Live Blog: 2018 Midterm Election Updates, News and Analysis
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2:25am | Cassie: Just in: Democrat Jacky Rosen narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller in Nevada. This is the ONLY pickup Democrats have gotten in the Senate this election. This speaks volumes about Republicans’ ability to not only hold onto the Senate, but to also pick up seats. Ultimately, it was a good night for Republicans in the Senate. They were mostly untouched by the anticipated (now non-existent) “blue wave.” Considering that so much about elections is based on the “expectations game,” Democrats have largely lost it this election.
12:40am Carrie: I agree with Hadley’s analysis of what to expect as a result of tonight, but it’s important not to overlook the importance of Republicans making gains in the Senate. This could help end the log-jam of nominees and have important implications for future judicial nominations.
12:00am Hadley: What do tonight’s results mean for 2020? It was not a blue wave, but a normal political fluctuation. We will have a divided government, with Republicans controlling the White House and Senate while Democrats control the House. The next two years are likely to see stalemate on many major policy issues, given how far apart the two parties are. However, there may be compromise on some issues, like infrastructure, for example. The next days and weeks will be time for both parties to pour over exit polls and learn where they missed opportunities. The GOP needs to learn how to communicate better on issues like health care. Democrats suffered in areas where they ran too-progressive candidates (like Georgia and Florida), but did well in Kansas with a more pragmatic gubernatorial candidate. It bodes well for Republicans to win in important swing states like Ohio and Florida. They could potentially take back the House and keep the White House in 2020, leading to once-again united GOP control. However, Democrats will be looking for the right candidate to run against Trump in 2020, and it will be easier for them to make the next election a true referendum on the president since he will actually be on the ballot next time. Candidates matter and messages matter. But most of all, I agree with Mike Braun, Indiana Senator-elect, who said tonight, “It should be about ideas.”
11:45pm | Cassie: Interesting tweet from Senator John Cornyn: “Every Democratic Senator in a red state who voted against Judge Kavanaugh has so far lost their election.” Wow. This confirms what our polls showed -- that voters care deeply about due process and fairness.
11:30pm | Cassie: As Dana Bash just mentioned on CNN, “Republicans have outperformed the polls” yet again this election cycle. Many voters, campaign staffers, political pundits, and talking heads are shocked by many of the election outcomes versus the polling predictions. But what is interesting this cycle is the un- or under-reported Republican vote. Many Republican voters don’t trust pollsters and/or don’t want to admit to supporting the President or Republicans up and down the ballot, due to fear of shame or judgment. Who can blame them in a political environment this toxic. But it is skewing results ahead of elections and leaving many people surprised come Election Night. The big question moving forward will be how to accurately capture these voters. Expect many more pollsters to use online polls and text messages to poll these voters.
11:10pm | Inez: Republican challenger Josh Hawley has defeated Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri, another data point in favor of the theory that the Kavanaugh hearings became a type of litmus test for red-state Democrats. Senator Donnelly of Indiana and Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota both were defeated earlier in the evening, and both voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. In contrast, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was the only Democrat yes vote, scraped his way to re-election.
11:15pm | Cassie: UPDATE: Democrats have taken control of the House. This election was projected to be a “blue wave,” yet it isn’t one at all. Democrats may have won the House, but it’s just a small ripple in a large wave of victories for Republicans. So far, Republicans have held onto the Senate and are still expected to hold onto the majority of Governors’ mansions, while securing several pickups along the way.
11:00pm | Hadley: Governors Update: Several races for governorships have been called. Ron Desantis has won the Florida race. The current Governor of Florida is Rick Scott (R) who is running for U.S. Senate. Jared Polis in Colorado (my state) will become the first openly gay governor. This also isn’t considered a “pick up” for Democrats since John Hickenlooper (D) is the current governor. (Is he going to run for president??) As far as “pick ups,” three races have been called in New Mexico, Illinois, and Michigan, where Republican governors will be replaced by Democrats. It also looks like Democrats will probably pick up Kansas if Laura Kelly holds her lead on Kris Kobach. On the other hand, it looks like Republicans are likely to win in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams is struggling to keep up with Brian Kemp.
10:40pm | Patrice: The Texas Senate seat remains in Republican control. Incumbent Senator Ted Cruz beat Democratic challenger Robert “Beto” O’Rourke by several points. The rising Democratic star who raised a reported $70 million and garnered heavy media attention could not unseat Cruz. Even more, a slew of celebrity endorsements including a last-minute Beyonce blessing was not enough.
10:20pm | Patrice: In another Senate pickup, Republicans have flipped another seat. Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota handily beat incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp 59 to 41 percent. This is a solidly conservative state, which President Trump won by over 35 points. Heitkamp’s “no” vote on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation was perhaps one of the biggest nails in her campaign’s coffin. Read more.
10:15pm | Hadley: New York Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Also of note, Ocasio-Cortez ran as a Democratic Socialist and unseated Rep. Joseph Crowley (a very powerful Democrat) in a shocking primary upset this spring. For this, Ocasio-Cortez got a lot of attention in the media. She had a lot of fiery comments about the economy, all of which got “false” ratings from the Washington Post fact checkers. IWF’s Patrice Onwuka’s take is here: http://iwf.org/blog/2806990/Here%E2%80%99s-Why-Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez-Is-Wrong-on-Unemployment,-Capitalism
10:03pm | Victoria: Big news coming out of Maryland, a historically blue state. Gubernatorial incumbent Larry Hogan has become the first Republican governor to win re-election in Maryland since 1954 by beating Democrat Ben Jealous. Now, Hogan is only the second Republican governor to win two terms in Maryland's history.
9:45pm | Hadley: As Inez pointed out, Fox News is projecting control of the U.S. House for Democrats. This is a big deal, but not a surprise. I wrote recently about the different positions that the two parties take on various issues (here). Of note is that exit polls show that health care was the number one issue. Democrats wanted this to be the case, and attempted to paint Republicans as uncaring and inept on this key issue by focusing on “pre-existing conditions.” If Democrats do indeed take control of the house, remember, this is not a surprising result, both because polling suggested they were favored to do so and because historically, it’s expected that the opposition party does well after a new president is elected. As Cassie notes, it’s still projected that the GOP will keep control of the U.S. Senate, which is key not only to policy-making but to confirmation of federal appointments including judges (and Supreme Court Justices).
9:45pm | Inez: Fox News is projecting that Democrats will win control of the House of Representatives, although the margin is still very much in play. If the margin is narrow, and given the fact that these pickups are happening in purple-to-red districts, it will be interesting to watch the war for the heart of the Democratic Party between the “resist and impeach” base and the newly-elected moderates trying to keep their red-district seats in 2020. Will the Democratic majority attempt to work with President Trump to legislate or investigate and impeach him?
9:40pm | Cassie: Per CNN, it’s looking more and more likely that Democrats will not only lose the Senate, but will also lose seats in the Senate. The midterm elections are anything but certain. There are still too many close races to call. But this would be a big win for Republicans if they not only hold onto the Senate, but also pick up seats.
9:30 | Inez: Senator Joe Manchin has been re-elected in an unexpectedly tough race for him in West Virginia, which went huge for President Trump in 2016. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with fellow red state Democrat incumbents in North Dakota and Missouri, where, in contrast to Machin’s yes, Senators Heitkamp and McCaskill voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. It’s hard to understate the impact of the Kavanaugh hearings on these midterms, especially for Republican turnout and enthusiasm.
9:22 | Inez: If Republicans solidify Trump’s 2016 smash through the “blue wall” in the Midwest with big wins in the Senate races there (Indiana has already been called for Braun), that’ll be two election data points in favor of a serious realignment.
9:15 | Patrice: Republican businessman Mike Braun unseated Indiana Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in a stunning victory . This pickup of this Senate seat could extend Republican control of the Senate. Indiana is a state that President Trump won by 20 Points. Read more.
9:15 | Cassie: One of the interesting outcomes from tonight’s election will be whether or not Democrats’ shift to the far left works. According to FiveThirtyEight, “The Florida, Maryland and Georgia governor primaries were all won by more liberal nominees; if they all lose, it could be interpreted as a sign of trouble for the left (or for African-American candidates).
9:05 | Victoria: Democrats had a lot of hopes for Phil Bredesen in Tennessee Senate Race. The race has been called and Marsha Blackburn, the for first woman congresswoman from Tennessee, has won the Senate seat. Looks like Taylor Swifts endorsement didn’t help Bredesen after all #ShakeItOff.
8:15pm | Victoria: The Florida Senate and Governor races continue to be too close to call. Politico reporting that 61% of votes are in for the Governor race - DeSantis (R) at 50% and Gillum (D) at 49%. The Senate race has 64.6% precincts reporting with Rick Scott (R) at 50.1% and incumbent Bill Nelson (D) at 49.9%. The race between Nelson and Scott is on track to break records as the most expensive election for Senate of all time.
6:30pm | Cassie: According to ABC News, early exit polls indicate that 56% of voters believe we’re on the “wrong track.” In particular, 58% percent of Independents believe we’re heading in the wrong direction. Right track/wrong track polling is usually a key indicator of election turnout and results. Yet, 68% of voters feel like the economy is in “excellent or good condition,” which is up a whopping 36% since two years ago. And only 14% say they’re “worse off,” which is a good sign overall, as it indicates more people feel like they are better off now. Other noteworthy results so far: 77% of voters believe Americans are becoming too divided politically, and 41% chose health care as a top issue (over the economy, immigration, and gun policy). Of the voters so far, 52% are women, 38% are moderate, 36% are conservative, and 27% are liberal. Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/election-2018-exit-poll-analysis-56-percent-country/story?id=59006586