Democrats also defended two competitive seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and took one in Michigan, because their candidates were well ahead of Republican election deniers.
And Democratic governor candidates in four states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland and Illinois — easily sent Republican candidates after ads in the Republican primaries earlier this year.
The Michigan House race, where Democrat Hillary Scholten was expected to defeat Republican John Gibbs, could have particular consequences, as it would allow Democrats to take a seat from Republicans and make up for losses elsewhere.
Republicans were widely expected to gain control of the House, but as of Wednesday morning, the election did not bring the overwhelming “red wave” victory they had been seeking.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Party’s campaign arm, had been criticized this summer when it spent $2.4 million on the Republican primary to help Gibbs defeat incumbent Representative Peter Meijer, who is one of only 10 members of his party were in the House to vote to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
The DCCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic groups spent at least $51.5 million on Republican primaries this year, according to a Reuters count. But they didn’t always get the results they wanted: In races in Colorado, Nevada, California and Virginia, the candidate they supported didn’t win the primary.
Most of that money was spent in Illinois, where incumbent Governor JB Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) spent $34.5 million in the Republican primary to undermine a relatively moderate candidate. Pritzker easily won re-election on Tuesday.
The DGA also ran ads reinforcing the conservative credentials of Republican election deniers in Maryland and Michigan, who won their primary but lost the general election.
“It was critical to define Republicans early and never let them come out of their extremist box,” said DGA spokesman David Turner.
In Pennsylvania, victorious Democratic governor candidate Josh Shapiro said he ran ads against Republican Doug Mastriano in the primaries because he saw him as the most likely candidate, not because he was the most extreme.
“I was trying to start the general election campaign,” he told Reuters.
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