Friday, November 16, 2018
Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
UPDATE (Nov. 15, 5:27 p.m., 2018): We’ve updated the text below with the latest news and data. We’ve also removed the Arizona U.S. Senate race, California 10th District, California 48th District, California 49th District, Georgia 6th District, Maine 2nd District, New Jersey 3rd District and Washington 8th District, which have been called for Democrats, and the Minnesota 1st District and North Carolina 9th District, which have been called for Republicans. Our original write-ups on those races can be found in the footnotes.
Over 8.3 million Texans voted in the 2018 midterm elections. It’s an astounding figure, especially considering that about 4.6 million voted in the midterms just four years ago. That difference — almost 3.7 million — says a lot about the changing face of the Lone Star State, but Tuesday’s result says more. Yes, Texas is growing, but as of 2018, it’s still red and still likes Ted.
It is hard to know what role negative feelings about black politicians played in the likely gubernatorial losses of Democrats Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida. Neither race has been officially called, but the Democrats trail in both, which were among the handful of races nationwide that seemed to most capture the interest of Democratic activists. It’s also not clear how much the Georgia race was affected by controversial election practices implemented by Republican Brian Kemp, who was serving as secretary of state as he ran for governor, making him Georgia’s chief elections officer.
This midterm election saw an unusual trend, though it wasn’t unprecedented. The chambers “swung” in opposite directions, as Democrats gained seats in the House (they’re on track for a net gain of 38 by our estimates) and lost seats in the Senate (a net of one seat at the moment, but that number could change after the Florida race is decided and Mississippi holds its runoff).