Election News

Rep. Keith Ellison to Run for Minnesota Attorney General

June 6, 2018

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison entered the race for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday. It was the final day candidates could file. Ellison will forego running for a 7th term in the U.S. House, a race he would have been an overwhelming favorite to win.

Ellison's Minneapolis-area district is safely Democratic. He won reelection in 2016 by a 47% margin, while Hillary Clinton won here by 55%. It is the 39th most Democratic district in the country as measured by the Cook Political Report PVI.

There are now 55 current House members not running for reelection in November.

Results and Aggregate Party Vote in Competitive California Congressional Districts

June 6, 2018

Going into yesterday's top-two primary, 11 of California's 53 congressional districts were seen as at least somewhat competitive this fall by Sabato's Crystal Ball. In the California system, all candidates appear on a single ballot, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the general election, regardless of party.

The table below shows the outcome of those primaries. Vote tallies are aggregated from The New York Times results page as of about 9:00AM ET on Wednesday morning, June 6. California can take several weeks to finalize their numbers, so these totals are subject to change.

  • All nine incumbents seeking re-election finished with the most votes* in their respective races.
  • While some races have yet to be called, it looks like all 11 races will see one Democrat and one Republican move on to November
  • CA-10 and CA-48 will probably be the closest races in terms of Democrats not making the top-two. CA-10 a bit more unexpected than CA-48.
  • The aggregate vote is important as it has proven to be a good predictor of the general election. For clarity, the chart shows the total of all Democrats and all Republicans on the ballot

The GOP avoided a top-two shutout in statewide races, as Republican John Cox secured 2nd position, behind Democrat Gavin Newsom, in the gubernatorial primary. Two Democrats will likely move on in the U.S. Senate race, including incumbent Dianne Feinstein. There was concern among Republicans that having no candidates in the statewide races might suppress turnout in November.

The elections for Senate and governor are both seen as safe Democratic in the fall. The aggregate vote Tuesday backs that up.  Democrats received 61% of the vote, Republicans 38% in the gubernatorial race.  In the Senate race, Democrats received 62%, Republicans 35%.

* Votes were not tabulated in CA-21, as only two candidates were on the ballot

Poll Closing Times and Link to Results for Tuesday's Primaries

June 5, 2018

Eight states are holding primaries Tuesday. The poll closing times are listed in the table below, along with the number of congressional districts in the state - all are up for election in November - and whether there is a Senate and/or gubernatorial election in 2018.

State Polls Close1 Runoff2 House Senate Governor
Alabama 8:00 PM 50%; July 17 7   Yes
Mississippi 8:00 PM 50%; June 26 4 Yes3  
New Jersey 8:00 PM   12 Yes  
Montana 9:00 PM   1 Yes  
New Mexico 9:00 PM   3 Yes Yes
South Dakota 8/9:00 PM4 35%; August 14 1   Yes
Iowa 10:00 PM   4   Yes
California 11:00 PM   53 Yes Yes

1 All times Eastern

2 Percentage must be exceeded to avoid runoff; date of runoff election

3 In addition to the regularly scheduled race, a special election will be held to fill the remainder of Thad Cochran's term. Voters will not choose nominees for this race on Tuesday. Instead, all candidates will appear on a single ballot on Election Day. If nobody earns a majority, a runoff will be November 27

4 Polls close at 7:00 PM local time

California Top-Two Primary a Good Predictor of General Election

June 5, 2018

California holds its non-partisan primary today. All candidates appear on a single ballot, with the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, moving on to the general election in November. We discussed some of the implications of that type of ballot in a short primary overview yesterday.

While this type of primary may yield some odd outcomes, such as a major party being shut out of a general election race, it also may prove to be a very good predictor of what to expect in November. Analyzing about 25 years of top-two results, the New York Times finds that "the California primary elections on Tuesday might give us a better idea of whether Democrats are headed for a so-called wave election — or whether their recent slide in the generic ballot and the bump in President Trump’s approval rating mean they should worry."

The data shows that "Since 1990, the major party vote share in top-two congressional primaries in Washington (which also uses the top-two system) and California has differed from the general election result by an average of just three percentage points."

This data seems logical in that, other than the sheer number of candidates, a non-partisan primary ballot is essentially a general election race. Barring a major shift in the political environment between now and November, aggregating the Democratic and Republican vote today would seem to be as a good a predictor of the general election as anything available.

National Implications

There are 11 congressional districts in California expected to be at least somewhat competitive, according to Sabato's Crystal Ball.  Nine of these are held by Republicans. Seven of those nine GOP-held districts were won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.  While the vote in California isn't predictive of the rest of the country, Democrats will almost certainly have to gain seats here to take back the House. Therefore, today's aggregate vote may go a long way toward showing how many of the state's 53 districts are truly in play this fall. 

Click or tap the image for an interactive map with all the current House ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball.


Californians to Pick 'Top Two' on Busy Primary Tuesday

June 4, 2018

California's non-partisan election highlights a busy primary Tuesday this week. Also on the calendar, with more traditional primaries, are Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. Nominees will be chosen for five Senate and five gubernatorial races across the eight states. California (and New Mexico) have elections for both.

The video below, from the Los Angeles Times, provides an overview of California's top-two primary system. All candidates appear on a single ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, move on to the general election. The most closely-watched races that might be impacted are three Republican-held congressional districts in Orange County and the state's gubernatorial race. 

Each of the three congressional races features two or more viable Democratic candidates. In fact, voters in each of these districts must choose from no fewer than 15 candidates on the ballot. The party's fear is a split vote such that two Republicans advance to November. This would give the GOP automatic victories in one or more races that are winnable by Democrats. 

Candidates on the primary ballot in three competitive congressional districts:

On the other hand, Republicans are concerned that two Democrats will advance to November in the race to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown. The race to watch is that for 2nd place, between Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Mayor of Los Angeles and Republican businessman John Cox. Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to get the most votes. A Democrat will almost certainly win in November, but having no Republicans on the ballot for a statewide race - the U.S. Senate contest is expected to feature two Democrats - might suppress turnout.

Polls close Tuesday at 11:00 PM Eastern / 8:00 PM Pacific. It is the last of the eight states to close, and almost certainly will be the last to finalize all the results, if 2016 is any guide

Arizona Special Election Deadline Passes

June 1, 2018

The special election deadline has passed in Arizona, at least as it is interpreted by Republicans. Should Sen. John McCain leave office this year, Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint his replacement. That individual will not need to face the voters until the next regular election for the seat, which is in November, 2020.

According to Politico, "The likely lack of a second open Senate race this year is politically significant: Arizona has become an increasingly competitive battleground state, and another open Senate race this year would increase the chances that Democrats could take back the Senate."

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Resigns

May 29, 2018

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced his resignation Tuesday, ending a months-long stalemate following his indictment in February on felony invasion of privacy.  The move comes one day after a judge ordered Greitens' political nonprofit to turn over documents to the Missouri House. That body had begun looking into misconduct as a precursor to possible impeachment.

Greitens resignation will be effective June 1st. The first-term Republican will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, also a member of the GOP. The seat will next be contested in 2020.

The resignation will be a relief to Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who is the state's Attorney General. He is locked in a very competitive race with incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.  The national Democrats Senate Majority PAC has spent millions of dollars linking Hawley to the embattled governor. 

Virginia Rep. Thomas Garrett to Retire; Cites Battle with Alcoholism

May 29, 2018

Rep. Thomas Garrett of Virginia, reversing an announcement he made last week, said he would not run for a 2nd term in Congress this November. Garrett cited a personal battle with alcoholism in his decision. He had also come under fire in recent days for reports that he and his wife regularly had staff members do personal tasks such as picking up groceries and pet waste.

Garrett's 5th congressional district is the largest, by area, in the state. The primarily rural district includes Charlottesville. Garrett won by 17% in 2016, while Donald Trump was beating Hillary Clinton within the district borders by 11%. Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the race from likely to leans Republican due to the seat becoming open.  Whomever the GOP nominates will face Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn in the general election. 

There are now 54 current members of the House not seeking re-election in November. This includes 37 Republicans and 17 Democrats. 

Primary Highlights: Stacey Abrams Makes History; U.S. House Incumbents All Win

May 23, 2018

Some highlights from Tuesday's primaries. Click the state name for full vote tallies from the New York Times.


  • Governor: Stacey Abrams easily won the Democratic nomination. Abrams received over 76% of the vote and won all but a handful of the state's 159 counties. In doing so, she becomes the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in U.S. history. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle received the most votes, as expected, but fell well short of the 50% needed to win outright. Cagle will meet Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a July 24 runoff. Whomever GOP voters advance to November will start out the general election favorite, but this will be one of the most closely-watched gubernatorial races of 2018.

  • U.S. House:  Incumbents ran and won in all 14 congressional districts; 9 of these races were uncontested. All but two of those incumbents look safe in November. Republican-held District 6 and 7, on Atlanta's north side may prove competitive. Runoffs will be held for the Democratic nominee in both districts


  • U.S. House: Incumbents won in all 6 districts. Only the Republican-held 6th district, in the Lexington area, may prove competitive this fall. That was also the location of the most closely-watched primary. Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray for the Democratic nomination.


  • Governor: Incumbent Republican Asa Hutchinson easily won his primary, as did Jared Henderson on the Democratic side. Nearly twice as many votes were cast in the Republican primary for governor in this deep red state. Hutchinson is a heavy favorite to win a 2nd term in November.
  • U.S. House: All four districts are Republican-held; all four incumbents moved on to November. Only the 2nd district, which includes Little Rock, has some prospect of being competitive in the fall.


The Lone Star State held runoffs for those races where no candidate got a majority of the vote in the March 6th primaries. In the Democratic race for governor, Lupe Valdez prevailed over Andrew White. Like Abrams in Georgia, her nomination is historic: She's both the first Latina and first lesbian to win a major party gubernatorial nomination in the state. In a closely-watched 7th congressional district race, establishment candidate Lizzie Fletcher defeated activist Laura Moser. Fletcher will take on nine-term incumbent John Culberson for this Houston-area seat. It is one of the few competitive races across the state's 36 districts.

Links to Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas Election Results

May 22, 2018

The New York Times has pages set up to track the results for today's primaries in Kentucky, Georgia and Arkansas, as well as the runoffs in Texas. Click or tap the state name below.

Kentucky: Polls close at 6:00 PM local time. The state is split between the Eastern and Central time zones, so that will be 7:00 PM Eastern for those in the western part of the state. The Democratic primary in the 6th district is being closely-contested. This is the only congressional district in the state that looks competitive in the fall. Those results should begin coming in around 6:15 PM Eastern.

Georgia:  Polls close at 7:30 Eastern; results should begin to arrive shortly thereafter.  Both parties are choosing nominees for governor. Democrats will choose a woman (Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans) who will attempt to become the first female governor in the state's history. If Abrams prevails - she has been ahead in the polls - she will attempt to become the first black female governor in U.S. history. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is likely to garner the most votes. Up against several opponents, the question is whether he can get to the 50% needed to avoid a July 24 top-two runoff.

Arkansas:  Polls close at 7:30 Central (8:30 Eastern), with first results about 15 minutes later. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is likely to be renominated, although is facing a challenge from the right. Whomever prevails is expected to win in November.

Texas: Polls close at 7:00 local time, which is 8:00 or 9:00 Eastern, for those in the Central or Mountain time zones, respectively. with results expected shortly thereafter. Results should begin arrive shortly thereafter. These are runoffs for races where no candidate received 50% in the March 6th primary.