Democrats took the House and Republicans kept the Senate
Was there really a “blue wave”? Sort of. The Democrats flipped enough Republican seats to take control of the House in victories widely seen as a rebuke to President Trump. Meanwhile, the Republicans — as predicted — kept the Senate and potentially expanded their majority.
It was not an overwhelmingly blue wave as many Republicans hung on in districts where Trump won by big margins in 2016.
Beto O'Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz
A last-minute endorsement from Beyoncé did not help Rep. Beto O'Rourke beat incumbent Texas senator Ted Cruz in one of the most closely watched races of the midterm elections. O'Rourke's grassroots messaging and relentless campaigning made him a Democratic rising star who presented a real challenge to Cruz in a deeply red state. But he couldn't defeat Cruz, making many O'Rourke fans very, very sad.
Obama-endorsed Andrew Gillum lost to Trump-endorsed Ron DeSantis
Barack Obama-backed candidate Andrew Gillum lost the Florida gubernatorial race to Trump ally Ron DeSantis after a hotly contested race that often delved into ugliness. Gillum — who would have been the state's first black governor had he won — was targeted by robocalls from a neo-Nazi organization, while DeSantis warned voters on Fox News not to "monkey this up" by voting for his opponent.
Gillum also delivered one of the biggest burns of the midterm elections, when he said this during a debate: "Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist."
"This was from the very beginning an extremely, extremely difficult task," Gillum said in his emotional concession speech on Tuesday night. "I sincerely regret that I couldn’t bring it home for you."
A historic night of firsts
At 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the former bartender from the Bronx and darling of progressive Democrats, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids won seats in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, becoming the first two Native American women in Congress.
Colorado Democrat Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor in the country.
It was also an election to remember for first-time voters — young, old, and new US citizens — who shared their heartwarming stories about casting their first ballot.
Some very controversial candidates won
Republican Rep. Steve King — who has endorsed neo-Nazi views on Twitter, has defended a white nationalist, and has a well-documented history of making racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant comments — won reelection in Iowa.
Denver Riggleman, the Republican candidate accused of circulating Bigfoot erotica, and later of "liking" racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive Facebook pages, won his bid for a US House seat in Virginia.
Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison was elected Minnesota’s attorney general despite allegations of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend.
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey won reelection despite being indicted on federal corruption charges in 2015.
What about those viral ad candidates?
Republican Congressman Paul Gosar — whose own siblings famously urged voters not to elect him in a viral campaign ad for his opponent — won reelection in Arizona.
And retired Air Force pilot Amy McGrath, who got the nation's attention in a viral ad highlighting her career as a Marine, lost the Kentucky House race to Republican Rep. Andy Barr.
Failed celebrity endorsements
Beyoncé's endorsement of Beto O'Rourke for the Texas Senate less than three hours before the polls closed did not help the Democrat beat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Taylor Swift's surprise endorsement of former Gov. Phil Bredesen also did not help him beat Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn for a US Senate seat.