Republicans did not have as strong a showing in the midterm elections as they had hoped, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday night, telling NBC News, "Definitely not a Republican wave, that's for darn sure."
Specifically, "a wave would have been capturing New Hampshire and Colorado," Graham said. In New Hampshire, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) held onto her seat, defeating Republican Don Bolduc, while Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) fended off a challenge from Republican Joe O'Dea.
Bolduc, a retired Army general, held far-right views, and went back and forth on claims of election fraud. Prior to winning the GOP primary, he falsely asserted that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, but after his victory in September, he admitted President Biden did in fact win in 2020. Later, during an October debate with Hassan, Bolduc claimed without evidence that out-of-state voters were being driven by the busload into New Hampshire to cast ballots.
New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won re-election on Tuesday, and Graham suggested that had there been a less extreme GOP Senate candidate alongside him on the ballot, that person likely would have won. "If you run that far behind your governor candidate, you probably made a mistake," he said.
House and Senate control still hang in the balance, and it's likely the final numbers won't be known for a few weeks. Graham campaigned hard for several Republicans whose races are still too early or close to call, including Herschel Walker in Georgia and Blake Masters in Arizona. While he did give Democrats a "hats off" for performing "well in a lot of these swing districts," Graham remained confident that Republicans will pick up "51, 52" seats in the Senate.