Harvard students and affiliates flooded the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Tuesday evening to await the results of the 2022 midterm elections at a watch party hosted by the Institute of Politics.
The watch party, moderated by former CNN anchor Brian Stelter, featured commentary from students in the IOP, as well as former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a visiting fellow at the IOP this semester, and a guest speaker from Black Voters Matter, LaTosha Brown.
Shortly after polls closed in Massachusetts at 8 p.m., the Associated Press called the state’s gubernatorial race for Maura T. Healey ’92. Election results from states across the country also began to roll in.
Tarina K. Ahuja ’24, a member of the IOP, said she was nervous about the “big elections” in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, which could flip party control of the U.S. House and Senate.
“There are a couple of states that have come in, but I think the ones that we’ve seen so far are the things that we’ve been expecting,” she said. “I’m just holding on to see what happens with all of the ones that are kind of up in the air still.”
Even as the viewing party came to a close at 10 p.m., results from many states remained uncertain.
Nahla C. Owens ’25, who hails from Georgia and Texas, two states with key races in this election cycle, said the midterm elections would have been “terrifying to watch alone.”
“I’m really grateful for the watch parties that are happening both with Dems and IOP and having spaces to react with people together,” she said.
“I think a lot of students who are Democrats came into this maybe not with the highest of hopes, understanding that there were seats that we were going to lose,” she added. “But I feel like there's just so much energy in this room that the optimism is rising as the night goes along.”
Eunice S. Chon ’25, an independent voter from Georgia, said she expects the race to end in favor of incumbent Governor Brian P. Kemp.
“My home state is GA, which is a key swing state this midterm election season,” she wrote in a statement. “I’m pretty sure that the governor’s race isn’t that close. Kemp will win.”
Chon said the midterm elections revealed the nation’s hyperpolarization and highlighted the differences in priorities between parties.
“Democrats fought hard on abortion and protecting our democracy. Republicans focused on inflation and economic frustrations,” she wrote. “Neglecting any of these issues was a sure-fire way to seem out of touch.”
After hours of watching the polls, students — along with the rest of the country — are still waiting for final results to come in.
Luke D. M. Albert ’22, co-president of the Harvard College Democrats, urged voters to “let the democratic process take place and ensure it’s taking place without being interfered with.”
“We’re all anxious, of course, but we’re balancing hope and balancing fear together,” he said.
—Claire Yuan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @claireyuan33.