Election News

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, Facing Multiple Harassment Claims, Won't Stand for Reelection

December 16, 2017

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who is facing multiple sexual harassment claims, has announced he will not seek reelection to his seat in 2018. Kihuen, who former Sen. Harry Reid once called "a rising star in Nevada and the Democratic Party", unseated Republican Cresent Hardy in 2016 to become Nevada's first Latino congressman.

Nevada's 4th congressional district encompasses North Las Vegas and a large portion of rural central Nevada. The district was created after the 2010 Census, as the state added a congressional district due to rapid population growth. As recently as 1980, there was one at-large representative for the entire state. Kihuen is the 3rd person to represent the district, each of whom will have served only one term.

 

Hillary Clinton won the district by 5 points over Donald Trump in 2016. The seat is currently rated as 'Leans Democrat' for 2018.

Kihuen becomes the 40th House member, and 2nd from Nevada, to announce they aren't seeking reelection in 2018. Kihuen's colleague, Rep. Jacky Rosen, also in her first term, is attempting to unseat Sen. Dean Heller.



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After Alabama: Updating the 2018 Senate Outlook

December 14, 2017

The 2018 Senate Interactive Map has been updated to reflect the 34 seats to be contested on November 6, 2018. This includes a special election in Minnesota, where Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take over when Sen. Al Franken departs. The recently completed Alabama special election has been removed. (These two special election seats will again be contested in 2020, while the 33 remaining 2018 elections are for six-year terms through 2024). 

Once Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is seated, the Senate will consist of 51 Republicans, 49 Democrats*. That means Democrats will need to gain two seats in 2018 to take control in 2019, as Vice-President Pence will break any ties in a 50-50 Senate in favor of the Republicans. The win in Alabama gives them an opening to accomplish that, but it is still an uphill climb due to the particular seats up in this cycle.

The following maps are all interactive, and all are based on the Senate after Mr. Jones is sworn-in. Click on any of them to create and share your own 2018 Senate forecast

Blank Map: The 34 Senate seats to be contested in 2018. Only 8 of 51 Republican seats are up this cycle, the remaining 43 split between 2020 and 2022. 

 

 

 

 

Current Party: The 34 seats are filled in with the incumbent party. The Senate would remain 51-49 Republican if no seats flipped in the 2018 midterms.

  

 

 

 

Safe Seats: The 16 seats rated 'safe' by all three of Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections. The remaining 18 seats, with the tan shading, are or could become competitive in the eyes of one or more of these pundits. The GOP need only win 3 of these 18 to maintain control.  


How Democrats Gain Control: The most likely path is for Democrats to defend all the seats they hold (medium blue) and win two Republican-held seats. Arizona and Nevada (light blue) are considered toss-ups by all three pundits and are the most likely route. Absent both of those, Tennessee and Texas (medium red) would be the only other prospects, although Democrats face much greater odds.    


How Republicans Keep Control: This remains the most likely outcome of the 2018 midterms. Any 'Democrats Gain Control' scenario, like the one above, means the party must win 28 of 34 elections. That's no easy feat even if everything goes perfectly for the blue team. However, as we've seen in recent weeks, long political careers can be derailed in a manner of days.

For example, the seat held by Al Franken may well be competitive in 2018; it was previously considered safe Democratic territory. In addition, Democrats must win five states that Donald Trump won in 2016 by 18% or more. In this map, we show those states, plus Republican-held Arizona and Nevada, as in-play (tan). Assuming no other surprises, a Republican win in just one of those 7 states and the GOP keeps control.

 


Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Election

December 12, 2017

The Associated Press has called the Alabama special election for Doug Jones. 

Once Jones is seated, Republicans will hold 51 seats vs. 49 for Democrats.


Minnesota Governor to Announce Replacement for Sen. Franken Wednesday Morning

December 12, 2017

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton will announce his choice for his state's next U.S. Senator Wednesday morning at 10AM (11AM ET). The appointment will take over after Al Franken leaves the Senate, although the incumbent Senator still hasn't said when he plans to actually resign. It seems a bit odd to name a replacement before the actual resignation, but here we are.

Here's a list of five people the governor may choose, from Minnesota Public Radio.

The appointment is temporary; there will be an election next November to fill what will then be the final two years of Franken's term. As a result, both Minnesota Senate seats will be contested in 2018.

We've updated our Senate interactive map to include this special election. The map below shows the current Senate race ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball. They've started the Minnesota special at 'Leans Democrat'. Today's Alabama special election remains at 'toss-up'.


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

Two New Alabama Senate Polls Muddy the Waters; Average Little Changed

December 11, 2017

Two new polls paint completely different pictures of tomorrow's Senate special election in Alabama. Fox News gives Democrat Doug Jones has a 10 point lead over Republican Roy Moore. The last poll showing Jones with this kind of lead was the last Fox News poll in mid November, which showed him up by 8 points. 

Most other recent polls have shown Moore in the lead. This morning's survey from Emerson College, gives Moore a 9 point margin, significantly higher than the 3 point margin they gave him about 10 days ago. Moore's 53% share of the vote is also a high-water mark for him among recent polling.

Looking at the average, these two new polls basically cancel each other out. Moore maintains an average lead of 3.3%.

This wide variation in these two releases highlights the challenge pollster have trying to model turnout. As Fox notes: "This race’s uniqueness is significant. It is impossible to know who will show up to vote in a special election to fill a seat in the middle of a term in an off-year. And it’s December, a time when people expect to be going to the shopping mall, not the voting booth." The Alabama Secretary of state estimates just a 20% turnout, vs. 62% in the November, 2016 election.


Alabama Senate Election Tuesday; Latest Polls Favor Moore

December 10, 2017

The most recent polling in Alabama has become more consistent. It shows Republican Roy Moore with a mid-single digit lead over Democrat Doug Jones heading into Tuesday's long-awaited, high-stakes Senate election.

 

Will the polls prove accurate? The big question is whether turnout on Tuesday matches the pollsters' assumptions about who will actually vote. While this is always an issue, it is particularly challenging in this case - a special election that is not being held off-cycle in a state with no early voting. The Times Daily notes that "the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office last week said it estimates a 20 percent voter turnout on Tuesday. That’s higher than the August primary’s 15 percent and the GOP runoff’s 18 percent. Turnout for the 2016 General Election was 62 percent." 


House Updates: Michigan Special Election Set; Arizona's Franks Leaves Early

December 9, 2017

Michigan governor Rick Snyder has set November 6th, 2018 for a special election to fill the seat of Rep. John Conyers, who resigned earlier in the week. That date coincides with the midterm elections, meaning voters on that date will select a representative for the final two months of Conyer's term, as well as a representative for the two-year term beginning in January, 2019.

It also means that residents of the 13th district, which covers most of Detroit, will have no representation in Congress for nearly a year. The Republican governor's stated reasons for the delay are around cost, as well as giving both prospective candidates and voters ample time to prepare. We're sure it has nothing to do with this being a safe Democratic seat.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Rep. Trent Franks resigned his seat Friday, a day after announcing his plan to resign on January 31, 2018. The accelerated timetable came after additional revelations around sexual harrassment became public. Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to set the date for a special election on Monday. This is a safe Republican seat. Update: The special election will be April 24, 2018.

The departures of Conyers and Franks means there are now three open seats in the House. A special election will be held on March 13th, 2018, to fill the vacancy in Pennsylvania's 18th district, formerly held by Republican Tim Murphy. That seat is rated as likely Republican.

With the departures, there are 239 Republicans, 193 Democrats in the House. 

 


Arizona Republican Rep.Trent Franks to Resign Early in 2018

December 7, 2017

Arizona Republican Trent Franks released a statement Thursday indicating he will leave Congress early in 2018. Franks noted in his statement that he is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for inquiring with two female staffers about whether they would be a surrogate for his child. 

Franks' resignation will be effective January 31, 2018.

 

Franks is in his 8th term representing Arizona's 8th congressional district, a safe Republican district just north of Phoenix. Donald Trump won the district by 21 points in 2016. 


Senator Al Franken to Resign; Initial Ratings for 2018 Minnesota Special Election

December 7, 2017

Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) announced his intention to resign in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday morning. Many of his Democratic colleagues had called for his resignation on Wednesday, after additional allegations of sexual harrassment became public. The date of his Senate departure has not yet been announced. 

The state's Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, will appoint Franken's replacement. Speculation is centering around the state's Lt. Gov., Tina Smith. Regardless of who is picked, a special election will be held, coinciding with the midterm elections on November 6th, 2018. The winner of that election will serve the final two years of the six-year term. The next regularly scheduled election will be in November, 2020.

Both Minnesota Senate seats will now be contested in 2018. While Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar seems a safe bet for reelection, this seat may be competitive. Franken initially won this seat by just 300 votes over Republican Norm Coleman in 2008. Additionally, although Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 - the longest such streak across the 50 states - Hillary Clinton only won here by 1.5%. 

Sabato's Crystal Ball starts this race as 'Leans Democrat'. Inside Elections says 'Likely Democrat', while the Cook Political Report has it as Toss-up. These varied ratings will likely coalesce once we know who the governor appoints, whether that person is likely to run again in 2018, and who the Republican nominee will be. The pundit analyses can be read in their entirety by clicking the respective links in this paragraph.

We are working to update our Senate interactive map to reflect the addition of a 2nd 2018 election in Minnesota. 


If Al Franken Resigns Thursday, as Expected....

December 6, 2017

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) is expected to resign Thursday following the latest round of sexual harrassment allegations against the two-term Senator. If that does happen:

  • Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a replacement. Some names being mentioned include Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Tim Walz, along with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
  • A special election will be held to coincide with the 2018 midterm elections. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Franken's term, which is next up for election in 2020
  • According to Sabato's Crystal Ball, the race will start at 'Leans Democrat'

 

 This rating is likely due, at least in part, to the close result in the 2016 presidential election. Although Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 - the longest such streak across the 50 states - Hillary Clinton only won here by 1.5%.  

A special election means that both Minnesota seats will be contested in 2018. At this time, Sen. Amy Klobuchar looks 'safe' for the regularly scheduled election.

Democrats will now be forced to defend 26 of 34 seats contested in 2018. We'll be updating our 2018 interactive map in the days ahead to reflect the additional contest.



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