIS bride.” Taylor allegedly paid her to keep quiet – evidently, he didn’t pay her enough.
- HuffPost recalled the unusual campaign tactics of independent candidate Mike Itkis. The New York congressional candidate released a pornographic video starring himself to highlight “sex positivity.” A New York-area publication called it a “grunt for attention.”
- Rolling Stone chronicled the many scandals that ended 26-year-old first-term Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s Congressional career. Among other things, Cawthorn made unsubstantiated allegations about congressional orgies and cocaine use, was twice cited for driving on a suspended license, tried to bring a loaded gun through airport security, and was implicated in an insider trading scheme.
- National Review highlighted Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ argument that abortion is a fix for rising inflation. “Having children is why you’re worried about your price of gas,” as “You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.”
- The New York Post shared the rap video a Utah grandmother dropped to aid her campaign for state Senate. Linda Paulson, a Republican, rapped “I love God and family and the Constitution” and “as a female adult, I know what a woman is.”
- The Daily Wire collected reactions from Ben Shapiro and others to President Biden’s infamous “Dark Brandon” speech. Biden called Republicans “threats to democracy” while flanked by Marines in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. The angry address delivered in front of a blood-red backdrop became the image that launched a thousand memes.
© Dominic Moore, 2022