On Saturday, North Carolina State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley conceded her statewide judicial election to Republican Paul Newby, an Associate Justice of the court. After a full recount and the beginning of a hand sampling recount, Ms. Beasley ended the race, losing with a margin of just 413 votes from more than 5.4 million ballots cast.
Because the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice appoints special judicial panels, the new Republican chief justice will have the power to set the three-judge panels who will eventually hear redistricting challenges once the legislature enacts post reapportionment maps. North Carolina will receive at least one new congressional seat when the new apportionment is announced sometime after the first of the year.
As expected, US Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who did not seek re-election in 2020 after the state Supreme Court re-drew the congressional district boundaries and left him with a Democratic district that Kathy Manning (D) would eventually claim, announced that he will run for the US Senate in 2022 in what is expected to be a competitive open seat race.
Sen. Richard Burr (R) has stated publicly on numerous occasions that he will not seek a fourth term. Rep. Walker was first elected in 2014 from what was a Republican district and averaged 58.1% of the vote in his three congressional elections.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who did not seek re-election to the House because the state Supreme Court’s re-drawing of the North Carolina congressional map left him without a district, may formally announce his US Senate campaign as early as December 1st according to reports. Sen. Richard Burr (R) has stated publicly on several occasions that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2022.
With Sen. Richard Burr (R) previously saying he will not seek a fourth term in 2022, potential successors are making moves. US Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), who is retiring from Congress rather than choosing to compete in a newly drawn 6th District that is next to impossible for a Republican to win, publicly confirms that he is a potential statewide candidate.
State Sen. Erica Smith (D-Henrico), who raised just under $240,000 for her statewide bid but was helped by approximately $3 million in conservative group spending that attacked her for being too liberal, finished the Democratic primary campaign with 34.8% of the vote in losing to nominee Cal Cunningham by 22 points. Late last week, she announced her intention to enter the 2022 open seat Senate campaign. Conversely, another prominent North Carolina politico, White House Chief of Staff and former Congressman Mark Meadows, said he will not run for the Senate in two years.
Betting that the new North Carolina congressional seat will be drawn in western Wake County, state Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Raleigh) yesterday declared himself a candidate when the state receives a new 14th District upon the national apportionment formula announcement in January. It is a certainty that the state will receive one more seat, but where that district will be placed is far from decided.
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.
Two Senate races were called yesterday, one for Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who scored a 51-42% victory over state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport). Ms. Gideon conceded the race yesterday even though the count had not ended. In Michigan, Sen. Gary Peters (D) was projected with a very close win (49.6 – 48.5%) over GOP challenger John James.
The two calls mean that the high number for the Republican majority is 52, with the Democratic maximum being 51. The most likely outcome from the current trends and potentially projecting the runoff election under what may be a Biden victory at the presidential level is either a Republican majority of 51 or 52 seats.
In the House, 40 races remain uncalled, yet many of them are now reporting 100% of the vote being received. Of the 40, the Republicans lead in 25 and the Democrats in 15. This would translate in a Republican net gain in the House of most likely between five and nine seats.
Below is a list of the races that remain uncalled and which candidate is currently leading.
Alaska: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) - Status: 62.3%; Reporting: 50%
Georgia-A: Sen. David Perdue (R) - must reach 50%; Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 97%
Georgia-B: Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) - Status: 32.5%; Reporting: 96%
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) - Status: 26.2%; Reporting: Runoff
Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R) - Winner; Status: 51.1%
Michigan: Sen. Gary Peters (D) - Winner; Status: 49.6%
North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis (R) - Status: 48.7%; Reporting: 93%
AK-AL: Rep. Don Young (R) - Status: 63.3%; Reporting: 53%
AZ-1: Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D) - Status: 52.1%; Reporting: 92%
AZ-6: Hiral Tipirneni (D) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 76%
CA-4: Rep. Tom McClintock (R) - Status: 52.9%; Reporting: 87%
CA-8: Jay Obernolte (R) - Status: 53.3%; Reporting: 37%
CA-21: David Valadao (R) - Status: 51.4%; Reporting: 42%
CA-25: Christy Smith (D) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 77%
CA-39: Young Kim (R) - Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 89%
CA-48: Michelle Steel (R) - Status: 50.3%; Reporting: 93%
CA-50: Darrell Issa (R) - Status: 52.2%; Reporting: 51%
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) - Status: 51.2%; Reporting: 100%
IA-2: Marianette Miller-Meeks (R) - Status: 50.0%; Reporting: 100%
IL-14: Jim Oberweis (R) - Status: 50.1%; Reporting: 100%
IL-17: Cheri Bustos (D) - Status: 51.8%; Reporting: 100%
IN-5: Victoria Spartz (R) - Status: 50.2%; Reporting: 99%
MI-3: Peter Meijer (R) - Status: 53.1%; Reporting: 99%
MI-5: Dan Kildee (D) - Status: 54.3%; Reporting: 100%
MI-11: Haley Stevens (D) - Status: 50.0%; Reporting: 97%
MN-1: Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R) - Status: 48.6%; Reporting: 100%
MN-2: Rep. Angie Craig (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 100%
NJ-2: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) - Status: 51.0%; Reporting: 75%
NV-3: Rep. Susie Lee (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 85%
NV-4: Rep. Steven Horsford (D) - Status: 49.7%; Reporting: 65%
NY-1: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) - Status: 61.3%; Reporting: 99%
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino (R) - Status: 58.1%; Reporting: 99%
NY-3: George Santos (R) - Status: 50.5%; Reporting: 99%
NY-4: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D) - Status: 52.0%; Reporting: 100%
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis (R) - Status: 57.9%; Reporting: 95%
NY-18: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D) - Status: 50.8%; Reporting: 100%
NY-19: Rep. Antonio Delgado (D) - Status: 51.3%; Reporting: 98%
NY-22: Claudia Tenney (R) - Status: 54.9%; Reporting: 100%
NY-24: Rep. John Katko (R) - Status: 58.5%; Reporting: 100%
PA-7: Lisa Scheller (R) - Status: 50.7%; Reporting: 86%
PA-8: Jim Bognet (R) - Status: 50.5%; Reporting: 86%
PA-10: Rep. Scott Perry (R) - Status: 54.9%; Reporting: 89%
PA-17: Sean Parnell (R) - Status: 51.0%; Reporting: 94%
TX-24: Beth Van Duyne (R) - Status: 48.8%; Reporting: 99%
UT-4: Rep. Ben McAdams (D) - Status: 48.2%; Reporting: 69%
VA-7: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) - Status: 50.6%; Reporting: 100%
WA-3: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) - Status: 54.7%; Reporting: 80%
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.
The Frederick Polls organization returns the final NC Governor poll, and they too project, as all other pollsters have found, that Gov. Roy Cooper (D) looks to have sealed as second term. According to the Frederick survey (10/30-31; 876 NC likely voters; cell phone texts), Gov. Cooper holds a 52-45% advantage over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R).
Four new polls were released in the closing days of this continually surveyed Senate state. NBC News/Marist College (10/25-28; 800 NC likely voters; live interview) gives Democrat Cal Cunningham his largest lead, 53-43%. Cardinal Point Analytics (10/27-28; 750 NC likely voters; live interview), however, finds almost the opposite result. The Cardinal data gives Sen. Thom Tillis (R) a 46-41% advantage. East Carolina University (10/27-28; 1,103 NC likely voters; interactive voice response system) splits the difference with a virtual tie, 48-47%, in favor of Cunningham. CNN (administered by SSRS; 10/23-30; 932 NC registered voters; live interview) also finds Cunningham leading a tight race, 45-43%.
In early voting, over 4.2 million individuals have already voted, over one million more than in 2016. Democrats represent 47.2% of the total and Republicans 46.2%. Democrats are down over five points in the overall complexion in comparison to the 2016 election, while Republicans are up 3.5 percentage points.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.