Election News

Update: 2020 Election if All States Allocated Electoral Votes Like Maine and Nebraska

A few weeks back, we did a preliminary calculation of the 2020 electoral map if all states allocated electoral votes like Maine and Nebraska.  Those two states award two electoral votes to the popular vote winner and one each to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.  In 2020, this created a split in both those states: Trump won Nebraska while Biden won District 2; the opposite happened in Maine. 

Most states don't report presidential results by congressional district so it falls on a third party to map precinct/county reporting to districts. DailyKos does excellent work in this area; we've largely relied on their data for the map below.  There are still 5 states where the information isn't complete, including New York and Pennsylvania. However, this article on crossover districts by J. Miles Coleman at Sabato's Crystal Ball fills in those blanks for us. This updated map should be final (or very close).

Applying the congressional district method nationwide, Joe Biden still wins but by a narrower 277-261 result. While the approach might seem like a fairer one at first glance, it fails that test in the real world where many districts are heavily gerrymandered.  Politics would have to come out of the redistricting process to make this a viable alternative to winner-take-all. That's not going to happen.

One other caveat - this is a backwards look at 2020 to fit rules that were not in place for the election.  Campaign resources would have been deployed differently if they had been, likely leading to a different winner in some districts.

In the map below, the primary color is based on the statewide popular vote winner.  All three Washington, DC votes are allocated to Biden, as he won 93% of the popular vote.

Assuming no surprises when New York and Pennsylvania are official, there were 16 crossover districts in 2020. Nine districts voted for Biden while electing a GOP representative, seven voted for Trump while electing a Democratic member to the House.

Biden/GOP:   CA-21, CA-25, CA-39, CA-48, NE-2, NY-24, PA-1, TX-24

Trump/Dem:  IA-3, IL-17, ME-2, MI-8, NJ-3, PA-8, WI-3

The congressional race in NY-22 remains undecided. Donald Trump is likely to have won that district and the GOP nominee for Congress, Claudia Tenney, remains slightly ahead as that race is litigated. Subject to change, we've treated it as a Trump/GOP district on the map.

Sabato's Crystal Ball Initial Ratings for 2022 Senate Election

Sabato's Crystal Ball is out with its initial ratings for the 34 seats to be contested in the 2022 midterm Senate elections. Republicans will be defending 20 seats, Democrats 14. However, the number of competitive seats is small and roughly split between the two parties. This means another closely-contested battle for control is on the horizon.

Read the Crystal Ball article >>

A map of the ratings is below. Click or tap for an interactive version you can use to create and share your own 2022 Senate forecast.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman Will Not Seek Reelection in 2022

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Monday that he will not seek a third term in 2022. Portman joins fellow Republicans Richard Burr (NC) and Pat Toomey (PA) in announcing their retirement this cycle.

We've updated the 'first look' 2022 Senate map to move Ohio from likely to leans Republican to reflect the lack of an incumbent. Ohio is one of only six states that has a split Senate delegation. Democrat Sherrod Brown is next on the ballot in 2024.  

 

 

Updated 'Same Since' Maps: Current Single Party Streak for Each State

The 'same since' series of electoral maps lets you see how far back in time each state has voted for a single party in presidential elections. We've updated for the 2020 election where Arizona and Georgia ended a Republican streak dating back to the 1990s.

The timeline goes from 1964 through the 2016 election. 1964 was the first year Washington, D.C. voted in a presidential election. It voted Democratic that year and every election since. The final map, for 2016, shows states that have voted the same in the most recent two elections. It reflects the five states + NE-2 that Joe Biden flipped to win the 2020 presidential election.   

The image links to the 2016 map; you can view the full timeline here.

 

Here is the current streak for each state in tabular form:

Year (Streak): Click for Interactive Map Locations: Current Streak Begins
1964 (15) DC
1968 (14) AK, ID, KS, ND, NE except NE-2, OK, SD, UTWY
1976 (12) MN
1980 (11) AL, MS, SC, TX
1988 (9) HI, MA, NY, OR, RI, WA
1992 (8) CA, CT, DE, MD, ILME except ME-2, NJ, VT
1996 (7) MT
2000 (6) AR, KY, LA, MO, TN, WV
2004 (5) NH
2008 (4) CO, NM, NV, VA
2012 (3) IN, NC
2016 (2) FL, IA, ME-2, OH
2020 (1) AZ, GA, MI, NE-2, PA, WI

Three Democratic Senators to be Sworn In Wednesday Afternoon

Punchbowl News reports in its Tuesday morning newsletter that "Democrats Alex Padilla (Calif.), Jon Ossoff (Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (Ga.) will be sworn in as new senators on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Senate source. This will come shortly after Biden and Kamala Harris take their own oaths of office. As VP, Harris is expected to swear in the majority making trio."

For those not familiar, Punchbowl News is a new political news start-up founded by three veterans of Politico. We're finding their free morning edition an invaluable start to the day. You can sign up here.

With these additions, the Senate will be split 50-50 shortly after the start of the Biden administration. That will make vice president Kamala Harris the president of the Senate, able to cast tiebreaking votes. As a result, Democrats will nominally take control of the chamber, with Chuck Schumer expected to become majority leader. However, as the Senate is evenly divided, committees are expected to have the same number of members from each party. To address those types of issues, Schumer and current majority leader Mitch McConnell are currently discussing an arrangement similar to one that was used the last time there was a 50-50 Senate in 2001. 

Padilla was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Harris, who resigned Monday. He will complete the final two years of her term; the seat will be contested again in the 2022 Senate Election.

Ossoff and Warnock won election runoffs in Georgia earlier this month, defeating incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Warnock will serve the final two years of the term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned at the end of 2019. Loeffler had been appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the seat through the special election.

 

Kamala Harris Resigns from Senate in Advance of Wednesday's Inauguration

Kamala Harris resigned from the Senate effective at noon EST Monday. The move comes two days before her inauguration as vice president.  In that role, Harris will become president of the Senate.  This is a largely ceremonial role, but one that it includes the ability to cast tiebreaking votes.  That will take on added importance this year given the chamber's upcoming 50-50 split.   

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve the final two years of Harris's term. Until he is sworn in the Senate will have 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats (including two independents). The Harris seat and one in Georgia formerly held by Republican David Perdue are vacant. Perdue's term ended January 3; he lost a runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff on January 5. Georgia's other Senate seat will be changing hands as Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler in a special election runoff. 

Once the Senate returns to full strength, each party will control 50 seats. Republicans will be defending 20 and Democrats 14 in the 2022 Senate election.

First Look: 2020 Presidential Election if All States Voted Like Maine and Nebraska

Last week, Wisconsin state Rep. Gary Tauchen (R) introduced a bill to change how the state allocates its electoral votes.  If enacted, the state would move from the winner-take-all allocation currently used in 48 states to that of Maine and Nebraska. Those two states use the congressional district method, awarding two electoral votes to the popular vote winner of the state and one to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.  U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R, MI-02) has suggested his state do the same. 

At nearly the same time, Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama sponsored a bill to switch that state back to winner-take-all. (Slama is a Republican, although the single body Nebraska legislature is officially nonpartisan.)

These proposals seem to pop up after each election. While often couched as fairer, the proposals are almost always partisan in nature, meant to benefit the electoral college fortunes of the party that introduces the bill.  That is the case in all the above.  The 31 electoral votes associated with the above 3 states went 27-4 for Joe Biden in 2020. If the proposed approaches had been in place, Donald Trump would have received 19 of them to 12 for Biden.

Congressional District Method: 2020 Presidential Election

This is an estimate, as the data is not fully available yet. Most states do not break out votes by congressional district, so it falls on a 3rd party to do the number crunching. We use calculations by Daily Kos.  Whether or not you agree with that site's politics, they do excellent work with election data.  We've projected the outcome in each state where the data isn't yet available, looking at the margins in both the 2020 congressional and 2016 presidential elections.  

The net result is a very narrow 274-264 estimated Biden win if this approach were used. Both candidates won 25 states, giving them 50 electoral votes. On top of that, we project Biden to have won 221 districts to 214 for Trump. Finally, we allocate the 3 Washington, DC votes to Biden, where he won 93% of the popular vote.

It is important to note that even if this map ends up being 100% accurate, it is unlikely that the election would have turned out exactly this way. Campaigns make strategic and tactical decisions based on getting to 270 electoral votes. They would undoubtedly allocate resources differently in an election run under these rules.

 

Would this be an improvement over winner-take-all?

The appeal of a more proportional allocation of electoral votes in each state is understandable. Unfortunately, in the real world, this particular method is not a good solution.  There are rarely more than a few dozen competitive congressional districts each cycle. This is because most congressional districts are drawn by politicians - usually a state's legislature - with the party in control at the time of redistricting looking to create district lines to their benefit. This gerrymandering would become exponentially worse if it helped dictate the outcome of presidential elections.  And, in fact, it would. There will likely be fewer than 15 districts in 2020 where the winning congressional and presidential party is different. 

To see how this (and other methods) fared in the 2012 and 2016 elections, see this article on Gaming the Electoral College

Georgia Senate Runoffs: Overview and Live Results

Georgia voters will decide the outcome of their two U.S. Senate seats in runoff elections Tuesday. Their choices will also determine which party controls the Senate in the new Congress. The runoffs were necessitated when no candidate in either race received 50% of the vote in the elections on November 3, as required by Georgia law.

Polls close at 7:00 PM ET. Live results will appear below.

Regular Election: Perdue (R) vs. Ossoff (D)

This is for a full six-year term. As the prior term ended with the start of the new Congress, the seat is currently vacant. In November, incumbent Republican David Perdue finished first by about 1.8%, narrowly missing the 50% threshold. Democrat Jon Ossoff finished second.

Special Election: Loeffler (R) vs. Warnock (D)

The special election is to complete the final two years of the term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons at the end of 2019. Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to serve until the special election; she remains in the Senate pending the outcome of Tuesday's vote. An all-party primary was held in November. Warnock received 33% support and Loeffler 26%. There were 20 candidates on the ballot; Loeffler split much of the conservative GOP vote with former Rep. Doug Collins who finished third with 20%.

Both races are seen as toss-ups.  Polling has been limited, with many well-regarded pollsters sitting out the race. The final 270toWin polling average in each race shows a small lead for the Democratic candidate, but most polls have been well within the margin of error. Georgia was the closest state in the 2020 presidential election; Joe Biden prevailed by about 0.25%.

History and polarization say a split decision is unlikely. The last time a double-barrel Senate election led to each party winning one seat was in 1966. In addition, there are currently only six states where each party has one seat.1 1Includes Maine but excludes Vermont. Those two states have independent Senators that caucus with the Democrats. In the case of Maine, the 2nd Senator is a Republican. This is the smallest number since direct election of Senators began over 100 years ago. 

These articles provides a more detailed overview of the races, including money spent, early voting trends and what to watch for on Tuesday:

Senate in the balance: How Georgia's runoffs break down

Georgia Senate Runoffs: What to Watch For

Republicans will retain control of the Senate with a win in either race. A Democratic victory in both would yield a 50-50 Senate. In that scenario, Democrats will take control after the Biden administration gets underway January 20. Vice-president Kamala Harris becomes president of the Senate at that time and is able to cast tie-breaking votes. 

117th Congress Underway

The 117th congress convened Sunday, January 3.

Senate

  • Republicans will start in control with 51 seats, Democrats 48.
  • Control of the Senate after January 20 will hinge on two runoff elections in Georgia on Tuesday. Republicans maintain control by winning either.
  • The term for Georgia Republican David Perdue has ended. That seat will be vacant until a winner is certified in his runoff. Perdue is being challenged by Democrat Jon Ossoff.
  • Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler remains in office while the special election runoff is conducted. Either she or Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock will then serve through 2022.
  • 34 seats will be contested in 2022. Republicans will be defending 20 of those seats, Democrats 13. The winner of the Georgia special election will determine the party for the 34th seat.
  • The 2022 Interactive Senate Map is available. 

House

  • Democrats retained control but have a much narrower majority.  At the outset, that party will have 222 seats, Republicans 211. There are two vacancies.
  • Nancy Pelosi reelected as Speaker of the House.
  • NY-22 is vacant as the November election remains unresolved. Former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) currently has a lead of about 30 votes over Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D). 
  • LA-5 is vacant. Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R) died on December 29. An all-party primary will be held March 20. If no candidate gets 50%, there will be a runoff on April 24.
  • Three Democrats are expected to resign to join the Biden administration:  Cedric Richmond (LA-2), Deb Haaland (NM-1), Marcia Fudge (OH-11). Haaland and Fudge must be confirmed by the Senate.
  • An initial version of the 2022 Interactive House Map will be available in a few weeks. However, redistricting later this year - after the Census results come out - will lead to district boundaries changing in most states for the 2022 midterms.
    • District lines for congressional representation will not change until January, 2023.

2022 Interactive Senate Map is Live

The 2022 Senate Interactive Map is live. 34 Class 3 seats will be contested in this next cycle.  20 of those are held by Republicans, 13 by Democrats. The Georgia special election runoff on January 5 - Loeffler (R) vs. Warnock (D) - will determine which party will be defending the last seat.  This special election is to complete the final two years of Johnny Isakson's term. Isakson resigned for health reasons at the end of 2019.

The new Senate will be seated January 3 and will initially be comprised of 51 Republicans and 48 Democrats. The Georgia seat currently held by David Perdue (R) - on its regular election cycle - will be vacant pending a separate January 5 runoff. Perdue is being challenged by Democrat Jon Ossoff.  

If Republicans win either of these runoffs, they will retain control of the Senate.

There will be six new Senators on January 3: Tommy Tuberville (R, AL); John Hickenlooper (D, CO); Roger Marshall (R, KS); Ben Ray Lujan (D, NM); Bill Hagerty (R, TN); Cynthia Lummis (R, WY). Tuberville and Hickenlooper defeated incumbents, while the others are succeeding retiring members of their same party.  Separately, in Arizona, Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) in November. As that was a special election, Kelly was eligible to be seated once the state certified its results. He was sworn in on December 2.

Two Republican Senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have already announced they will not run in 2022.  Democrat Kamala Harris of California will be replaced by Alex Padilla (D) after she resigns to becomes Vice President.

Note that on the images below, the totals only add to 99 due to the Georgia vacancy (as of January 3).

First Look at the 2022 Landscape

This map (click for an interactive version) is largely based on an overview by Sabato's Crystal Ball. 24 of the 34 races start out as safe for the incumbent party. The 10 remaining seats are expected to have varying levels of competitiveness, with seven of those looking to be the most closely-contested at this early date. Interestingly, as Sabato notes in the article, this includes the six closest states in the 2020 presidential election.

For this map, we've set the rating to 'leans' if the incumbent is expected to run (giving them the benefit of the doubt at this early point), while the open races in North Carolina and Pennsylvania are shown as toss-up. Georgia is also shown as a toss-up pending the result of the special election.

Current Party

This map shows the partisan composition of seats to be contested in 2022. Georgia is subject to change pending the January 5 runoff.

Blank Map

This map shows all 34 seats as toss-ups.