As expected, the midterm elections were not kind to the GOP. While Democrats did not retake the House as many pundits had speculated, they did reduce the Republicans' 47-seat majority in the chamber to just 3 seats, leaving the final totals at 219 seats for the GOP and 216 for the Democrats. No Democratic seats changed hands, while Democrats picked up 23 GOP seats. In probably the most stunning result of the night, widely seen as emblematic of voter anger toward Republicans, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was defeated in his heavily Republican district by Karen Goh, Mayor of Bakersfield, who ran as an independent and defeated McCarthy 52-48%.Dem Hold, Dem Pickup, GOP Hold, Ind Hold
On the Senate side, the Democrats had few realistic opportunities for pickups by virtue of their good performance in the 2012 elections. However, the strong national trend for the Democrats allowed them to knock off three Republican incumbents in Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee, which allows them to retake the Senate majority, holding 51 seats (including their partnerships with Angus King and Bernie Sanders) to the Republicans’ 49 seats.
Here are a few of the notable races below:
AL: Appointed Sen. Luther Strange loses a closely fought primary battle with Rep. Mo Brooks, who goes on to easily win the general election.
AZ: Sen. Jeff Flake is defeated in the Republican primary by Kelli Ward, who goes on to lose the seat to former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, 53-44%
CA: Sen. Dianne Feinstein announces her retirement, and the general election becomes a contest between Democrats Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, and Treasurer John Chiang, who was previously running for Governor the same year. The race remains close throughout the year, but Chiang prevails in the end 52-48%.
IN: Republicans heavily target freshman Sen. Joe Donnelly in what many believed was their best pickup opportunity of the 2018 cycle. The strong anti-GOP sentiment, however, allows Donnelly to win a narrow victory over State House Speaker Brian Bosma.
ME: No Democrat files to run in this race, setting up a match between independent Sen. Angus King and Republican Gov. Paul LePage. LePage’s campaign is beset by controversial statements, but he only narrowly loses to King by five points.
MO: Sen. Claire McCaskill continues her streak of winning competitive elections in Missouri, defeating Rep. Ann Wagner 53-47%.
NV: Sen. Dean Heller faced an uphill fight throughout 2018 against Rep. Dina Titus, who prevails against the incumbent 55-45%.
ND: Republicans also made Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s seat a prime target after narrowly losing to her in 2012. The GOP puts up a strong challenge from Gov. Jack Dalrymple, but in the end Heitkamp manages to hang on by another narrow margin of 51-49%.
OH: This race is a rematch of 2012 between Sen. Sherrod Brown and Treasurer Josh Mandel, and this year results in an even bigger victory for Brown, who wins 58-42%.
TN: Sen. Bob Corker was expecting to coast easily to re-election, but the national Democratic trend and Corker’s strong affiliation with President Trump’s foreign policy strengthens Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper’s bid for the seat. Cooper ends up defeating Corker by three points to become Tennessee’s first Democratic Senator in more than two decades.
VA: Despite the GOP’s initial musings that they would made the seat of former VP candidate Sen. Tim Kaine competitive, many prominent GOP candidates end up passing on the race and Kaine’s opponent ends up being former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who loses to Kaine 56-44%.Gubernatorial results and reactions coming next…