— President Trump remains a huge favorite to win renomination as the Republican presidential nominee, although he will have at least some opposition.
— The New Hampshire primary has historically tested the strength of presidential incumbents.
— In the primary’s modern history, incumbents who won easy victories went on to renomination and reelection, while those who struggled lost in the fall or didn’t run again.
— That said, we’re only talking about a dozen total contests, so don’t make any strong predictions based on the president’s New Hampshire showing. But depending on the circumstances, Trump’s eventual performance may provide some clues for the general election.
The size of the Democratic field, combined with the party’s proportional allocation of delegates and other factors, raises the possibility of a very long nomination process that may not be decided until the convention.
It has become common to describe our home state of Virginia as a state that is “trending Democratic.” That’s an observation we agree with — we used that exact term a few weeks ago in our initial Electoral College ratings. But what are we really saying when we use a term like that?
— Our initial Electoral College ratings reflect a 2020 presidential election that starts as a Toss-up.
— We start with 248 electoral votes at least leaning Republican, 244 at least leaning Democratic, and 46 votes in the Toss-up category.
— The omissions from the initial Toss-up category that readers may find most surprising are Florida and Michigan.
— Much of the electoral map is easy to allocate far in advance: About 70% of the total electoral votes come from states and districts that have voted for the same party in at least the last five presidential elections.
Richmond chaos could threaten state legislative takeover but big-picture trends still favor team blue.
— There is at least one plausible Electoral College scenario that produces a 269-269 tie, which would throw the presidential election to the House of Representatives elected in 2020.
— If the House decides the presidency, you might think that Democrats would have the advantage, given their new majority. But it’s the Republicans that hold — and are likely to maintain — the advantage.
In the 2018 cycle, the big story was that the Democrats faced a historically difficult map of Senate races. They had to defend 26 of the 35 seats being contested, including Democratic incumbents in several dark red states. Ultimately, Democrats won 24 of the 35 races, nearly 70% of those on the ballot. But Republicans netted two seats overall, boosting their majority from 51 seats to 53 seats when the new Senate convenes next month. Democrats will hold 47 seats, a total that includes independent Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
— Following the 2018 election, Republicans now control 27 governorships to the Democrats’ 23, but a majority of the American public will live in states governed by Democrats starting next year.
— The 14 governorships at stake over the next two years feature some intriguing contests that will be held on mostly GOP-leaning turf.
— The most endangered governorship for either side is the open seat in Montana, which Democrats are defending.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Democrats appeared likely to hold a 235-200 majority to start the next House, or a net gain of 40 seats , a handful more than it seemed like they had won in the immediate aftermath of the election. A lot of that has to do with the laborious and long vote count in California, where Democrats do better in the votes that are counted later in the process (there’s nothing new or unusual about this, by the way, so please look for conspiracies elsewhere). Earlier this week, engineer T.J. Cox (D) took the lead over Rep. David Valadao (R, CA-21), and as of this point Cox appears to be in the driver’s seat to win.
— Our final picks are coming Monday. In the meantime, our longstanding overall assessment — Democrats favored in House, Republicans bigger favorites in Senate — remains in place.
— Four ratings changes in the House.