By Jim Ellis
Nov. 8, 2018 — According to a CBS News report quoting University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, who runs the United States Election Project, more than 113 million people voted in the 2018 midterm election, the first time turnout exceed the 100 million mark.
With voter participation approaching a majority of the eligible voting population for the first time since 1966, we see a continued increase in voter participation. The 2018 midterm is among the three top off-year elections with the highest turnout rate in the past 118 years. This high voting trend has largely been in effect since the 2000 election, though the 2014 midterm proved an exception with very low turnout.
Carrying through from media projections of uncalled races, it appears the Democrats will see a net gain of 31 seats, not counting the California races that still have millions of votes to tabulate. An incumbent race featuring New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) appears to be flipping back and forth in final counting.
The Golden State features an election system where at least 75 percent of the people vote through the mail and they allow ballots to be postmarked on Election Day. Therefore, it will be a couple of full weeks before we know the final totals in what appears to be five congressional contests that are still undecided, all in current Republican seats. It is probable that the Democrats will win at least two of the five and possibly even all of them.
Those contests are: District 10: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock/Modesto) vs. venture capitalist Josh Harder; District 25: Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) vs. non-profit executive Katie Hill; District 39: Rep. Ed Royce’s (R-Yorba Linda/Fullerton) open district featuring former state Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) and retired Navy officer and lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D); District 45: Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) vs. law professor Katie Porter; and District 48: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) vs. businessman Harley Rouda (D). On average, we can determine that approximately 100,000 votes are still to be counted in each of these campaigns.
The Florida Senate race, where Gov. Rick Scott (R) has scored an unofficial win with a 30,264-vote margin, will go to a recount, as Sen. Bill Nelson (D) announced that he wants the final total reviewed.
The Arizona contest between Reps. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) is still uncalled with final votes remaining to be tabulated. It is difficult to tell exactly how many votes remain because reports are wildly different, and it is unclear whether disparate tabulation percentages include or exclude those votes that are still outstanding.
In any event, McSally, as she has throughout the entire count, leads the race. Her margin of approximately 15,000-17,000 votes has remained consistent throughout the counting process. At least a preliminary outcome should be determined very soon.
If Rep. McSally holds Arizona, and the Florida recount doesn’t change the outcome, the new Senate will feature 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats, a net gain of three seats for the GOP.
In the House, when all of the outstanding races are finally calculated, the Democrats will gain approximately 35 seats and have a 230-205 seat majority, similar to the level of most of the Republican majorities we have seen since 1994.
The new governor’s lineup will feature 27 Republicans and 23 Democrats. Republicans dropped a net six state houses, while Democrats gained seven. The difference is Republicans gaining Alaska, the lone state that had an Independent governor.
Democrats were only able to flip a net of six state legislative chambers, however. This is less than they had hoped. And, only in Minnesota and Colorado do the new chambers have a potential effect on the upcoming 2021 redistricting process.
While Democrats gained critical redistricting gubernatorial posts in Michigan and Wisconsin, Republicans held both legislative chambers in each state. The GOP held their preliminary redistricting positions in the equally critical states of Florida, Ohio, and probably Georgia.