With few exceptions, election night on November 6, 2018 largely played out according to the topline predictions of the nation’s pollsters and forecasters. The Republican Party held on to, and increased by 3+ seats, its majority in the United States Senate. The Democratic Party flipped control of 26+ seats, enough to regain control of the House of Representatives.
Republicans flipped three seats and lost one. Republicans defeated three Democratic incumbents: Republican Mike Braun beat Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly by 10 points, Republican Josh Hawley defeated Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill by 6 points, and Republican Representative Kevin Cramer beat North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp by 10.
In Nevada, where Hillary Clinton won in 2016, Democrats got their one gain of the night when Rep. Jacky Rosen defeated Republican Sen. Dean Heller by about 4 points. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia won his race by just 4 points winning as a Democrat in the state that most supported Trump’s presidency. Republican Senator Ted Cruz defeated Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke by less than 3 points in the Texas Senate race. In Tennessee, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn easily dispatched Democrat Phil Bredesen by 11 points.
However, Democratic incumbents comfortably won re-election in Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin where Trump won in 2016.
Senate races in Florida, Arizona, and Montana remain too close to call, but all three seem poised to deliver Republicans another three seats in the Senate.
After two years of a Republican House, Senate, White House, & Supreme Court, the Democratic Party will have a chance to lead at least one federal body, with its majority in the House now assured. In gaining that majority, Democratic candidates made substantial gains in races in Pennsylvania, Virginia, & New Jersey as well as in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, & New York, among others.
The Democratic Party had its best results in Pennsylvania thanks in large part to the state’s new Congressional map. After the PA Supreme Court found the Republican state legislature’s 2010 map to have been unconstitutionally gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, the Court redrew the district lines in time for the 2018 general election. The end result of the new map was an even 9-9 split of the commonwealth’s 18 districts, reflecting the roughly 50-50 split of statewide voters. However, in PA-01, a toss-up race closely watched by many who thought the race could be a potential flip, Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick was able to prevail against his Democratic challenger.
The Democratic Party also made substantial gains in VA-02, VA-07, & VA-10 where Democratic candidates Luria, Spanberger, & Wexton beat out Republican incumbents Taylor, Bratt, & Comstock. New Jersey was the other major win for the Democratic PArty, where they not only played defense in the Senate, but flipped three districts, unseating Republican incumbents in NJ-02, NJ-07, & NJ-11.
Among the upsets of the night were NY-11, where Democratic candidate Max Rose won 53 percent to 47 percent over the favorite, Republican Rep. Dan Donovan. Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham eked out a 51 percent to 49 percent win over Republican Katie Arrington in SC-01. And in the Oklahoma 5th District, Democratic candidate Kendra Horn toppled Republican Rep. Steve Russell 51 percent to 49 percent.
As of writing, approximately 30 House seats remain undecided.