Three new Senate polls from CBS-You Gov offer up a mixed bag for both parties. Click/tap the state name for all polls of the race.
Arizona: Incumbent Republican Jeff Flake is retiring. The Democratic nominee is likely to be Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. She will face off against a Republican to be selected in the state's primary on August 28th. Sinema leads all three of her prospective general election rivals. She has an 8 point margin on Rep. Martha McSally and former state Sen. Kelli Ward. Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio trails Sinema by 20 points. The general election is currently seen as a toss-up on the expectation that the more mainstream McSally will win the nomination.
Florida: Like Arizona, this race is also seen as a toss-up. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is seeking a 4th term. He has drawn a formidable challenger in Gov. Rick Scott who cannot seek a 3rd term due to term limits. The poll has Scott with a 46% to 41% lead over Nelson.
Texas: Incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has a 10 point lead over Rep. Beto O'Rourke, his Democratic challenger. This is pretty consistent with other polling in recent months. While Democrats are investing a lot in this race, Cruz remains favored to win.
Visit the Senate Ratings & Polls page to see the current pundit ratings for each of this year's 35 Senate races. States colored green have one or more polls available. Click/tap the state name to see those.
The New York Times reported that "The Supreme Court declined on Monday to address the central questions in two closely watched challenges to partisan gerrymandering, putting off for another time a ruling on the constitutionality of voting districts designed by legislatures to amplify one party’s political power."
The two cases in question were related to Wisconsin's redistricting plan as well as single congressional district in Maryland. As the Court had agreed to take on both cases, there was some expectation that it was ready to rule on this issue.
Barring any subsequent rulings on this topic, districts will next be redrawn after the 2020 Census, and will be first used in the 2022 Midterm elections.
As they aren't going anywhere, here's a map look at the 10 most gerrymandered districts* in the country, based on a 2014 study.
You may note that 8 of the 10 worst offenders have Democratic incumbents. However, there are multiple types of gerrymandering, and both parties are guilty. Generally, one can look to who is in control of the state legislature at the time of redistricting to place 'blame'. So, for example, Texas 35 was drawn to pack in Democratic voters, thus making it easier for Republicans to win more of the surrounding districts. On the other hand, Maryland 6, which encompasses the more conservative Western part of the state, was drawn to include enough Democratic-leaning areas to make that party more likely to win.
*We have omitted districts in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania from the list as they have been the subject of court-ordered redistricting since this study was done and no longer have the same boundaries as when the study was conducted
There are currently seven vacancies in Congress. The next special election will be on June 30 in Texas' 27th congressional district. This will fill the seat of Republican Blake Farenthold, who resigned in April.
A brief update on each vacancy.
TX-27 | Special Election: June 30 | Rating: Safe Republican
Early voting began this week and will continue through June 26th. Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled this on a Saturday preceding a major holiday, so turnout on Election Day itself will likely be light. Of the nine candidates on the ballot, only three who won in the state's primary will be on the November ballot for the two-year term beginning in January. If no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff in September.
OH-12 | Special Election: August 7 | Rating: Leans Republican
Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O'Connor were nominated in Ohio's May 8th primary. A recent Monmouth University poll gives Balderson a 10 point lead, although about 25% of voters remain undecided.
MI-13 | Special Election: November 6 | Rating: Safe Democratic
One of three special elections to be held concurrently with the midterm elections. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this safely Democratic seat is the intra-family rivalry between the two members of former Rep. John Conyers Jr. looking to replace him. The long-time congressman threw his support behind his son, John Conyers III when he resigned. However, Conyers III has been disqualified from the ballot after a challenge by his cousin, state Sen. Ian Conyers, who is also running. Should be a good time at the next family reunion...
PA-7 & PA-15 | Special Election: November 6 | Rating: N/A
These special elections will take place within the borders of the current PA-7 and PA-15. On the same day, all voters in Pennsylvania will cast ballots for representatives who will serve two-year terms in the state's redrawn districts beginning in January. In the recent primary, Pennsylvania Democratic voters nominated Mary Gay Scanlon for the new 5th district and Susan Wild in the new 7th district. The Party subsequently nominated Scanlon and Wild for the special elections, given the overlap between old and new districts. Republican voters nominated Pearl Kim in the new 5th and Marty Nothstein in the new 7th; the party has not yet selected candidates for special election. For the two-year elections, the new 5th district is Likely Democratic, while the new 7th is a toss-up.
NY-25 | Special Election: TBD | Rating: Safe Democratic
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet set a date for a special election for this seat that opened upon the death of Rep. Louise Slaughter. Voters will nominate candidates for the general election in the New York primary on June 26th.
OK-1 | Special Election: None | Rating: Safe Republican
No separate vote will be held for this open seat. Under state law, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will appoint the winner of the November 6th general election to complete the term.
We've added a new way to create or update your 2018 forecast on the Senate Interactive Map. Until now, the only option was to click or tap a state repeatedly until arriving at the desired rating. This can be a bit cumbersome if you are building a map with all seven available ratings.
The new Color Chooser allows you to select a color/rating such that only one click is necessary on a race to get the desired rating. Check it out in the short video below.
Hours after President Trump tweeted that "he is better off in Argentina"*, Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina became the 2nd member of Congress to lose a primary for reelection in 2018. Overall, it was a good night for Trump-style candidates. Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia and Danny Tarkanian won in Nevada's 3rd congressional district. Tarkanian had been endorsed by Trump after he agreed to drop his challenge to Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada's U.S. Senate primary.
Full results from Tuesday's five primaries can be found here; select a state at the top of the page for details.
Sanford is the 2nd member of Congress to lose in a party primary this year. Fellow Republican Robert Pittenger fell in North Carolina's 9th district in early May. There are now 56 current members of the House not running for reelection in November.
While these nominees are ascendant today, their victories may have negative general election impacts for Republicans:
While Democrat Tim Kaine was expected to prevail in November regardless of who the GOP nominated, the fear is that the controversial Stewart will suppress Republican vote, perhaps costing the party one or more of several competitive House seats in the state.
In Nevada, Danny Tarkanian keeps getting nominated but has yet to win a general election. While this is a competitive district, his nomination increases the likelihood Democrats hold the seat in November
Sanford won a third term by about 22 points, running about nine points ahead of Trump, who won by 13 over Hillary Clinton. That was the President's smallest margin of victory in any of the state's six Republican-held congressional districts. While nominee Katie Arrington will go into the fall as a heavy favorite, it is not completely out of the question that a Democrat could win here with no incumbent in the race. Sabato's Crystal Ball has updated this race from 'safe' to 'likely' Republican as a result of Tuesday's outcome.
* The reference is to an extramarital affair that occurred while Sanford was South Carolina's governor. He was reported to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but was actually in Argentina.
Five states are holding primaries today. A couple of the key races are highlighted below. Click or tap a state name for results from The New York Times. All times are Eastern.
Virginia: Polls close at 7:00 PM. There's a three-way battle for the Republican Senate nomination. Regardless of who wins, incumbent Tim Kaine is likely to be reelected in November. In the House, six Democrats are vying to take on GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in a swing district near Washington, D.C.
South Carolina: Polls also close at 7:00 PM. Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, who took over when Nikki Haley became U.N. Ambassador, faces four opponents as he seeks the nomination for his first full term. McMaster has been ahead in recent polling, but seems likely to fall short of the 50% required to avoid a runoff. Whomever ultimately wins the nomination will be favored in the fall. The 1st congressional district may also prove interesting. President Trump has endorsed state Rep. Katie Arrington over incumbent Mark Sanford, who he said would be "better off in Argentina" in a Tuesday afternoon tweet.
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
Maine: Polls close at 8:00 PM. As an independent, Sen. Angus King will not be on the ballot today. Both the Republican and Democratic primaries are single-candidate contests. King is expected to win a 2nd term in November. Gov. Paul LePage is termed out. There are competitive primaries in both parties; the results may not be known tonight due to Maine's use of ranked choice voting.
North Dakota: Poll hours are set locally, but virtually all will be closed by 9:00 PM. A very competitive Senate race is shaping up for the fall. Incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp has no primary opponent, while U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer is expected to win the Republican nomination fairly easily. Cramer
Nevada: Polls close at 10:00 PM. Several interesting elections today. There's both a Senate and gubernatorial race this year, both are expected to be highly competitive in November. In the Senate, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is expected to face incumbent Republican Dean Heller in November. A competitive primary in the Democratic gubernatorial race is expected between two Clark County Commissioners. On the Republican side, Attorney General Adam Laxalt is expected to emerge as nominee. He also received an endorsement from Trump on Tuesday
I strongly endorse Adam Laxalt for Governor of Nevada. Adam is smart, works hard, and knows how to win. He will be a great Governor. Also, will fight hard to lower your taxes and is tough on crime!
Turning to the House, there are competitive primaries in both the 3rd and 4th districts. Both districts are being vacated by Democratic incumbents. The 4th district was created after the 2010 Census. There have been three one-term Representatives here: Democrat Steven Horsford, Republican Cresent Hardy, and current incumbent Ruben Kihuen. As it turns out, the first two are running to reclaim the seat, and are likely to meet in the fall. In the 3rd district, the competitiveness of the fall race will come more into focus once the GOP chooses its nominee. There are 10 candidates on the Republican side, including controversial businessman Danny Tarkanian.
Five 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.
If you live in one of these states, click or tap the name to find your polling location.
1 All times Eastern 2 Percentage must be exceeded to avoid runoff; date of runoff election 3 There is a lot of local flexibility in poll closing times. This is the latest time for most locations. If you are in North Dakota, check here for your polling place and hours.
Maine: Ranked-Choice Voting
Tuesday will see voters in Maine becoming the first in the nation to use ranked-choice voting (RCV) for statewide and congressional elections. It will apply to primary races with three or more candidates on the ballot. In those cases, voters will be able to rank as many of the candidates as they want in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, the candidate who receives the fewest of these is eliminated. The ballots that chose the now-eliminated candidate first are recounted, with each voter's second choice being added to the first-round totals. If this puts someone over 50%, we have a winner. If not, there are additional rounds of allocation until one candidate achieves a majority of the votes counted in that round.
For those interested, here's a painfully long video explaining the process:
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.
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