Guide to Election Night 2018
With 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate seats up for grabs this election, not to mention 36 governorships and thousands of state legislative seats, there’s a lot of information and polling data to keep track of. This comprehensive guide to Election Night 2018 is meant to help you know which races to keep your eye on as results start pouring in on November 6th. I have broken down the night in chronological order, using the times at which all polling places in each state are scheduled to be closed. All polling numbers cited are from FiveThirtyEight’s Lite Forecast, a weighted aggregate of all major polling data. Simply click on the state or district name for each race and you will find a link to the data for that specific election. Additionally, states' and districts’ partisan leans have been found using Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index.
You can either read through this all-inclusive article in one sitting, or use it as an hour-by-hour viewing guide throughout the night. The choice is yours! Regardless, my aim is to help enhance your Election Night watch party experience this year by allowing you to be a more fully informed observer. Hope you all enjoy!
All Polls Close In: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
Key Senate Races
As the earliest results of the night start rolling in, the first Senate race to watch will be in Indiana, where Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) is being challenged by businessman and former state representative Mike Braun (R). Currently, the incumbent Donnelly is up 3.0 points in the polls, so while this seat is unlikely to flip, a close race within just a point or so could signal a more favorable night ahead for Republicans.
Key House Races
The first congressional district of the night to watch results come out of is going to be KY-06, where polls should actually have closed at around 6:00 pm. In that race, Rep. Andy Barr (R) is currently neck-and-neck in the polls with former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath (D), with McGrath ahead by 0.4 percentage points at the moment. This is somewhat concerning for the GOP, as this is an R+9 district that Trump won by 15 points. If the Democrats appear to be winning here, it could spell a rough night ahead for other vulnerable Republicans across the country.
In the nearby state of Virginia, there are four vulnerable Republican districts to watch, namely the 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 10th districts of the commonwealth. While Republicans currently enjoy narrow leads in VA-02 and VA-07, VA-05 appears to be neck-and-neck, with Leslie Cockburn (D) leading Denver Riggleman (R) slightly by 0.2 points in the polls. VA-10, the site of the GW College Republicans’ most recent campaign trip, could be a close one as results come in, although Jennifer Wexton (D) does have a 8-point lead over Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).
If you’re looking for a couple other races to keep your eye on early on in Election Night, you can take a look at GA-06, site of the June 2017 special election which evolved into the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history. Here, incumbent Rep. Karen Handel (R) is actually trailing Lucy McBath (D) by 1.4 percentage points. A surprise loss by Handel could spell trouble ahead for the GOP. The only other Georgia congressional race of interest is in GA-07, where Rep. Rob Woodall (R) currently leads Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) by 10% and is expected to win. Another interesting district is SC-01, a seat currently held by Rep. Mark Sanford, who failed to win the Republican primary after President Trump endorsed his opponent. This opponent, Katie Arrington (R), holds a 6.8-point lead over her Democrat challenger Joe Cunningham (D) at the moment.
Other Key Races
Be sure to also follow the statewide returns in Georgia’s gubernatorial election, which features GA Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) and former state House minority leader and attorney Stacey Abrams (D). Kemp has a 2.3-point lead as of right now, but the polls have swung back and forth in this highly contested race, and it will almost certainly come down to the wire. Look for this to be one of the closest statewide races of the night, as it may actually end up requiring a separate runoff election if neither candidate can eclipse the 50% mark, thanks to Georgia state election law.
All Polls Close In: NC, OH, WV
Key Senate Races
In West Virginia, incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has had to maneuver himself very carefully recently, given that Trump won his state by a whopping 42 points and that West Virginia is deemed the “7th-most-Republican state in the country” by FiveThirtyEight. That being said, with his “moderate” record and his vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Manchin has ingratiated himself fairly well with many West Virginians, and he leads opponent Patrick Morrisey (R) by 7.7 points.
Key House Races
The three key races where polls close at 7:30 all come in North Carolina, namely in the Tar Heel State’s 2nd, 9th, and 13th districts. NC-09 is the most eye-grabbing, as pastor Mark Harris (R) holds just a 0.4-point lead over energy executive and veteran Dan McCready (D), meaning that the race could easily go either way. This seat, currently held by Robert Pittenger, who was the first congressional incumbent to lose a primary in 2018, is in an R+8 district that Trump won by 12 points. Nevertheless, it is certainly in play and will likely be an extremely close race. There’s also NC-02, where Rep. George Holding (R) leads Linda Coleman (D) by 8.5 points, and NC-13, where Rep. Ted Budd (R) has a 2.9-point lead over Kathy Manning (D). Holding these three North Carolina districts will be pivotal if the Republicans seek to hold their House majority.
There’s also OH-12, where Rep. Troy Balderson (R) defeated Danny O’Connor (D) by just over 1,500 votes (a 0.8% margin) in a special election earlier this year. Now, in this rematch, Balderson is polling 3.6 points above O’Connor, but it’s also possible that this race could end up being just as close as it was in the August race. Sticking with the state of Ohio, you can also watch results come in in OH-01, where Rep. Steve Chabot (R) is facing challenger Aftab Pureval (D). While Chabot does have a 6.3-point lead in the polls, he is still deemed to be a vulnerable incumbent, and thus if returns are looking very close in this district, Republicans could be in trouble.
One last strange one is WV-03, an R+23 district that Trump won by an incredible 50 percentage points. Still, in this race for the seat that Rep. Evan Jenkins vacated to run (unsuccessfully) for U.S. Senate, Carol Miller (R) has only a 4.8-point lead over Richard Ojeda (D). Ojeda is a state Senator and combat veteran who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and if he were to flip West Virginia’s 3rd, it would be one of the most astounding victories of the night for Democrats.
Other Key Races
The race to succeed John Kasich as Governor of Ohio is an extremely tight race, and one to follow as the night moves on. Mike Devine (R), the Ohio Attorney General and former US Senator, is currently polling 2.4 percentage points behind Richard Cordray (D), who has held several key positions in the state himself. This one could still swing the GOP's way, but it would undoubtedly be a huge loss for the Ohio Republican Party should Cordray be able to come away with a win.
All Polls Close In: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, MA, MD, ME, MO, MS, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
Key Senate Races
At the 8:00 hour, results from a few states key to the Republican Senate majority will start pouring in. There’s the Florida race, where polls in a large section of the state will actually have started to close at 7:00. Governor Rick Scott (R) is seeking to unseat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D), but Nelson appears to be leading in public polling by about 3 percentage points. If Governor Scott were to be successful, it would virtually guarantee that Republicans would maintain control of the U.S. Senate.
Then there’s the Missouri race, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is holding onto a slim 0.5-point margin in FiveThirtyEight’s weighted average of polls. But in fact, many individual polls have shown state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) narrowly ahead. Missouri is yet another state where a Republican challenger’s victory could mean it’s “game over” for the Democrats’ hopes of taking back the Senate.
On the flip side, a huge boost the Democrats are looking for in the Senate is in Tennessee, where incumbent Senator Bob Corker is retiring and thus vacating his seat. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R) is running with just a 4.7-point lead over former Governor Phil Bredesen (D). Bredesen is attempting to run, in the style of Joe Manchin, as a blue dog Democrat in a ruby red state that voted for Trump by 26 points. Bredesen claims that he will support President Trump when he believes the President is right, and stated publicly that he supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. The state of Tennessee will decide between a conservative and a purported moderate, and if the Democrats should come away with a win, it would be a major boost to their party.
One additional race that may be of special importance to many GW CRs members is the Senate race in New Jersey, where there has been recent talk of a possible Republican surprise. While Sen. Bob Menendez (D) is running in the aftermath of a criminal indictment and a scathing bipartisan rebuke from the Senate Ethics Committee, his favorability has actually not majorly suffered. He is running 10.1 points ahead of former pharmaceutical company CEO Bob Hugin (R). While Hugin is certainly an attractive moderate candidate to many New Jersey residents, the simple fact remains that the state voted for Hillary Clinton by 14 points in 2016, for Governor Phil Murphy by 14 points in 2017, and is unlikely to experience a wild 15-point shift after just 12 months.
Key House Races
In Florida, there are a spate of House races to watch, the most important taking place in the 15th, 16th, 26th, and 27th congressional districts of the state. In FL-16, it appears that Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) will win re-election, as he currently leads challenger David Shapiro (D) by 6.8 points. Conversely, Democrats seem poised to take control of FL-27, a district vacated by the second-most bipartisan member of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. There, Donna Shalala (D) is ahead of TV news anchor Maria Salazar (R) by a solid 3.3 percentage points. The other two races appear to be much closer in terms of polling. In FL-15, the race to replace Dennis Ross is neck-and-neck, and Republican state representative Ross Spano (R) has an extremely slim 0.8-point lead over attorney Kristen Carlson (D). Certainly something to keep your eye on as results come in.
But the Florida race which will perhaps garner the most attention is in FL-26, a D+6 district with a constituency that is over two-thirds Hispanic. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) is the incumbent here, where his moderate, bipartisan approach has gained much support amongst constituents. Although he is currently polling only 0.2 percentage points ahead of Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), the polls were very similar in 2016, and Curbelo won by 11.8% over his challenger that year. The hope among Republican officials is that history will repeat itself in this district. If Republicans can hold both FL-15 and FL-26, that will be a positive sign for the GOP.
Illinois is a state through which the “blue wave” was originally supposed to run, but where a few vulnerable Republicans have recently taken the lead in polls. In IL-12 and IL-13, the incumbent GOP congressmen appear poised to hold their seats, although not by as comfortable a margin as they would wish. The incumbents in these two districts are ahead by 5-7 percentage points according to FiveThirtyEight’s Lite Forecast. IL-06 is very much up for grabs, however, and in fact, Democrat challenger Sean Casten (D) is actually leading Rep. Peter Roskam (R) by 1 point. Rep. Roskam is running for his seventh term, but given that this R+2 district was won by Hillary Clinton by 7 points, there is a clear opening for energy executive Casten to win the seat. And then there's IL-14, where Rep. Randy Hultgren (R) has just within the past week lost his multi-point lead in the polls and now trails Lauren Underwood (D) by 2.8 percentage points.
Due to court-mandated redistricting of Pennsylvania’s congressional map, the Democrats are definitively set to pick up at least a few seats in the Keystone State. Examples of these are the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 17th districts of the state. However, there are a few other close Pennsylvania races that Republicans are hoping to hold onto. GOP incumbents in PA-10 and PA-16 hold small 3-4 point leads for the time being, so those will most likely be close races to look out for. But the tightest race in the state will probably be in PA-01, where moderate Republican incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) is trailing attorney and philanthropist Scott Wallace (D) by a razor-thin 0.4 percentage points. Fitzpatrick is the third-most bipartisan member of Congress, and has actually done some campaigning for his Democrat colleague Josh Gottheimer in NJ-05. A defeat of Fitzpatrick would be a major blow to the moderate wing of the House Republican caucus.
Speaking of New Jersey, there are a few close races in the Garden State as well. While the GOP seems poised to lose control of NJ-11, the races in two other districts appear to be much closer. In NJ-03, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) is being hit hard for his pivotal support of the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare last year, and as a result is down by 0.9 points against Andy Kim (D). Meanwhile, in NJ-07, moderate Rep. Leonard Lance (R) trails former Obama administration official Tom Malinowski (D) by 5.4 percentage points, despite the fact that he opposed the healthcare bill and the tax reform bill, both unpopular among his constituents. Lastly, outside of New Jersey, let’s not forget about ME-02, where Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) is currently 1.1 points behind veteran and state representative Jared Golden (D). This, too, will be a neck-and-neck race to follow.
Other Key Races
One of the most high-profile races of the night will be the contest to decide Florida’s next governor, where pro-Trump Congressman Ron DeSantis (R) squares off against far-left Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum (D). Although the state of Florida has not elected a Democrat as governor since 1994, that trend may change this year, as Gillum is leading by 4.3 points in the polls. This race has drawn immense attention nationwide, and will certainly be a focal point of many viewers.
Some of the most positive outcomes of the night for Republicans will most likely come out of the gubernatorial elections in two very blue states. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has bridged the partisan divide to make great progress for his state, all while beating cancer while in office, has enjoyed approval ratings near 70% percent. Hogan is up 18.7% in his race to be re-elected, which is music to the. ears of the several GW College Republicans who have interned and volunteered for Hogan this fall. In a similar dynamic in liberal Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) enjoys massive popularity, often ranking as the most popular governor in America, and is projected to win his race by a remarkable 39.6-point margin.
All Polls Close In: AR
Key House Races
As this next half-hour rolls through, Arkansas will close its polls statewide. Our attention will still largely be on other races, as the only remotely interesting race here is in AR-02. Here, Rep. French Hill (R) appears likely to win re-election, as he leads state representative Clarke Tucker (D) by 8.2 points. If this race ends up surprisingly close, things could get interesting. But until that point, keep your focus on the rest of the results rolling in from the polls that closed at 8:00.
All Polls Close In: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, SD, TX, WI, WY
Key Senate Races
With the next major cluster of polls closing come a couple more key Senate races to watch, with the most pivotal race taking place in Arizona. The state is set to elect its first female U.S. Senator ever, with Congresswoman Martha McSally (R) taking on Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D). McSally, an Air Force veteran who was the first woman to fly in active combat for the United States, has been heavily supported by President Trump dating back to her heated primary race. Currently, however, Sinema is leading in the polls by 1.8 percentage points. Predictions on this race vary heavily, but many would agree that a GOP win here would very much limit the possibility of a Democrat majority in the Senate.
There’s also the Texas race that’s gotten an exorbitant amount of national media coverage, where Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is facing a heavily-funded challenge from Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D). Polls throughout much of the state will have actually closed at 8:00, so we could have a decent amount of results already in by the 9:00 hour. O’Rourke has won the hearts of many Democrats nationwide, as he attempts to run as a solid liberal in an R+8 state. Cruz is still leading in the polls by 5.3 points, although many Republicans would like to see that margin be much greater. But at the end of the day, Cruz is still expected to win another six-year term as Senator. Should liberal dreams come true and O’Rourke pulls off some miraculous upset, Republicans will be in for quite a shock.
Many College Republicans may also look with hope towards Michigan, as the Republicans have nominated John James (R), an exciting young African American candidate who’s a war veteran and accomplished businessman, to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), who has been in elected office longer than James has been alive. We shouldn’t get too excited, though, as Stabenow is ahead of James by 10.7 points and is expected to win pretty comfortably. However, James is certainly a rising star in the GOP to watch out for in the coming years.
Key House Races
The 9:00 poll closings present another vast group of competitive House races to track. Again, it may be helpful to group some of these by state. Looking at New York first, there is a very close contest in NY-22, where incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) is barely holding onto a 1.2-point lead over state assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D). Similarly, in NY-19, incumbent Rep. John Faso (R) is in an extremely tight race against attorney Antonio Delgado (D). In fact, Delgado is actually in the lead by 1.4 points for the time being. Holding these two seats will be key for the GOP’s plan to maintain their House majority, as will be NY-27, where recently indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R) is maintaining a 4.6-point lead over challenger Nate McMurray (D). And while Rep. John Katko (R) originally appeared vulnerable in NY-24, he has solidified a 9.4-point lead over activist Dana Balter (D) and appears to be on a path towards victory.
Minnesota also has four key races - two in Republican districts, and the other two in districts currently held by Democrats. Republicans appear poised to lose in MN-02, where Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is trailing health care executive Angie Craig (D) by 6.2 points, as well as in MN-03, where Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) is down 7.2 points to businessman and philanthropist Dean Phillips (D). However, Republicans have a rare opportunity to cancel out these likely losses. In MN-08, Pete Stauber (R) is likely to defeat Joe Radinovich (D) in a district with a retiring Democrat incumbent. Stauber is ahead of Radinovich by 11.6 points in the polls. MN-01 is the opportunity for the GOP to pick up a seat, as Democrat incumbent Rep. Tim Walz has vacated his seat to run for Governor. There, businessman Jim Hagedorn (R) is locked in a neck-and-neck fight with veteran and former Obama administration official Dan Feehan (D). Hagedorn currently leads by a slim 0.4 percentage points.
In Michigan, home of several active GW College Republicans members, Rep. Mike Bishop (R) is battling to maintain his seat in MI-08, where he trails another former Obama administration official, Elissa Slotkin (D), by 2.5 points in the polls. The other race of interest in the state is MI-11, where incumbent Rep. Dave Trott has chosen to retire, opening up a battle to fill his seat. The Republican nominee is businesswoman and former Trump campaign state co-chair Lena Epstein (R), and the Democrats have nominated Haley Stevens (D), a former Treasury Department official from the Obama years. Stevens is leading by 4.6 points. The GOP would like to come away with a win in at least one of these races.
Now looking further South, in Texas, there is a heated battle for control of TX-07. Rep. John Culberson (R) was first elected in 2000, but given that Hillary Clinton won his district in 2016, the Democrats are looking to take control of his apparently vulnerable seat. Culberson now has just a small 2% lead over attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D). This is certainly a key race to watch when results are coming in. Polls in this district actually close at 8:00 EST, as they do in TX-32. There, chair of the House Rules Committee and former NRCC chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R) is in a deadlocked race with Colin Allred (D). Allred has an impressive career path, as a former NFL linebacker who left football to pursue law, and who eventually ended up working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama. Allred is up 2.8 points in the polls over incumbent Sessions, and this will be another extremely close election to watch returns from.
Be sure not to forget about the other very close miscellaneous House races at this hour, specifically in KS-02, NM-02, and WI-01 (Paul Ryan’s current district), three districts where Republican incumbents have chosen not to run for re-election for various reasons. All three of these races are within just around 1 percentage point or so in either direction.
A hypothetical “blue wave” scenario could see Rep. Will Hurd (R) and Rep. John Carter (R) being defeated in TX-23 and TX-31, respectively, although both of these Congressmen have now solidified leads over 14 points each. NE-02 could also be in danger if the Democrats pick up wide swaths of seats, although Rep. Don Bacon (R) is up by 6.8% for the time being. Conversely, a “red wave” situation might involve Republican incumbents in CO-06 and KS-03 holding onto their seats, but Democrat challengers there have leads above 8 points right now. AZ-02, currently represented by Martha McSally, is also expected to go blue, as former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D) is up 8.8 points in the polls.
Other Key Races
While it may not be considered the most powerful position in the country, keep your eye out on the gubernatorial race in Kansas. The Republicans have nominated Kris Kobach (R), the Kansas Secretary of State, former Kansas GOP party chair, and solid Trump supporter, while the Democrats seek to elect state senator Laura Kelly (D) as their next Governor. The Republican primary in this state was decided by just 345 votes, and it’s quite possible that the general election could be nearly as close. This very well may be one of the closest races nationwide this year, so it could be a fun one to watch the results of.
All Polls Close In: IA, MT, NV, UT
Key Senate Races
In Nevada, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R) is in a tough fight for reelection against Congresswoman Jackie Rosen (D). At the beginning of this race, it appeared as if Heller was fighting an uphill battle and was likely to lose, especially given that Nevada is a D+1 state in which Hillary Clinton defeated President Trump by 2.4%. However, he has a run a great campaign and retook his lead in the polls, although Heller is actually now back down by a very narrow 1.1 percentage points. This seat could be key to which party controls the U.S. Senate, so it’s definitely a major election to watch.
Early on, Republicans had held high hopes of picking up the Senate seat in R+11 Montana, where Trump outperformed Clinton by over 20% in 2016. However, Sen. Jon Tester (D) has done a phenomenal job at differentiating himself from the national Democrat Party, and as a result is ahead of state auditor Matt Rosendale (R) by a respectable 3.5 points. With a surprise Republican win here, Democrats could kiss their hopes of retaking the Senate goodbye. However, what’s far more likely is that Tester will be reelected to another term as United States Senator.
Key House Races
In the state of Iowa, there are two vulnerable Republican incumbents who are currently down in the polls. In IA-01, Rep. Rod Blum (R) is trailing to state representative and non-profit executive Abby Finkenauer (D) by a whopping 8.8 percentage points. Meanwhile, in IA-03, Rep. David Young (R) appears to be just behind challenger Cindy Axne (D), as Axne holds a modest 1.6-point lead. This is actually quite astounding, as although Iowa is often considered a swing state, Trump won it by nearly 10 points in 2016, with Blum and Young being reelected by roughly 8-point and 14-point margins, respectively, that same year. Republican losses here would be quite telling.
In Nevada, it is actually the Democrats that are playing defense, as there are two incumbent Democrats who aren’t seeking reelection. In NV-03, where Senate candidate Jacky Rosen currently serves, pro-Trump businessman Danny Tarkanian (R) is seeking to defeat Susie Lee (D), although Lee is currently ahead by 7%. In NV-04, incumbent Democrat Rep. Ruben Kihuen is retiring, and two former U.S. Congressmen are battling to take his seat. Cresent Hardy (R) served in this district from 2015 to 2017, but he was actually preceded by Steven Horsford (D). Horsford is currently up by 4.9 points in this race to reclaim the seat which both candidates once held themselves. If Republicans win either of these Nevada races, it could help to offset GOP losses elsewhere.
Then there’s MT-AL, where one congressperson represents the entire state of Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives due to its sparse population. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) famously won this seat in a 2017 special election by 5.6% despite body-slamming a reporter the night before the election. Seeking to unseat Gianforte is former state representative Kathleen Williams (D), who is boosted by the popularity of Senate candidate Jon Tester across the state. Still, Gianforte is hanging onto a 4.6-point lead in this race.
One of the more surprising races of the night is in UT-04, where Rep. Mia Love (R) is having to defend her seat against state official Ben McAdams (D). Love is actually the first African-American Republican member of Congress and is often considered an exciting and popular young candidate, as she is only 42 years of age. But McAdams has astonishingly taken the lead in this race, now up by 2.6 percentage points. The Republican hope is that the small amount of polling that has taken place here is simply inaccurate, but a loss for Love would be devastating.
All Polls Close In: CA, HI, ID, ND, OR, WA
Key Senate Races
The last Senate race of the night to watch will take place in North Dakota, where Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) is facing an extremely tough challenge from Congressman Kevin Cramer (R). President Trump won North Dakota by a massive 35.7-point margin, with Hillary Clinton garnering only 27.2% of the vote statewide. While Heitkamp has tried to her hardest to distance herself from other Democrats, actually voting in agreement with Donald Trump’s positions over 50% of the time, that’s a very tough argument to make in an R+17 state that FiveThirtyEight calls “the 4th-most-Republican state in the country.” As a result, Republican nominee Cramer is up 8.6 points and is expected to cruise to victory.
Key House Races
Largely a testament to how blue the D+12 state is, there are a whopping seven state races that are complete or near “toss-ups” in California, all currently held by Republican incumbents. It’s very likely that the Democrats will take control of CA-49, where incumbent Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring, and where GOP nominee Diane Harkey (R) is trailing by 9.8 points to attorney and activist Mike Levin (D). In CA-50, however, it appears likely that embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) will be reelected, despite recent indictments over campaign finance violations and controversy surrounding his controversial campaign tactics, as he leads challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) by 4.6 percentage points.
The rest of the California races appear to be even closer. In CA-10, Rep. Jeff Denham (R) is currently down 2.2 points against venture capitalist Josh Harder (D). In CA-25, where the race was very recently dead even, Rep. Steve Knight (R) has opened up a small lead, now ahead of Katie Hill (D), a non-profit executive with strong Hollywood
ties, by 3.4 percentage points.
CA-39 is currently represented by Republican Ed Royce, but now that Royce is retiring, the candidates vying for power are former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) and lottery winner and philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D). Kim, who would be the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress, is leading by 1.2% in the polls.
While CA-45 has never been represented by a Republican in Congress before, that may change this year, as Rep. Mimi Walters (R) is now trailing attorney Katie Porter (D) by 0.6 points in this R+3 district. Lastly, in CA-48, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), who was first elected in 1988, finds himself in a tight race against businessman and attorney Harley Rouda (D). Rohrabacher is up 1.6 points, although some recent polls have had him as much as 9% ahead of Rouda. Clearly, absent a total blue wave, the race to obtain the House majority may come down to the returns coming out of the state of California in the wee hours of election night.
Finally, there are three districts in the state of Washington to watch as well. In WA-03, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) has a lead of just 4.8 percentage points over college professor Carolyn Long (D). Next, in WA-05, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), chair of the House Republican Caucus, is considered somewhat vulnerable, although she now has increased her lead over former state Senate majority leader Lisa Brown (D) to 8%. Then there’s WA-08, currently held by retiring GOP Congressman Dave Reichert. This neck-and-neck race has state senator Dino Rossi (R) trailing pediatrician Kim Schrier (D) by just 0.4 points. This WA-08 race could be a close one to watch as the final results keep coming in.
Most Polls Close In: AK
Key House Races
While, typically, elections have already been decided before the Alaska returns come in, often resulting in the state being viewed as politically irrelevant, we already know that this is no ordinary election cycle. In an unlikely hypothetical situation where the House majority is determined by one single member, we could end up impatiently waiting for the returns from Alaska’s sole congressional district, which represents the entire state at large. AK-AL is represented by Rep. Don Young (R), the longest-serving current member of the House of Representatives, who was first elected to his seat in 1972. Young is expected to win, although he’s currently only ahead of activist Alyse Galvin (I/D) by 3.2 points. Should the House majority actually be determined by one sole seat, a lot more people may be learning Don Young’s name at 2:00 in the morning on November 7th.
So...Who Will Win?
If you have combed through the 5,000 words above, you must be wondering one simple question: who will win this election? While I wish I could give you a clear cut answer, it's just not that easy. Dozens of these key toss-up races are within the margin of error, and polling is always liable to be inaccurate.
Currently, FiveThirty Eight's Lite Forecast predicts a 233-202 majority for Democrats in the House, a pickup of 38 seats, and a 52-48 majority for Republicans in the Senate. That translates to an 80.5% likelihood that Democrats take the House, and a 79.0% chance that Republicans keep the Senate. Yet keep in mind that these are just probabilities, and that anything could happen on Election Night - FiveThirtyEight also famously predicted in 2016 that Hillary Clinton had a 71.4% chance to win.
For what it's worth, my personal prediction sees the Democrats narrowly winning the House with a 223-212 majority, and the Republicans increasing their Senate edge by 1 seat, resulting in a 52-48 breakdown. Be sure to use 270ToWin's House and Senate interactive map tools to create your own predictions!
That being said, take this with a grain of salt. If all of my prior prognostications were to have come true, the Yankees would be celebrating their 2018 World Series championship right now, and President Hillary Clinton would be inviting them to the White House.
At the end of the day, only the voters know how this one will go. May we all take the results in stride, win or lose, and may all of you have an entertaining Election Night!
Josh Kutner is the Campaign Chair of the GW College Republicans' Political Affairs Committee and the Assistant Director of Editorial Services for the GW College Republicans' Committee on Publications. The opinions expressed on this blog are his own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official views of the GW College Republicans.