The Mid Term Elections of 2018 are shaping up to be one of the most important elections in recent times, perhaps up there with the 1994 Republican “Contract with America” or the 2010 “schallacking” that the Republicans gave the Democrats. Whatever happens, all the twists and turns will be poured over for years to come, so instead of looking at the issues, I will be focusing on which congressional districts are likely to flip (GAIN) and what impact that will have on the House.
The first thing to note is that, with all Houses, there have been a number of by-elections. In the 2016 – 2018 Congress there have been 10 by-elections so far, five caused by appointments to President Trump’s cabinet, two caused by ethics investigations and three by normal resignations. However, unlike at Westminster, when by-elections, once the general election is called, there are four by-elections being held on general election day, two caused by a resignation, one by the honourable member dying, and another one caused by an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, but the list of new comers doesn’t end there.
On the Republican side a staggering number of members have chosen these elections to stand down with names such as Rep. Issa (CA 49), Rep. Gowdy (SC 4) and biggest of them all Rep. Ryan (WI 1) the Speaker of the House. There are of course Democrats standing down with perhaps Rep. Delaney (MD 6) reminding us of what is coming next by announcing that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for President the day after the Mid Terms.
In all, 58 congressmen are standing down at this election. This means that when the polls open on Election Day a total of 235 Republicans will be seeking re-election and 193 Democrats will be seeking re-election. This means that if the Democrats score twenty five net gains (or more) they take the House and make President’s Trump’s second half of his first term a political and literal nightmare.
Now, twenty five gains doesn’t sound very much at all, however there is an unwritten rule about US elections, it is very tricky to get rid of an incumbent. Indeed, on average only nine districts change hand at a congressional election, but as shown in 1994 and 2010 when circumstances allow, the House can and does change, so, how could this happen? Well, it would take a 7% swing to the Democrats since the 2016 congressional election for that to happen and here’s an hour by hour guide through the night to give an indication of which seats could change hands and when.
0000 GMT Polls close in GA, SC, VT, VA, IN, KY
Virginia’s 10th district (GOP majority of 5.8%) is what is known as a “topsy-turvy” district. Although it elected a Republican congressman in the 2016 elections, it voted for Clinton on the presidential ticket and therefore as it only needs less than a 3% swing to the Dems to flip, this has to be in the bag, therefore if at midnight the Democrats haven’t made at least one net gain on the projections, then something has gone disastrously wrong with the Democrats campaign and if that is the case then watch out for the President gloating like mad
0030 GMT Polls close in NC, OH, WV
With the polls closing in another three states, a new battleground district sees it’s polls closing North Carolina’s 13th district (GOP majority of 12.2%) and this will be a real test for the GOP as this time this Republican seat voted for Trump in the presidential election. A 6.1% swing is a big ask for the Democrats, but if they take this (and others in the same range later in the evening) then the House is within grasp.
0100 GMT Polls close in CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, PA, RI, TN, AL, FL, IL, MS, MO, OK
With the polls closing in 17 states, this is when the direction of votes will start to become clear, by now a total of twelve battleground seats will have seen their polls close with Florida’s 26th district (GOP majority of 11.8%) being of particular interest, as it’s another GOP / Clinton district. A gain here on a swing of 5.9% would certainly put the wind under the Republicans and give notice that their hold on the White House may not be as long as they had hoped, but we all remember in 2016 when Florida started out as a Clinton win, slowly drifted into too close to call and ended up as a Trump win.
0130 GMT Polls close in AR
Although Arkansas doesn’t hold much interest, by now the shape of the House should be becoming clear indeed, most experts agree that if the Democrats haven’t made at least 12 gains by now, they have no chance of winning the House
0200 GMT Polls close in NY, LA, MI, MN, NE, WI, AZ, CO, KS, NM, SD, TX, WY
With the polls closing in another 13 states, the big battlegrounds of Texas and Arizona come into play and we start to see whether the Democrats dream of winning the Senate comes true, after all the former Democratic congressman for Texas’s 16th district is hoping to unseat Sen. Cruz and if he does, then Texas 23 and Texas 7 must surely follow. Similarly if Arizona’s Senate seat (the most marginal out of all the GOP defences) also flips then Arizona’s 2nd district (the winning line for the Democrats) must also flip and if it does, that is it. Nancy Pelosi will come onto the airwaves and declare herself Speaker Elect of the House, the Democratic Party will jump for joy and all eyes will be on President Trump who could face within weeks of the Democratic House gathering a vote of impeachment on a simple majority.
0300 GMT Polls close in IA, MT, UT, NV
With these states polls closing, the Democrats will on the cusp of gaining the House in actuality as 24 of their 25 targets will have their polls closed including Utah’s 4th district (GOP majority of 12.5%) and, if my records are correct, a Democrat gain here would be the first Utah Democrat ever elected since Utah was given four congressional districts and leave the GOP with absolute egg on their faces.
0400 GMT Polls close in ND, CA, ID, OR, WA, HI
Given how marginal it is California’s 49th district (GOP majority of 0.5% ad Clinton district), the winning line for the Democrats will be crossed in style and then attention will turn to what happens when the Dem House gathers in the New Year and given how the President loves to tweet in the early morning, a tweet saying that “Nothing has changed” is bound to appear before too long
0600 GMT Polls close in AK
And with that the Mid Terms come to an end, with the Democrats liable to be in need of scraping off the ceiling, the experts will discuss what the election means and no doubt come to the conclusion, dependent on the results, that America has spoken and that it is down to both parties to respect that voice
Colours to the mast time – my forecast
House Forecast: Dem +16 (GOP majority of 11)
Senate Forecast: Dem +1 (GOP majority on VP’s casting vote)