The victory by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in a special election in December did provide Democrats a potential path to a Senate majority, albeit a narrow one. The Democrats need to defend all 26 of the 34 seats they currently hold, and then flip two of the eight Republican-held seats. Those would most likely be Arizona, an open seat, and Nevada, where Sen. Dean Heller (R) is seeking a second term.
Charting out the Democrats’ path to 218 seats, district by district
— So far there are 46 House seats where an incumbent won’t be running for reelection in November. That is already above the postwar average, and more open seats are likely.
— The current list of retirees includes 31 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Wave years sometimes but not always feature such a disparity between parties.
Democrats should end the year with more governorships than they hold now. One reasonable way to measure Democrats’ success is whether they get into the 20s — they have 16 governorships now, so that would mean a gain of four or more.
As of Wednesday night, it appeared as though Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was poised to announce his resignation from the Senate on Thursday morning. Franken has faced several credible accusations of groping women and making unwanted sexual advances, and on Wednesday, the dam finally broke and a slew of his Democratic Senate colleagues began asking for his resignation.
In the aftermath of the 2014 midterm election, when the party that didn’t hold the White House (the Republicans) gained ground in the House for the 36th time in 39 midterms since the Civil War, I wrote the following in the Center for Politics’ postmortem on the election, The Surge : Practically speaking, though, House Democrats might have to root for the other party in the 2016 presidential race. Why? Because given what we know about midterm elections almost always going against the president’s party in the House, perhaps the next best chance for the Democrats to win the House will be in 2018 — if a Republican is in the White House.
It’s amazing to write, and there’s time for our outlook to change, but here goes: A Democrat is now a narrow favorite to win a Senate special election in Alabama. We’re changing our rating of the Dec. 12 special election from Likely Republican all the way to Leans Democratic.
Tuesday represented the best non-presidential election night Democrats have had since 2006. They swept the statewide ticket in Virginia for the second election in a row, and they picked up the New Jersey governorship. They also won a crucial, majority-making state Senate election in Washington state, so they won complete control of state government in two states (New Jersey and Washington).
In an off-year long on election commentary but short on actual elections, the two main events on a Spartan political calendar are now upon us: New Jersey and Virginia will elect new governors next week, and the stakes are high, particularly for Democrats.
If President Trump actively campaigned against incumbents of his own party in primaries next year, it would be an unusual political occurrence. But it would not be without precedent. In fact, he wouldn’t even be the first ideologically flexible, wealthy New Yorker who occupied the Oval Office to do so.