At this point, only three states saw incumbent Senators being defeated: Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Under Georgia law, since both of their Senate races, the regular cycle campaign and the special election, failed to produce a majority winner, a runoff election will be held for each position on January 5th.
In races of note, Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) defied pollsters projecting a Democratic victory for state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and won by nine percentage points. Despite over $100 million being spent against both Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both were re-elected with victory percentages exceeding 58 and 54%, respectively. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (MI) scored a close win over GOP challenger John James; Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) recorded strong victories despite polling suggesting that both could lose.
In the four open seat campaigns, the incumbent party won each. The new Senators are Roger Marshall (R-KS), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Two races, in addition to both Georgia Senate seats going to runoffs, remain uncalled but with a clear trend. With only 50% of the votes counted in Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) has a strong 62-32% lead. In North Carolina, with the post-election ballot reception period closing on November 12th, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) looks to have a small lead that won’t be surpassed, again despite polling projecting a Democratic victory for party nominee Cal Cunningham.
Assuming the uncalled races remain Republican, the GOP will have a 50-48 advantage heading into the Georgia runoffs, meaning they will retain the majority with a win in at least one of the two Senate races to be decided January 5th.
Last night’s national election, as predicted, looks to be headed to political overtime.
The presidential race won’t be decided for more than a day, and possibly not until all ballots are received and counted in Pennsylvania. The state’s post-election ballot reception deadline is Friday, November 6th, at 5:00 pm.
It appears that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) has the inside track to unseat the President, but Mr. Trump still has a narrow path to victory.
It is likely that the Republicans have held the Senate majority despite what appears to be a close loss at the top of the ticket. Defending 13 of the most vulnerable 16 Senate seats, the GOP may break even. Converting Alabama and leading in Michigan offsets the loss of seats in Arizona and Colorado. Four races remain undecided.
Republicans had a much better night in the House than expected. With 43 races still uncalled, a reasonable projection suggests the Democrats will return to the House with a majority margin approximately seven seats less than in the current Congress. This would make the new majority 226D-209R, and certainly put House control front and center for the 2022 election cycle.
In the 11 Governor’s races, we saw one state flip from Democrat to Republican, the open Montana race that completed a Republican sweep of the top four statewide offices. At-Large Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was elected the state’s new Governor replacing term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock (D) who lost the Senate race to incumbent Steve Daines (R).
Polling and predictions generally proved unreliable. Once more, the big leads projected for the Democratic presidential nominee in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin did not materialize, while cumulative polling projections did correctly forecast Arizona and potentially Georgia. For the fourth consecutive major statewide race in Florida, the overwhelming number of pollsters failed to correctly project the winner.
It appears the cumulative polling community is potentially wrong in several Senate races including North Carolina, Maine, and the Michigan margin even if Sen. Gary Peters (D) rebounds to win. They also consistently under-estimated Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s electoral strength.
The media projection early in the evening of Democrats gaining seats in the House also proved incorrect.
The projected record turnout may not be as high as many projected. While it is clear we will exceed the 136,792,535 voters we saw in 2016, which was a record participation level at the time, the grand total in this election may not reach the 150 million mark that many analysts were suggesting, and very likely not the 155 million others predicted. We are likely to venture beyond 140 million, but how much further remains to be seen when all of the states have reported, and ballots completely tabulated.
We will have further coverage of the finer details in the coming days.
Last week, we reported that North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham may have set a record for fundraising in one quarter with over $28 million received. Yesterday’s release from Colorado former Governor John Hickenlooper (D), who is challenging Sen. Cory Gardner (R), makes him a close fundraising second. He will report obtaining a huge $22.6 million for the three-month quarter. Mr. Hickenlooper leads in polling and has a strong chance of unseating Sen. Gardner.
The House Majority PAC, associated with the House Democratic leadership, released the results of their Expedition Strategies poll (9/9-14; 754 CO-3 likely voters; live interview) that finds party nominee Diane Mitsch Bush leading Republican Loren Boebert by a two point, 46-44%, margin when leaners to both candidates are included.
Ms. Boebert upset Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in the June Republican primary, thus making the seat more competitive in an open situation. Ms. Bush is the 2018 Democratic nominee who lost to Mr. Tipton, 51-43%. The Expedition poll found President Trump and Joe Biden locked in a 47-47% tie from a district that the Republican carried, 52-40%, in the 2016 election.
Public Policy Polling recently surveyed the Colorado electorate (8/18-19; 731 CO voters) regarding the Senate race and gun control. They found former Governor and presidential candidate John Hickenlooper (D) to be holding a 51-42% advantage over Sen. Cory Gardner (R), but there is a Democratic skew affecting the sample.
Looking at voter registration statistics, the poll uses a 37% Democrat - 30% Republican -33% Unaffiliated segmentation within the sampling universe. The official Colorado voter registration statistics, however, find Democrats at 30.2%, Republicans recording 27.7%, and the Unaffiliated segment reaching the 40.4% level – quite a different picture than the poll paints. Accounting for the skew suggests that the Colorado Senate race is closer than the PPP ballot test displays.
Public Policy Polling went into the field right before and during the Democratic Senate primary to test former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) against Sen. Cory Gardner (R). The PPP survey (6/29-30; 840 CO “voters”) posts the new Democratic Senate nominee to a 51-40% lead over Sen. Gardner.
Several points to make, however. First, testing during the height of advertising and voter turnout operations that were attracting more attention to the Democratic primary could yield a skew in the polling results. Second, using the undefined term “voters”, as opposed to registered voters or, more commonly, likely voters, leads one to conclude that the sample is comprised of potential voters, or the ubiquitous “adults.” Clearly, this is the least accurate of samples. Third, PPP often uses push questions in their surveys as they did here. The question painted Sen. Gardner and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as stopping a bill that would have attacked political corruption.
The shock of the primary night was five-term Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) going down to defeat against insurgent challenger Lauren Boebert, a business owner who stressed 2nd Amendment protection and less government in her campaign. Though spending less than $200,000 on her campaign, Ms. Boebert, who owns an I-70 restaurant called “Shooters Grill” in Rifle, CO and typically wears a firearm strapped to her hip, successfully painted Rep. Tipton as falling in with the Washington, DC crowd and defeated him by almost 10,000 votes.
Primary turnout in the seat commonly referred to as the “Western Slope District”, which looks to reach approximately 120,000 votes when all ballots are counted, more than doubled the last primary held here in 2016. Rep. Tipton becomes the fifth incumbent to lose re-nomination this year, and the third Republican. Ms. Boebert now advances into the general election against 2018 nominee Diane Mitsch Bush, who won the Democratic primary with 61% of the vote. The general election is now expected to be competitive.
Former Colorado Governor and presidential candidate John Hickenlooper won the state Democratic primary last night with a 60-40% win over former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. The victory margin was less than originally expected but pumped up after Hickenlooper began losing ground. Outside groups, including national Democratic institutional organizations, came to the rescue with a seven-figure media buy to help the former Governor’s cause. He now advances into the general election to face Sen. Cory Gardner (R).
There has been substantial political media coverage suggesting that former Colorado Governor and ex-presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is losing support against ex-state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in tomorrow’s Democratic primary.
Survey USA, in their final pre-primary Colorado poll, finds a different conclusion, however. In their poll (6/19-24; 575 CO likely Democratic primary voters), Mr. Hickenlooper is again brandishing a very strong 58-28% lead over his Democratic primary opponent.
Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff released an internal poll late last week that, while still showing him trailing former Gov. John Hickenlooper for the June 30th Democratic US Senate primary, proves he is gaining momentum. The Myers Research and Strategic Services firm (6/16-17; 500 CO likely Democratic primary voters), finds Mr. Hickenlooper leading Mr. Romanoff 51-39%, which is much closer than their previous 68-19% finding when polling first began of this primary in late October.
Mr. Hickenlooper is coming under fire after being found in violation of two state Ethics Commission findings and has received not only negative media coverage for the decision but has come under further significant attack from Romanoff over integrity issues. Though the underdog is gaining in the primary battle, it is still likely that he won’t be able to overcome what is still a substantial Hickenlooper advantage. Since the former Governor’s victory next Tuesday may be tepid, he looks to be starting the general election against Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in a weaker position than expected.
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