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Midterm Elections Summary

November 11, 2018

                                                                 Photo courtesy of Fortune.

 

Americans went to the polls Nov. 6 to vote in the midterm elections. With a tremendous push on social media and otherwise, the country saw record high voter turnout in the first nationwide election since President Donald Trump took office. As most pollsters predicted, the Democrats were able to gain a majority in the House of Representatives, but their “blue wave” was not enough to retake control of the Senate. With all 435 seats in the House, 35 in the Senate, and 36 governorships on the ballot, here is how some of the most notable races turned out.

 

The Blue Wave in the House

The Democrats so far have won 225 seats in the House of Representatives (votes in some areas are still being tallied), enough for them to retake control of the chamber for the first time since 2010. They flipped 28 seats, including in Northern Virginia, where Jennifer Wexton defeated incumbent Barbara Comstock, and central Oklahoma, where Kendra Horn defeated incumbent Steve Russell.

 

Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won in New York, making her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at age 29. Her victory was part of a larger trend of women running for office, with 98 elected in the House and 12 in the Senate so far. These include Sharice Davis from Kansas, a political newcomer who will be the state’s first Native American Congresswoman and first openly LGBT representative, as well as Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tliab of Michigan, who will be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress.

 

GOP Stays Strong In The Senate

 The Republican party not only retained control of the Senate, gained two seats, strengthening their majority. They defeated incumbent Democrats Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill in Illinois, North Dakota, and Missouri, respectively. Although Democrat Jacky Rosen took a seat from Republican Dean Heller in Nevada, the GOP likely gained another one in Florida, as former governor Rick Scott edged out incumbent Bill Nelson, although that race is still too close to definitively call. Elsewhere, a special election in Mississippi will go to a run-off, as neither Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith nor Democrat Mike Espy were able to earn 50 percent of the vote. In Texas, Republican incumbent Ted Cruz fended off upstart Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who garnered national attention in his efforts to turn the conservative state blue.

 

Tight Races for Governor

The Democrats also made headway in governor’s races, winning 16 states to bring their total to 23 compared to the Republicans’ 27. The Democrats flipped seven seats, including in Illinois, Kansas and Maine, as well as in Wisconsin, where Democrat Tony Evers defeated incumbent Republican Scott Walker. The Democratic party was unable, however, to win their two biggest gubernatorial elections, in Florida and Georgia, where Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams both lost, despite tremendous fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts by the Democratic party and liberal celebrities and activists. In Florida, Gillum lost to Republican Ron DeSantis by .5 percent, a small enough margin for Gillum to rescind his concession as a recount begins. Abrams, meanwhile, has refused to concede to Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who won by less than 65,000 votes (or about 0.6 percent), as rumours of voter suppression swirl on the part of Kemp, who as Secretary of State serves as Georgia’s Chief Election Officer. The possibility of a run-off remains.

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