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Despite not seeing a 'Red Wave' Republicans have strong showing in Midwest

Outside of a few states, Michigan included, margins of victory for Republican candidates generally grew in states across the Midwest compared to 2020.

MICHIGAN, USA — Republicans may not have gotten the "Red Wave" they were hoping for in the midterm elections, but there are some bright spots for the party's future.

Throughout the Midwest, most states are showing increased support for the Republican party, or at least showing less support for Democrats.

While in states like Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota, Democrats margin of victory generally grew between the 2020 and 2022 elections, most midwestern states showed the opposite trend.

Republicans should be happy with the vast majority of results coming out of the Midwest, with nine states showing moderate to heavy growth in margins of victory between the 2020 and 2022 elections.

The analysis of voter trends presented in this article are based off the 2020 presidential election results compared to statewide race election results from the 2022 midterms.

Keep in mind that comparing 2020 to 2022 has its drawbacks, with one being a presidential election that brought out historic numbers of voters and the other being a midterm election which generally has far fewer people vote. But despite this, there are still some takeaways that can be made by comparing the two elections.

Let's take a look at how each midwestern state looked between the two elections.


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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker laughs at a question during a press conference at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Illinois is still very much a blue state with Democrats retaining full control of the state legislature and the governorship in the midterm elections, but that doesn't mean that the Republicans didn't gain ground.

Looking at the gubernatorial results in 2022 compared with the presidential results in 2020, Democrats lost a lot of ground in terms of margins of victory—a trend that is seen widely throughout the state.

In Illinois, nearly every county saw Republicans gain ground in margins of victory with the largest gains in Western and Southeastern counties.


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Todd Young, Republican speaks for U.S. Senate, speaks Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, during a GOP election night event in Indianapolis. (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Indiana remained a Republican stronghold in the 2022 midterm election, holding on to the governorship and state legislature with ease.

When comparing the 2020 election results to the midterms, it shows that support for the GOP has grown steadily in many counties in the state. The increase in margins of victory for Republicans was especially pronounced in the Northern and Southern counties in the state, with only a few counties showing growth for Democrats.

Democrats only have a few bastion counties that are home to the urban centers of Indianapolis, Bloomington and Gary and even those showed a increase in Republican support in 2022.


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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to supporters during a Republican Party of Iowa election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa is another solidly red state, with Republicans controlling the legislature and governorship in a trifecta of power.

The 2022 midterm election in Iowa proved to be very successful for Republicans, picking up seats in both houses of the state legislature.

In addition to the big wins in the state, Iowa also saw a relatively large gain in the margins of victory for Republican candidates between the 2020 and 2022 elections.


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Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, gives a victory speech at an election party in Overland Park, Kan., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Moran won a third term, defeating Democrat challenger Mark Holland. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

The red state of Kansas saw expected victories for Republicans outside of a few races in the state. The Governorship remained under Democratic control after a Trump endorsed candidate narrowly lost the race to incumbent Laura Kelly, but the GOP still controls the house and senate. Republicans also retained control of the attorney general and secretary of state positions in the government.

While the Democrats are poised to have a pickup of maybe one or two seats in the Kansas House of Representatives, the margins of victory the Republicans saw in statewide races in 2022 compared to the presidential election of 2020 grew by a lot.

The shift in voting trends happened across the state and showed strong growth for Republicans in the majority of counties in Kansas.


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Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during Election Night, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Michigan has been a battleground state for decades, with Republicans historically performing well in state legislature races while seeing split results on statewide races like the governorship. However, in 2022, those trends ended with a huge surge in support for Democrats across the state.

For the first time in four decades, the Democrats took control of both houses of the state legislature while retaining control of the governorship. Dems also saw the incumbent attorney general and secretary of state get reelected in the midterms.

The voting trend in Michigan saw a big increase in support for the Democratic party with every single county in the state seeing larger margins of victory for Democrats and smaller margins of victory for Republicans.

The change in the state's voting trends is in part due to redistricting which was first observed in the 2022 midterm elections. The redistricting made many races across the state much more competitive, which benefitted Democrats this election cycle.

The state looks to be leaning more Democrat, but abortion rights on the ballot rallied a lot of liberals to the polls, so it is unclear if this is the direction the state will be leaning in future elections.


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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks to the media Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota Democrats completed a trifecta Wednesday by winning both houses of the legislature to take full control of state government for the first time in eight years. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

A red wave was expected in Minnesota's midterm elections, but instead a blue wave was seen as Democrats took control of the legislature and the governorship.

Minnesota had been a relatively strong supporter of Democrats, but that trend has began to shift to a more competitive political environment over the past couple decades.

That competitiveness can be seen in how the state's voting trends changed from the 2020 presidential election through the 2022 midterms. Although the state saw a slight increase in margins of victory for Democrats, it wasn't absolute as many counties on the West half of the state saw increased Republican support.

While Minnesota remains blue for now, the state appears to be heading towards more of a battleground state in the future.


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Republican Eric Schmitt delivers a victory speech in the race for U.S. Senate, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Maryland Heights, Mo. Schmitt defeated Democratic challenger Trudy Busch Valentine. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Missouri is a solidly red state with Republicans retaining control of the state senate and the governorship in the midterms. But, this Republican stronghold saw a surprising trend in statewide races in 2022.

When looking at the margins of victory for Donald Trump in 2020 and comparing them to the senate race from 2022, the majority of the state saw increased Democrat support.

Nearly every county in the state saw Republican's margin of victory shrink between the two elections. The only counties that showed increased Republican support were in the Southeast corner of Missouri.

Even though Democrats had a stronger than usual showing in the midterms, the party is still far from being competitive across the entire state.


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Rep. Don Bacon holds signs on the southeast corner of 90th and Dodge on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Omaha, Neb. Bacon is up for reelection today. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Nebraska is another solidly Republican stronghold in the Midwest and it did not waver in the midterms. Republicans in the state did very well.

One of the few competitive seats was Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District where Republican incumbent Don Bacon narrowly won.

Nebraska is unique in that it only has one chamber and it doesn't recognize party affiliation in its state legislature, but candidates still affiliate themselves with either the GOP or the Democrats. So, despite the makeup of the legislature listed as independent, Republicans control the Unicameral legislature.

Nebraska's voting trends showed slight increases in support for Republicans in most counties and some strong growth in the Eastern half of the state.

North Dakota

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George Struchynski and his wife, Rita, share a voting booth as they fill in their ballots in Bismarck, North Dakota, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

The extremely red state of North Dakota continued to be a strong state for Republicans in 2022. The GOP is firmly in control of the state legislature and the governorship, which incumbent John Hoeven won by over 20 points.

Democrats do so poorly in the state that many of the closest races end up being between a Republican and an Independent.

The 2022 midterms showed that the state is still a GOP bastion and that it shows no signs of changing anytime soon. The voting trends show some minor declines in Republican margins of victory in a few counties, but also had some increases in others.


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Republican U.S. Sen.-elect JD Vance speaks during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

While the red wave was not seen nationwide, Ohio saw huge wins for Republicans and former President Donald Trump. Republicans in the state retained control of the legislature, picking up seats in the process, and retained the governorship.

A big win for Trump and Republicans was J.D. Vance easily winning a US Senate seat. Vance was a Trump-backed candidate who was thought to maybe have too extreme of views to win, an estimate that was incorrect.

Ohio has been thought of as a swing state in the past, but the 2022 midterms seem to show otherwise. When statewide race results were compared to the 2020 presidential election, the entire state saw large increases in Republican candidate's margins of victories. If that trend holds up in 2024, Ohio might be considered a red state moving forward.

South Dakota

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at her election watch party after winning re-election on Tuesday evening, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux Falls, S.D. (Erin Woodiel/The Argus Leader via AP)

South Dakota, like its sister state to the North, remained a solidly Republican state after the midterms. Democrats picked up a single seat in the senate, but lost at least two seats in the house.

The Republican party also won the races for governor, a US Senate seat and a US Congressional seat. And with the state being very red before, it is trending even more in favor of the GOP compared to the 2020 presidential election.

Both Dakotas don't show any signs of turning colors anytime soon.


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Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks to his supporters in the early morning hours at an election night party in Neenah, Wis., Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

The Democrats retained the governorship in Wisconsin, but their success pretty much ended there. The Republicans picked up seats in both chambers of the state legislature, which they already had a strong control over, and GOP incumbent Ron Johnson narrowly won reelection to the US Senate.

The state, which in the past had favored more liberal candidates, seems to be turning more red in recent years. Despite casting its Electoral College votes for Biden in 2020, Wisconsin's senate and house delegates have seen more Republicans in recent years.

Comparing the presidential election in 2020 to statewide races in 2022 also shows that many counties in the state are voting more for GOP candidates. Only a few counties saw increases in margins of victory for Democrats and those were in already strong Democratic areas around Milwaukee and Madison.

So, after looking at the rest of the region, even though the Republicans in Michigan lost far more than they anticipated, they still had very strong showings throughout the Midwest.

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