Election News

If Al Franken Resigns Thursday, as Expected....

December 6, 2017

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) is expected to resign Thursday following the latest round of sexual harrassment allegations against the two-term Senator. If that does happen:

  • Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a replacement. Some names being mentioned include Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Tim Walz, along with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
  • A special election will be held to coincide with the 2018 midterm elections. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Franken's term, which is next up for election in 2020
  • According to Sabato's Crystal Ball, the race will start at 'Leans Democrat'

 

 This rating is likely due, at least in part, to the close result in the 2016 presidential election. Although Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 - the longest such streak across the 50 states - Hillary Clinton only won here by 1.5%.  

A special election means that both Minnesota seats will be contested in 2018. At this time, Sen. Amy Klobuchar looks 'safe' for the regularly scheduled election.

Democrats will now be forced to defend 26 of 34 seats contested in 2018. We'll be updating our 2018 interactive map in the days ahead to reflect the additional contest.



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One Week Out, Three New Polls in Alabama Senate Race

December 5, 2017

Three new polls for the Alabama special election early this week have not added much clarity to the race. Roy Moore leads by 7% in a survey by Strategy Research, and by 3% in the latest Emerson College poll. On the other hand, Gravis Marketing gives Doug Jones a four-point lead.

The Strategy Research poll was taken Monday evening, after that day's endorsement of Moore by President Trump. It is not known how much of an impact this had on the result.

The overall average of recent polls gives Moore a lead of just under 3%.

The election to fill the Alabama Senate seat will take place on December 12th. Polls are open 7:00AM to 7:00PM local time.


John Conyers, Longest-Serving Current House Member, Announces Retirement

December 5, 2017

UPDATE: Conyers is leaving the House immediately. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will determine the date of a special election to fill the seat. It may well be Conyers vs. Conyers in the primary that precedes the election for this safe Democratic seat.

Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the U.S. House, announced his retirement Tuesday. From CNN:

"I am retiring today. And I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support that...incredible, undiminished support I've received across the years of my supporters, not only in my district but across the country as well." 

Conyers faced allegations that he sexually harassed members of his staff.

It is unclear at the moment if 'retiring today' means resignation or that he is announcing his retirement at the end of this term (or something in-between).  In any case, he has endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

Conyers is in his 27th term. Next in seniority is Alaska Republican Don Young, who has already announced that he is running in 2018. Here's a list of the 10 current House members with the longest seniority.


CBS News / YouGov Poll Shows Moore Up 6 in Alabama Senate Race

December 3, 2017

Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by six points in the latest poll of the December 12th Alabama Senate special election. The poll, conducted by CBS News and YouGov, gives Moore 49% to 43% for Jones

This is the fifth poll of the race to be released over the past week or so. Moore has had a five or six point margin over Jones in all but one of those surveys. Averaging all five of these gives Moore a 3.8% lead a little more than a week ahead of the December 12th special election.


Rep. Sander Levin to Retire; Democrat is 2nd Most Senior Member from Michigan

December 2, 2017

Democratic Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan will not seek a 19th term in 2018. Levin, who is 86 years old, is in his 18th term. This makes him, at least for now, the 2nd most senior member of Michigan's congressional delegation, trailing only John Conyers, who is in his 27th term. 

Levin represents Michigan's 9th congressional district encompasses an area north of Detroit. It remains a Safe Democratic seat for now, per Sabato's Crystal Ball. However, it is worth noting that while Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney here by 15 points in 2012, Hillary Clinton's spread over Donald Trump was only 8 points in 2016. (Trump won Michigan overall by 0.2% in 2016, the closest margin of any state in that election.) It was the first time a Republican had won the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988.)

There are now 38 House members retiring or seeking another office in 2018. 


Alabama Senate Poll Finds Tight Race Between Moore, Jones as Election Nears

December 2, 2017

Democrat Doug Jones has a small 3 point lead over Republican Roy Moore, a new Washington Post-Schar School poll finds. The result is well within the poll's margin of error, and points to a tight race just 10 days out from the December 12th special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.


Texas Republican Joe Barton not Seeking Reelection in 2018

November 30, 2017

The Dallas Morning News reports that Republican "Rep. Joe Barton, whose private life came under national scrutiny after sexual images he shared in an extramarital relationship were made public, won’t seek re-election." Now in his 17th term, Barton is the longest-serving member of the Texas congressional delegation. Barton serves the 6th congressional district, which sits mostly south of Dallas, but also includes parts of Arlington and other suburbs situated between Dallas and Forth Worth. Donald Trump won here by 12 points in 2016; as of this writing the seat remains 'Safe Republican'.

The Barton announcement means 37 members of the House will forego reelection to that body in 2018. The full list can be found here. Three of these open seats have seen their 2018 rating shift as of today, all in the direction of being more competitive. AZ-9 has gone from Safe to Likely Democratic, while TX-21 has moved from Safe to Likely Republican. KS-2 has moved from Likely to Leans Republican. Overall, there were 25 ratings changes made by Sabato's Crystal Ball. They are now categorizing the 2018 race for House control as a coin flip.

 

Related:  2018 House Interactive Map

 


Roy Moore Regains the Lead in Alabama Senate Race, New Polls Find

November 29, 2017

Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 5 points in the Alabama Senate race, a new poll from JMC Analytics finds. This is a 9 point reversal from their last survey, which had Jones up by 4. That survey was taken November 9-11, just as the most serious charge leveled against Mr. Moore, an encounter with a 14 year old girl, was becoming public. To that end, a rebound for Moore was not unexpected. JMC Analytics notes that:

"Since the last poll, both Republicans in general and Roy Moore specifically have regained their plurality leads, and this arguably can be attributed to existing partisan preferences’ reasserting themselves: in the last poll, Moore was tied 47-47% among male voters and trailed 42-48% among women. While he still trails by a similar 44-50% among women (leaners included), he has rebounded among men and leads 54-37%. Similarly, among self-identified evangelicals, the 57-34% support he had in the last poll is now 64-29%. The numbers barely changed among non-evangelicals, where his 22-73% poll deficit is now 23-72%." 

This is the third poll in recent days to find Moore with a small lead. Emerson College had Moore ahead by 6 points*, while Change Research has Moore up 49-44%, the exact same finding as JMC Analytics. (Both these 49-44 results included those leaning to one candidate or the other). This article discusses those results in a bit more detail.

The special election will be held in about two weeks, on Tuesday December 12th.

* Given a 53-47 result, it does not appear as though 'undecided' was available as an option. 


Illinois Rep. Gutierrez to Retire as State's 2018 Filing Deadline Nears

November 28, 2017

Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a longtime advocate for immigration reform and a senior member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will not seek reelection in 2018, Fox News reports. The announcement comes early in the state's short filing period, where candidates for Congress, governor and other offices submit their nominating petitions for 2018. The deadline* to file is December 4th, with the Illinois primary scheduled for March 20th.

The 13-term Democrat represents one of the bluest districts in the country; Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 68 points in 2016. It is also an outstanding example of gerrymandering. Per Wikipedia, "The northern portion [of the district] is largely Puerto Rican, while the southern portion is heavily Mexican-American. The two sections are on opposite sides of the city and are only connected by a piece of Interstate 294 to the west; the highway is in the district while the surrounding areas are not." 

By packing a district this way, the election of a representative associated with a specific group - Hispanics in this case - becomes highly likely. At the same time, it can reduce the influence of that group of voters in adjacent districts.

Gutierrez is the 36th member to announce they will be leaving the House to run for another office or to retire. The full list is comprised of 24 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

* Illinois has the earliest filing deadline, followed by Texas on December 11th. The remianing states have a filing deadline in calendar year 2018. 


Updated 2018 Gubernatorial Map

November 20, 2017

We've rolled over our interactive gubernatorial map to reflect the 36 states holding elections in 2018. New Jersey and Virginia, both of whom elected new governors earlier this month, have been removed.

While most 2018 focus is on which party will control the House and/or Senate in Congress after the midterm elections, these gubernatorial races will greatly influence which party controls the House over the next decade. That's because almost all the 2018 winners will be in office when redistricting begins after the 2020 Census. In most states, the legislature redraws congressional districts, while the governor wields veto power.  

This first map shows the incumbent governor's party for each 2018 race. For the 14 states not holding elections, 7 are held by Republicans, 7 by Democrats. This brings the current^ party composition to 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats and one independent. 

 

Looking at the 2018 races, Republicans are favored in 20, Democrats 8, with 8 toss-ups. At this point, only New Mexico favors the out-party, as that race leans Democratic. Of the eight toss-ups, five have Republican incumbents (FL, IL, ME, MI, NV), while CO and CT are in Democratic hands. AK, home to the nation's lone independent governor, is also seen as a toss-up.

Click or tap the map below to create your own forecast. The table on the landing page also lists all the incumbents. Note that 14 of them are unable to run in 2018 due to term limits, while three more are retiring. Just under half of these 36 states - more if any running incumbents lose - will have new governors in 2019.

 

^ As of January 16, 2018, when Republican Chris Chrstie leaves office in New Jersey and is replaced by Democrat Phil Murphy. Until then, there are 34 Republicans, 15 Democrats and one independent.



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