U.S. Senate and Governor
As the vote count continues, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has taken a small lead over Republican Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race. Several hundred thousand ballots sent by mail are dropped off on Election Day, and these take time to be counted. Overall, approximately 400,000 ballots remain to be tallied.
Arizona U.S. Senate
Elsewhere, Florida's Senate race is likely headed for a hand recount, with the margin under 0.25%, while the gubernatorial race may get a machine recount, with a margin of under 0.50%. The Associated Press, as well as our results partner, Decision Desk, called the gubernatorial race for Ron DeSantis, and Democrat Andrew Gillum has conceded. A machine recount isn't likely to change that outcome, although this is Florida so one can never be sure.
Things are a bit less clear on the Senate side, with the closer total and the prospect of a hand recount. The Associated Press has not called this race, and Nelson has not conceded. Decision Desk has called the race for Scott, and you will see that in the Florida vote counts. However, we have left the state undecided in our interactive 2018 Actual Senate map.
Meanwhile, the gubernatorial race in Georgia remains undecided. Republican Brian Kemp resigned as secretary of state Thursday. Kemp has 50.3% of the vote, to 48.7% for Stacey Abrams. As we've previously noted, the issue here is not whether Kemp will have the most votes, but rather whether he will stay above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a December runoff.
Four more races were called overnight, leaving 10 undecided. GA-6, MI-8 and NJ-7 went to Democrats, while IL-13 was won by the GOP. Democrats have now won 227 seats, Republicans 198. That's a net gain of 32 for Democrats. All 10 of the undecided races are currently held by the GOP. (Vote Counts for Uncalled Races >>).
Related: 2018 Actual Interactive House Map
In a surprising turn of events, Democrat Xochitl Torres Small has won in New Mexico's 2nd congressional district. The Republican nominee, Yvette Herrell had led on Election Night, with numerous media outlets declaring her the winner. However, absentee ballots counted Wednesday were heavily weighted toward Torres Small, putting her over the top.
Democrats have now won 224 seats, Republicans 197, with 14 remaining uncalled. That's a net gain of 29 for Democrats. All 14 of the undecided races are currently held by the GOP. (Vote Counts for Uncalled Races >>).
Related: 2018 Actual Interactive House Map
Democrats will have control of this branch of Congress beginning in January. As of this writing, they have won 220 seats, more than the 218 needed for a majority. Republicans have won 197. 18 districts remain uncalled. All but one of the remaining seats is currently held by the GOP. If you'd like to game out the remaining seats, here's an interactive House map based on actual results.
Republicans started the night with 51 seats and they'll have at least that many heading into 2019. Democratic incumbents Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Claire McCaskill (Missouri) and Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) went down to defeat. Democrats picked up Nevada.
On the map below, Florida is awarded to Republican Rick Scott, while California is not yet called. These are calls (or non-calls) made by our results partner, Decision Desk. Scott is ahead, but there remains the possibility of a recount. In California, there are two Democrats on the ballot. While a nominee call has not been made, Democrats will retain that seat. On our interactive Senate map of actual results, we've awarded California, while keeping Florida undecided.
The other two uncalled races are Arizona and the special election in Mississippi. In Arizona, Rep. Martha McSally (R) has a lead of just under 1% with over 99% of the vote in. Meanwhile, as expected, Mississippi's race is headed to a November 27th runoff.
Democrats have won six Republican-held seats, significantly cutting into the latter’s 33-16 edge heading into Election Day. Connecticut and Georgia remain undecided, although the Associated Press has called it for Democrat Ned Lamont. We show that on our interactive Governor map of actual results.
In Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp has 50.6% of the vote, a lead of about 2 points. The question at this point is not whether Kemp will finish with more votes than Democrat Stacey Abrams, but rather whether Kemp will finish above the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff on December 4th.
Expect the first race calls of the night shortly after the top of the hour.
Florida (all but the panhandle)
Indiana (remainder of state)
Kentucky (remainder of state)
We've updated the Poll Closing Times schedule for this week's midterm elections. The first polls close at 6:00PM Eastern in parts of Kentucky and Indiana, with the final ones at 1:00AM Wednesday morning in portions of Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
The page includes the number of Senate, Governor and House races that are affected by each closing time. This is based on the latest poll close time for the state or district. In most cases, a race won't be called before this time.
Note that there's a lot of local variation in closing times. Your polling place may close earlier. Do not rely on this schedule to determine when to vote.
The first congressional districts close at 6:00 PM in Kentucky and Indiana. There are three districts to keep an eye on in this first hour. Kentucky's 6th district is a true toss-up race in a district Trump won by 15 points in 2016. Democrats have a high quality nominee in retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath; she has outraised the three-term incumbent Andy Barr.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Indiana, keep an eye on the 2nd and 9th districts. If Republicans struggle or lose either of these, the party could be in for a long night.
There hasn't been all that much movement in the Senate races since we first published this chart last Sunday. Small changes in the polling averages (choose a state) and FiveThirtyEight Classic Model probabilities; no changes at all in the consensus forecaster rating.
A few notes:
Just a little over a week before the midterms, here's an overview of where each of this year's 35 Senate elections stands. For each race, we display the polling average (choose a state), a consensus forecaster rating and the FiveThirtyEight probability from their Classic model. All information is as of late morning on Sunday, October 28th.
A few notes:
A new poll conducted by Strategic Research Associates gives Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer a 16 point lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. The same firm's prior poll, just three weeks ago, had the margin at 10 points.
52% of those polled had an unfavorable view of Heitkamp, a large increase from 41% who felt that way three weeks ago. According to the pollster: "“Senator Heitkamp appears to have been hurt by her vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court as well as by subsequent campaign missteps widely covered in the media.”
Impact on Senate Control
Heitkamp's fading prospects for a 2nd term will make it that much more difficult for Democrats to retake control of the Senate. If she loses, her party must win 3 GOP-held seats from a list that includes Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi (special election). That's assuming they win their other 25 seats up this year - which will be no easy task.
FiveThirtyEight is out with a model forecasting this year's 36 gubernatorial elections. We've created an interactive map of their projections, which we'll be updating periodically until the November 6th elections.
Click or tap the map below to create your own projection.
Heading into the elections, Republicans hold 33 of the 50 governorships, near an all-time high. 16 are held by Democrats, with an independent in Alaska. As with other forecasters, the FiveThirtyEight model sees a drop in seats held by the GOP. Their model stands out a bit in the small number of toss-up races - three as of this writing vs. eight on the consensus map.
While there's no overall "battle for control" with gubernatorial races, many of the governors elected this year will have an important role in determining the composition of the U.S. House in the next decade. These governors will still be in office when redistricting comes around after the 2020 Census.
Defending 26 of 35 seats up for election this year, Democratic prospects for gaining control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms were never all that good. However, an unexpected win in an Alabama special election late last year coupled with more competitive than expected races in Texas and Tennessee gave the party a few narrow but plausible paths to gain the two seats needed. However, recent polling has been less promising. It remains to be seen whether the GOP Senate bump is temporary - a short-term reflection of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight - or one that will carry through to Election Day.
To gain control, Democrats must win 28 of the 35 elections, including a minimum of two Republican seats. The most likely path to that would be holding all of their 26 seats while winning the toss-up races in GOP-held Arizona and Nevada. The problem is that this path isn't all that likely in today's polarized voting era. According to Pew Research, since 2013, 69 of 73 Senate elections have been won by candidates belonging to the party that won the state's most recent presidential race. This year, ten of the seats Democrats are defending were won by Donald Trump in 2016, including five by 18% or more (Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia).
A loss in any of the 28 seats above obviously means Democrats need to pick one up elsewhere. The only three realistic options are Tennessee, Texas and the Mississippi special election. The other four Republican-held seats are not competitive.
At this point, North Dakota looks to be the most at-risk seat for Democrats. Recent polling there has turned in favor of Republican Kevin Cramer. Polling has also looked better for the GOP in Texas and Tennessee; these are both now rated Likely Republican in the FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast.
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