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How Democrats Won The House

Midterms 2018: FiveThirtyEight reacts to election results

After two years of pent-up anticipation, Democrats have finally done what they have long been favorites to do: win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. As of this writing, our colleagues at ABC have projected 223 seats for Democrats and 201 seats for Republicans. Democrats have turned 29 Republican-held seats blue, while Republicans have flipped one Democrat-held seat, for a net Democratic gain of 28 (so far). Here are all the seats that have changed parties as of 3:43 a.m. on Wednesday:

Which seats have changed parties so far

As of 3:43 a.m.

Party flips in the House
Projected winner
race incumbent party name party current lead
AZ-2 Republican Ann Kirkpatrick D D+6.6
CO-6 Republican Jason Crow D D+8.9
FL-26 Republican Debbie Mucarsel-Powell D D+1.6
FL-27 Republican Donna Shalala D D+5.8
IL-6 Republican Sean Casten D D+5.6
IL-14 Republican Lauren A. Underwood D D+2.7
IA-1 Republican Abby Finkenauer D D+4.9
IA-3 Republican Cindy Axne D D+1.5
KS-3 Republican Sharice Davids D D+9.1
MI-11 Republican Haley Stevens D D+7.2
MN-2 Republican Angie Craig D D+5.5
MN-3 Republican Dean Phillips D D+11.4
MN-8 Democratic Pete Stauber R R+4.9
NJ-2 Republican Jeff Van Drew D D+6.3
NJ-7 Republican Tom Malinowski D D+2.1
NJ-11 Republican Mikie Sherrill D D+12.2
NY-11 Republican Max Rose D D+6.0
NY-19 Republican Antonio Delgado D D+2.9
NY-22 Republican Anthony J. Brindisi D D+0.6
OK-5 Republican Kendra Horn D D+1.4
PA-5 Republican Mary Gay Scanlon D D+30.2
PA-6 Republican Chrissy Houlahan D D+17.6
PA-7 Republican Susan Ellis Wild D D+11.3
PA-17 Republican Conor Lamb D D+12.4
SC-1 Republican Joe Cunningham D D+1.7
TX-7 Republican Lizzie Pannill Fletcher D D+4.7
TX-32 Republican Colin Allred D D+6.3
VA-2 Republican Elaine G. Luria D D+2.2
VA-7 Republican Abigail Spanberger D D+1.4
VA-10 Republican Jennifer T. Wexton D D+12.5

* Asterisk denotes special election.

Source: ABC News

Districts we saw as “toss-ups” split slightly in favor of Democrats, and many remain too close to call:

How ‘toss-up’ districts are voting so far

As of 3:43 a.m.

Pre-election win probabilities Tonight’s returns
race democrat republican Percent reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
GA-6 McBath 40.6% Handel 59.4% 100% D+0.3
VA-2 Luria 40.6 Taylor 59.4 100 D+2.2 D
PA-1 Wallace 40.6 Fitzpatrick 59.4 99 R+2.7 R
KY-6 McGrath 42.7 Barr 57.3 100 R+2.2 R
TX-7 Fletcher 44.7 Culberson 55.3 100 D+4.7 D
TX-32 Allred 46.3 Sessions 53.7 96 D+6.3 D
FL-26 Mucarsel-Powell 50.2 Curbelo 49.8 100 D+1.6 D
CA-39 Cisneros 51.8 Kim 48.2 79 R+6.0
VA-7 Spanberger 52.0 Brat 48.0 99 D+1.4 D
NM-2 Small 52.2 Herrell 47.8 98 R+1.1 R
NC-9 McCready 55.0 Harris 45.0 97 R+0.7
CA-25 Hill 55.9 Knight 44.1 47 R+0.5
MN-1 Feehan 59.9 Hagedorn 40.1 91 R+0.3

“Toss-up” districts are those where both candidates had less than a 60 percent chance of winning, according to the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s final pre-election forecast.

Source: ABC News

Districts that we rated as “lean” or “likely Democrat” (i.e., where the Democratic candidate had between a 60 percent and 95 percent chance) usually voted for the Democrat, but not always — which is exactly what should happen!

How ‘lean’ and ‘likely’ Democratic districts are voting

As of 3:43 a.m.

Pre-election forecast Tonight’s returns
race category Dem win prob. % reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
NY-22 Lean D 60.4% 100% D+0.6 ✔ D
IL-6 Lean D 62.0 91 D+5.6 ✔ D
CA-48 Lean D 62.8 91 D+1.3
NJ-3 Lean D 62.9 97 R+0.8
KS-2 Lean D 64.1 100 R+1.7 ✔ R
UT-4 Lean D 64.2 100 D+2.6
ME-2 Lean D 64.5 20 D+1.1
CA-45 Lean D 64.7 87 R+4.5
NY-19 Lean D 66.9 100 D+2.9 ✔ D
IL-14 Lean D 69.3 99 D+2.7 ✔ D
IA-3 Lean D 69.9 100 D+1.5 ✔ D
MI-8 Lean D 70.6 97 D+0.7
WA-8 Lean D 71.5 0 D+5.9
CA-10 Lean D 74.5 88 R+0.9
NJ-7 Likely D 75.1 99 D+2.1 ✔ D
MI-11 Likely D 82.3 78 D+7.2 ✔ D
FL-27 Likely D 85.2 100 D+5.8 ✔ D
MN-3 Likely D 86.0 100 D+11.4 ✔ D
NJ-11 Likely D 86.1 94 D+12.2 ✔ D
KS-3 Likely D 86.5 100 D+9.1 ✔ D
MN-2 Likely D 87.2 100 D+5.5 ✔ D
NV-3 Likely D 88.1 79 D+8.0 ✔ D
CO-6 Likely D 88.5 100 D+8.9 ✔ D
VA-10 Likely D 88.9 100 D+12.5 ✔ D
NV-4 Likely D 89.3 81 D+7.1 ✔ D
AZ-1 Likely D 90.8 88 D+4.3 ✔ D
NH-1 Likely D 92.2 49 D+13.2 ✔ D
PA-7 Likely D 94.0 66 D+11.3 ✔ D
IA-1 Likely D 94.0 100 D+4.9 ✔ D
OR-5 Likely D 94.2 80 D+13.3 ✔ D

“Lean” and “likely” Democratic districts are those where the Democratic candidate’s chance of winning was at least 60 percent but less than 95 percent, according to the “Deluxe” version of FiveThirtyEight’s final pre-election forecast.

Source: ABC News

And districts that we rated as “lean” or “likely Republican” generally voted for the Republican — again with a few exceptions, which is what you’d expect.

How ‘lean’ and ‘likely’ Republican districts are voting

As of 3:43 a.m.

Pre-election forecast Tonight’s returns
race category GOP win prob. % reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
FL-15 Lean R 63.5% 100% R+6.1 ✔ R
OH-12 Lean R 64.8 100 R+4.5 ✔ R
NC-13 Lean R 65.0 98 R+6.1 ✔ R
NE-2 Lean R 67.7 100 R+3.9 ✔ R
VA-5 Lean R 70.0 100 R+6.4 ✔ R
PA-10 Lean R 71.2 95 R+2.7 ✔ R
AK-AL Lean R 74.5 80 R+8.9 ✔ R
MI-7 Likely R 75.1 91 R+7.4 ✔ R
IL-12 Likely R 75.5 98 R+9.0 ✔ R
IL-13 Likely R 77.4 99 R+2.8 ✔ R
FL-6 Likely R 78.4 100 R+12.7 ✔ R
TX-23 Likely R 79.2 100 R+0.3 ✔ R
NY-11 Likely R 79.7 96 D+6.0 ✔ D
NY-27 Likely R 79.7 99 R+1.1 ✔ R
WI-1 Likely R 81.1 93 R+12.5 ✔ R
WA-3 Likely R 81.4 0 R+4.5 ✔ R
CA-50 Likely R 81.6 83 R+8.4 ✔ R
WA-5 Likely R 81.8 0 R+11.9 ✔ R
MN-8 Likely R 82.1 97 R+4.9 ✔ R
OH-1 Likely R 82.3 100 R+7.3 ✔ R
MT-AL Likely R 82.3 87 R+9.2 ✔ R
MI-6 Likely R 82.9 66 R+3.8
NY-24 Likely R 83.5 100 R+6.2 ✔ R
FL-25 Likely R 83.5 100 R+21.3 ✔ R
CA-21 Likely R 83.9 84 R+10.1 ✔ R
GA-7 Likely R 84.8 100 R+1.4 ✔ R
NY-2 Likely R 85.2 95 R+6.5 ✔ R
NC-2 Likely R 85.7 94 R+5.4 ✔ R
AZ-8 Likely R 86.7 97 R+13.3 ✔ R
OH-14 Likely R 87.4 100 R+10.8 ✔ R
TX-22 Likely R 88.1 100 R+5.0 ✔ R
IA-4 Likely R 88.6 100 R+3.4 ✔ R
PA-16 Likely R 89.0 97 R+4.1 ✔ R
CO-3 Likely R 89.4 93 R+8.5 ✔ R
AR-2 Likely R 90.0 100 R+6.4 ✔ R
CA-4 Likely R 90.2 79 R+11.7 ✔ R
FL-16 Likely R 90.2 99 R+7.8 ✔ R
WV-3 Likely R 90.3 100 R+12.8 ✔ R
TX-21 Likely R 90.5 100 R+2.8 ✔ R
CA-1 Likely R 90.8 94 R+14.1 ✔ R
SC-1 Likely R 91.4 99 D+1.7 ✔ D
MO-2 Likely R 91.5 100 R+4.2 ✔ R
FL-18 Likely R 92.0 100 R+8.8 ✔ R
NY-23 Likely R 92.1 100 R+10.0 ✔ R
NC-8 Likely R 93.2 99 R+10.8 ✔ R
OK-5 Likely R 93.4 100 D+1.4 ✔ D
OH-10 Likely R 94.1 100 R+14.2 ✔ R
NY-21 Likely R 94.2 100 R+14.9 ✔ R
TX-2 Likely R 94.6 100 R+7.6 ✔ R
IN-9 Likely R 94.9 92 R+19.2 ✔ R
TX-31 Likely R 94.9 100 R+3.1 ✔ R
NC-7 Likely R 94.9 100 R+12.9 ✔ R
AZ-6 Likely R 95.0 93 R+13.1 ✔ R

“Lean” and “likely” Republican districts are those where the Republican candidate’s chance of winning was at least 60 percent but less than 95 percent, according to the “Deluxe” version of FiveThirtyEight’s final pre-election forecast.

Source: ABC News

Those three Democratic lightning strikes in “likely Republican” territory qualified as some of the night’s biggest surprises. Republican Rep. Dan Donovan was a 4 in 5 favorite in New York’s 11th District, but Democrat Max Rose won 53 percent to 47 percent. Republican Katie Arrington had an 11 in 12 chance of winning the South Carolina 1st, but Democrat Joe Cunningham eked out a 51 percent to 49 percent win. And in the Oklahoma 5th District, our forecast had given Republican Rep. Steve Russell a 14 in 15 chance to return to Washington, but Democrat Kendra Horn toppled him 51 percent to 49 percent. One thing all these districts have in common? They are all anchored by urban areas: New York City, Charleston and Oklahoma City, respectively.

Indeed, a theme of the evening was that suburban areas came up big for Democrats.1 We’ve often used so-called “Romney-Clinton districts” as a stand-in for these areas — districts that voted for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 but switched their allegiance to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Republicans had hoped that these places had voted for Clinton because of an aversion to President Trump and that they would remain loyal to their more traditional Republican representatives. That didn’t end up being the case. Not only did Democratic House candidates win most Romney-Clinton districts, but in at least six of the 13 races, they did so by margins that exceeded Clinton’s margin over Trump.

How Romney-Clinton districts are voting so far

As of 3:43 a.m.

district % reporting 2012 Romney margin 2016 Clinton margin 2018 House margin ABC Projection
AZ-2 100% +1.5 +4.9 D+6.6 D
CA-25 47 +1.8 +6.7 R+0.5
CA-39 79 +3.7 +8.6 R+6.0
CA-45 87 +11.8 +5.4 R+4.5
CA-48 91 +11.7 +1.7 D+1.3
CA-49 83 +6.5 +7.5 D+4.0
IL-6 91 +8.2 +7.0 D+5.6 D
KS-3 100 +9.5 +1.2 D+9.1 D
NJ-7 99 +6.2 +1.1 D+2.1 D
TX-7 100 +21.3 +1.4 D+4.7 D
TX-23 100 +2.6 +3.4 R+0.3 R
TX-32 96 +15.5 +1.9 D+6.3 D
VA-10 100 +1.1 +10.0 D+12.5 D

Romney-Clinton districts were carried by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Source: ABC News

What’s more, there are still thousands of votes outstanding in California because so many voters there vote by mail and many ballots are probably still en route to elections offices. So those three Romney-Clinton districts in California where the Republican is currently leading could still flip Democratic as well.

Compare this to how Democrats performed in Obama-Trump districts, which are mainly working-class areas that disproportionately fall in the Midwest and Northeast. At first glance at the table below, it looks like Democrats did pretty well in these districts. But they were aided by the incumbency advantage in five of these districts.2 In open or Republican-held Obama-Trump districts, Democrats have officially picked up eight seats.3 Republicans held on to four others and flipped at least one Democratic-held Obama-Trump seat red (the Minnesota 8th), so it was more of a mixed bag.

How Obama-Trump districts are voting so far

As of 3:43 a.m.

district % reporting 2012 Obama margin 2016 Trump margin 2018 House margin ABC Projection
IL-12 98% +1.6 +14.8 R+9.0 R
IL-17 92 +17.0 +0.7 D+25.1 D
IA-1 100 +13.7 +3.5 D+4.9 D
IA-2 100 +13.1 +4.1 D+12.2 D
IA-3 100 +4.2 +3.5 D+1.5 D
ME-2 20 +8.6 +10.3 D+1.1
MN-1 91 +1.4 +14.9 R+0.3
MN-2 100 +0.1 +1.2 D+5.5 D
MN-8 97 +5.5 +15.6 R+4.9 R
NV-3 79 +0.8 +1.0 D+8.0 D
NH-1 49 +1.6 +1.6 D+13.2 D
NJ-2 99 +8.1 +4.6 D+6.3 D
NJ-3 97 +4.6 +6.2 R+0.8
NY-1 100 +0.5 +12.3 R+7.5 R
NY-2 95 +4.4 +9.1 R+6.5 R
NY-11 96 +4.3 +9.8 D+6.0 D
NY-18 85 +4.3 +1.9 D+15.2 D
NY-19 100 +6.2 +6.8 D+2.9 D
NY-21 100 +6.1 +13.9 R+14.9 R
PA-8 99 +11.9 +9.6 D+9.3 D
WI-3 98 +11.0 +4.5 D+19.3 D

Obama-Trump districts were carried by former President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election and President Trump in the 2016 election.

Source: ABC News

Finally, what about the races where no winner has been projected? Several of them are in California, which, as I mentioned, may take several days to count up all its results. Others, like Minnesota’s 1st and our old friend Georgia’s 6th, are simply too close to call. One uncalled race might even require special rules to resolve: In Maine’s 2nd District, it looks like no candidate will get a majority, which means that Maine’s ranked-choice voting rules will come into play. The second- and possibly third-place choices of the voters who supported the race’s two independent candidates will be redistributed between Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden. Currently, Golden leads 47 percent to 44 percent, but it could very well be Poliquin who ends up winning under these rules. Between that and California, it’ll be a bit before we know the exact margin that future Speaker Nancy Pelosi (or whoever!) will have to work with in 2019.


  1. Urban areas too, but with the exception of New York’s 11th, those areas were pretty much already all controlled by Democrats.

  2. The Illinois 17th, Iowa 2nd, New York 18th, Pennsylvania 8th and Wisconsin 3rd.

  3. The Iowa 1st, Iowa 3rd, Minnesota 2nd, Nevada 3rd, New Hampshire 1st, New Jersey 2nd, New York 11th and New York 19th.

Nathaniel Rakich is a senior editor and senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.