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Gen Z Sets Records In Historical 2022 Midterm Elections

By: Nickolas Bartel (President of the W&J Student Voting Coalition, Red & Black Contributor )

Leavitt's key campaign issues according to her website include "law and order", "the second amendment", and "protecting the border". (Photo Courtesy https://www.karolineforcongress.com/)

NOV. 18 - Democratic and Republican parties may disagree on major political issues, but they have seen the importance of the youth vote. Leading up to the midterm election, nonprofit groups such as NextGen America, the nonpartisan Campus Vote Project, and conservative Turning Point USA were focused on getting young people registered and turning out to vote before the 2022 midterm elections. Tuft University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) reported 7,000 new young voters in Pennsylvania (PA) since 2018.

These efforts rallied the youth's interest in the election, as a week prior to Election Day, Data for Progress polling reported that two-thirds of young PA residents and 80% of young people in college were either “enthusiastic” or “more enthusiastic” about voting. Both the Democratic and Republican youth voter bases were particularly excited about the upcoming election as 74% of young voters in each party reported being either “enthusiastic” or “more enthusiastic” about voting.

This excitement continued to Election Day as CIRCLE reported that 2022 was the second highest youth voter turnout in nearly three decades. The youth vote allowed the Democrats to remain in control of the Senate. Senator Cortez-Masto (D-NV) won by a tight 8,000 vote margin as she also won the youth vote by 120,000 votes. Without young voters in Nevada, the Democrats would have lost the Senate. In Pennsylvania, youth voters played a significant role in Senator-elect Fetterman’s 190,000 vote victory margin as he won the youth vote by 120,000 votes.

"Despite differing political backgrounds, young people are showing up with strong political engagement at the ballot box or running as elected officials."

Gen Z capitalized on the 2022 midterms being the first election eligible for them to run in the U.S. House. In the tossup 1st Congressional District in New Hampshire, 25-year-old Karoline Leavitt ran after her time as a presidential writer and assistant press secretary in the Trump administration. She was able to secure 46% of the vote in the General Election with 142,000 votes despite being outspent by over $1.6 million by her Democratic opponent. This followed her underdog Republican primary victory earlier this year beating several other candidates including fellow Gen Z member, State Representative Tim Baxter.

In Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the Orlando area, 25-year-old representative-elect Maxwell Frost won his election with 59% of the vote with a nearly a 40,000-vote margin. Frost was the national organizing director for the anti-gun violence advocacy group March for Our Lives before running for office. He won his primary in August with 34% of the vote beating former U.S. Representative Alan Grayson who was in office for six years and former U.S. Representative Corrine Brown who served for twenty-four years, among other candidates. After the primaries, fellow progressive Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Markey endorsed Frost. His victory marks him as the first member of Generation Z to become a U.S. Representative.

Despite differing political backgrounds, young people are showing up with strong political engagement at the ballot box or running as elected officials. The midterms have shown that Generation Z cannot be ignored anymore.
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