Election News

Incumbents, Pennsylvania Women Running for Congress Do Well in Tuesday's Primaries

May 16, 2018

There were few surprises in Tuesday's primaries in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon. All incumbents running for Congress moved on to the general election, as did the expected opponents for the Senate seats in Pennsylvania and Oregon.

Women running for Congress in Pennsylvania had a big night. The state has the largest all-male congressional delegation in the country. Democratic women won in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 14th, and 15th districts, while a Republican woman won in the 5th district. In addition, the female Democratic candidates in the 10th and 12th districts are slightly behind; these races have not yet been called by the Associated Press.

Looking out to November, both major parties have nominated a woman in the 5th district, all but guaranteeing an end to the all-boys club in 2019. The Democrat is expected to win in this Philadelphia-area district, as well as the adjacent 4th, and is favored to win in the 6th. The 7th district is a toss-up, with the 11th, 14th and 15th seen as safe Republican.

Primary Tuesday: Pennsylvania Voters Cast Ballots in New Congressional Districts

May 15, 2018

Primaries are being held today in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon. In Pennsylvania, it will be the first time voters will cast ballots in the redrawn congressional districts. All four states have gubernatorial elections this fall; Pennsylvania and Nebraska also have Senate races. Nominees will be chosen today, although none of these six races are seen as highly competitive in November at this point.

Poll Closing Times and Results

Click/tap the state name for results from The New York Times

Pennsylvania:  8:00PM Eastern

Nebraska: 9:00 Eastern (8:00 PM for those in the Central Time Zone, 7:00 PM in Mountain)

Idaho:   10:00 & 11:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM local time for both Mountain and Pacific Time)

Oregon:  Same as Idaho (almost all votes are submitted by mail; voters can also use a state drop box up until the deadline)


As noted above, many voters in the Keystone State will not see their current Representative on the primary ballot as the state's congressional districts have been redrawn. 

Looking at the House ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball, 6 of the state's districts look competitive or potentially competitive in the fall, while 7 are safe Republican, 5 safe Democrat. FiveThirtyEight has a good overview of some of the more interesting primaries here, as well as races to watch in the other three states.

Upcoming Primary Calendar

Aside from Memorial Day week, the next month will be very active. Here's the full calendar.

May 22:  Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky

June 5:   Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 12:  Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia

Trump Campaign Team Eyeing Minnesota and Colorado on 2020 Electoral Map

May 15, 2018

Axios reports that the Trump re-election team is looking to expand the map in 2020, eyeing Minnesota and Colorado as possible pickups. While no state has voted Democratic in more consecutive elections than Minnesota, Trump came close to an upset there in 2016. He lost by just 1.5%, despite the fact that his campaign made very little effort. In Colorado, which has been more of a swing state, the belief is that the administration's hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement will help.

Trump won the 2016 election by flipping six states and a district in Maine from blue to red. These included Florida, Ohio and Iowa, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The latter three had not voted Republican in more than a quarter century. At the same time, his victory margin in all three was less than 1%. 

Overall, the 2016 election was competitive in many more states than 2012. 11 states plus one district in Nebraska were decided by less than 5%, compared to just 4 in 2012. Those are shown as toss-up on the map below. 

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
There are 903 days until the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Charlie Dent Resigns, Creating 7th House Vacancy; Update on Special Elections

May 14, 2018

After delivering a farewell speech last Thursday, Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) resigned from Congress on Saturday. The Pennsylvania Republican had previously announced his intention to leave prior to the end of his term.

There are now seven vacancies in the U.S. House, which is controlled by Republicans by a 235-193 margin.

Special Elections

All seven vacancies will be filled via special election, with the winner serving out the remainder of the term. Two of the vacancies are in Pennsylvania, the 7th (Pat Meehan) and 15th (Dent). Those seats will be filled on November 6th, the same date as the midterm elections. Given the state's redistricting, voters within those current district borders will choose a replacement while separately choosing a Representative for the next Congress in their newly drawn district.

Ratings Changes from Sabato's Crystal Ball

May 10, 2018

Sabato's Crystal Ball has updated a few race ratings for the November elections. They also discuss a few other contests where changes were considered, along with a recap of this past Tuesday's key primary results.

The maps below reflect their current ratings for Senate, House and governor. Click or tap any of them for an interactive version.


  • Tennessee, where polling has indicated a very competitive race, moves from likely R to leans R
  • West Virginia, where Republicans chose the more electable of two political outsiders, moves from leans R to toss-up

Republicans currently have a 51-49 edge; Democrats need a net gain of two to take control. That is an uphill climb in a year where the party is defending 26 of the 35 seats up for election, including 10 won by Donald Trump in 2016. 


  • NC-9, where incumbent Robert Pittenger (R) lost in Tuesday's primary, moves from leans R to toss-up 
  • OH-16, based on the nominees chosen on Tuesday, moves from likely R to safe R
  • FL-25 saw the entry of a credible Democratic challenger and moves from safe R to likely R (this change was made last week and is not discussed in the article)

Of the 54 seats seen as most competitive (rated toss-up or leaning), Republicans hold 49 of them. This includes the vacant OH-12, which will be filled by a special election in August. 218 seats are needed for control.


  • Massachusetts, where popular governor Charlie Baker is well-positioned for re-election, moves from likely R to safe R

There are 36 gubernatorial elections in 2018. 

Updating House Retirements: After Tuesday's Primaries, Four Members Need a Plan B

May 9, 2018

On Tuesday, North Carolina Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger lost his battle for renomination to pastor Mark Harris. He is the first House incumbent to lose a primary challenge this year. With this involuntary retirement, there are now 54 current members of the U.S. House not running for re-election to their seats this November.

Of the 54 departures, 11 were running for U.S. Senate at the beginning of the week. That number is now eight, as three of the four that had primaries on Tuesday were defeated. In Indiana, Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer were defeated, as was Rep. Evan Jenkins in West Virginia. Only Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio moved on to the general election.

The full list of retirements has been updated. Note that one of the 54, Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania is expected to resign in the upcoming weeks.

Where to Follow the Primary Results Online

May 8, 2018

Results of some key races. Use the state links further down on the page to see vote tallies

  • West Virginia Senate: Patrick Morrisey, the state's Attorney General, has won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. As expected, incumbent Joe Manchin was renominated on the Democratic side, although his roughly 70-30% victory seems a bit weak
  • Ohio Senate: Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16) won the Republican nomination
  • Ohio Governor: Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau won their respective party nominations
  • Indiana Senate: Former state Rep. Mike Braun defeated two sitting congressmen for the Republican nomination
  • North Carolina 9th Congressional District: 3rd term incumbent Republican Rob Pittenger lost to Rev. Mark Harris


The New York Times has pages set up to track the results for today's primaries in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. Click or tap the state name below. All times are Eastern.

In addition to the statewide races mentioned below, there will be primaries for the U.S. House, and various state/local races.

West Virginia: Polls close at 7:30 PM; the first results are anticipated at 7:50 PM. The three-way battle for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination is the biggest race. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is expected to easily win renomination.

Ohio:  Polls close at 7:30; results should begin to arrive by 8:00 PM.  Five candidates are vying for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has no opposition. Both parties have a competitive primary for governor; incumbent John Kasich cannot run due to term limits. There's also an interesting question about redistricting that is being voted on. The current process has left the Buckeye State as one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

Indiana:  Polls close in most of the state at 6:00 PM; the Central Time Zone areas close at 7:00 PM. As in West Virginia, three Republicans are battling for the nomination. Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is running uncontested.

North Carolina: Polls close at 7:30 with results expected shortly thereafter. Neither U.S. Senate seat is up in 2018.

Primary Tuesday: GOP Chooses Senate Nominees in Three States Won by Trump in 2016

May 8, 2018

Tuesday brings the busiest primary day of 2018 thus far, with voters in four states going to the polls to choose party nominees for the November 6th midterm elections. Republicans in three of those states, all won easily by Donald Trump in 2016, will choose nominees to face off against Democratic Senate incumbents.

Polls in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia will close at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. In Indiana, polls close at 6:00 PM local time. That's 6:00 PM Eastern for most of the state; 7:00 PM Eastern for the sections in the Central Time Zone.

A summary of the three Senate races follows.

West Virginia: This race has been getting the most attention in recent days, as former coal executive Don Blankenship has moved to be "Trumpier than Trump" in an effort to defeat two establishment opponents. His effort includes a campaign ad that won't soon be forgotten:

President Trump tweeted that Blankenship can't win in November, telling voters to choose one of his two opponents, Rep. Evan Jenkins or Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. 'Two' is the problem here for the GOP. It is entirely possible that those two split the mainstream vote while Blankenship wins a plurality. That scenario would significantly brighten the re-election prospects of Sen. Joe Manchin in a state Trump won by 42% in 2016.


Three Republicans are also competing for the nomination in this state that Trump won by 19%. Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer don't like each other, although they and former state lawmaker Mike Braun all really like the president. The winner of today's primary will face incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly.


Trump won Ohio by 8% in 2016. While a more competitive result than West Virginia or Indiana, it was the largest presidential margin of victory in that bellwether state since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis by 11% in 1988. Rep. Jim Renacci is squaring off against banker Mike Gibbons and several others. All recent polling is like this one: Renacci is ahead but with a huge amount of undecided voters. The winner will meet incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Upcoming Primary Calendar

Aside from Memorial Day week, the next month will be very active. Here's the full calendar.

May 15:  Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania

May 22:  Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky

June 5:   Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 12:  Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia

New Content: 2018 House Election Forecasts

May 7, 2018

The 2018 House Election Forecasts page is now live. At this URL, we'll keep track of the current projections from a number of forecasters. At present, these include Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, CNN and The Crosstab. Click or tap any of the maps on that page for a full interactive version.

'Starting Views' have also been added to the 2018 House Interactive Map. These include some of the above, as well as a blank map, for those that want to start from 0-0. The default map displays a wide look at the most competitive races, based on one or more of Sabato/Cook/Inside Elections rating it as toss up or leaning. That map is also below. There are currently 64 races meeting this criteria.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Similar forecaster pages also exist for the 2018 Senate and 2018 gubernatorial races.

Complicated by Redistricting, Vacant PA House Seats to be Filled on Election Day

May 2, 2018

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that the special election to fill the vacancy in the state's 7th congressional district will take place on Tuesday, November 6th. This is the same day as the general election. The incumbent, Republican Pat Meehan, resigned last Friday.

Wolf said he will handle any subsequent openings the same way, unless they occur within 60 days of the general election. This will cover an upcoming vacancy in the 15th congressional district. That incumbent, Republican Charlie Dent, has announced his intention to resign at some point in the next few weeks.

Complicating matters is a new congressional map imposed by the state Supreme Court that will be effective - for representation - beginning with the new Congress in January. Voters in all of the state's 18 congressional districts will choose party nominees based on the new district lines in the May 15 primary, with the vote for a two-year term on Election Day, November 6th. However, any special election will take place based on the existing boundaries, with the winner serving out the final two months of the current congressional term. The respective parties will choose the nominees for any special election.

This sets up the possibility that the nominees and/or winner of any special election might be different than for the general election. The court ruling has made both successor districts more Democratic. The existing 7th congressional district voted for Clinton over Trump by 2% in 2016. The new 5th district voted for Clinton by 28%. It is rated safe Democratic for the general election.

Meanwhile, the existing 15th district voted for Trump by about 8% in 2016. The new 7th district - not to be confused with the existing one discussed in the prior paragraph - voted for Clinton by 1%. It is rated toss-up for the general election.