Election TWO DAYS AFTER Live Blog 2020

10:35am (November 6th)– The American people have elected Joe Biden as the 46 President of the United States.

12:55pm– The main news today so far is that Biden has expanded his lead in NV to 11,787 (from 8,000(ish). Hard to see Trump’s path here.

Also Perdue in Georgia has droppped below 50%. That means that we will likely have 2 special elections in GA in January. If the Ds pull them both out (longshot), they should could take control of the Senate.

10:47am– Hi friends! I won’t be blogging much today, because I need to at least pretend to get some non-election work done. But I may drop in a bit throughout the day.

Here’s the deal: I expect a call for the overall race at some point today. We should first be getting more GA votes starting a little after 12pm EST. PA should come rolling throughout the day, and Biden will eventually pass Trump. When that happens, the race may be called. AZ and NV are still outstanding, but depending on the time of counts in the other states, it may be moot

9:20pm– I’m going to call it a night. Three days of this is quite exhausting. With the latest numbers for AZ, it’s clearly going to tighten a lot. But I’d guess that it’s not quite enough to close the gap. Either way, I doubt an official call for AZ is made. That means an end to this campaign won’t happen until tomorrow.

I might be wrong, so keep scrolling random sites on your phone tonight just in case you need the news immediately.

Sleep tight friends.

9:14pm– After the Maricopa County dump of votes but Biden is still leading by 5% in the county, and by roughly 3% in the state. Most remaining votes are in blue areas, and they’re all early votes, which have trended predominantly for Biden. But we’ll see.

9:11pm– Maricopa results came in from AZ. Trump gained some ground. The Biden margin in AZ fell from 90K to 80K overall ( according to Steve Kornacki).

8:58pm– In GA, with Biden down by less than 1%, there are 122k votes outstanding. Biden needs to win 66.3% of them. It’s very possible.

9:46pm– PA continues it’s march toward Biden: Trump up by just three points (195K votes) now with 88% reporting. There are still a lot of votes to count in the Dem strongholds around Philly.

8:45pm– GA number cruncher looks at what’s remaining and predicts that Biden will eek out a win by 6,000+ votes:

8:34pm– This is a projection from an election expert (not an official source), but: U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) will fall short of 50% of the vote. Perdue advances to face Jon Ossoff (D) in a January runoff, which will be on the same ballot as the Georgia’s other U.S. Senate runoff.

8:11pm– Nate Silver makes some guesses on final popular vote margin. Remember, Hillary won by 2.1%:

My absurdly precise forecast of the final popular vote margin is Biden +4.3%, with 81.8m votes for Biden and 74.9m for Trump on turnout of 159.6m. That’s using Edison’s estimate of the outstanding vote in each state and my best guesses for how it will be distributed.

8:01pm– Trump leads in Georgia by 0.91% Trump~ 49.84% Biden~ 48.93% Trump leads by 44,268 Still thousands of ballots to report in Democratic Friendly areas.

8:00pm– From Kyle Kondik: Plugged in Democratic source on the ground in Arizona says state will tighten when Maricopa County votes come in. Biden up by 92,000 votes now, source estimates Biden will win by 40,000 votes.

7:41pm– Speaking of GA: Perdue’s margin continues to drop and I’d say it’s more likely than not that he drops below 50% triggering a run off election. Also, Trump campaign just filed a lawsuit in GA. From what I can gather, like all the others he’s filed today, the claims are baseless…just grasping as straws to invalidate results he doesn’t like without any legal basis.

7:34pm– Biden’s number in MI keeps increasing. From Wasserman:

Biden gains 33k of margin in Michigan from newly counted mail ballots in Kent Co. Statewide lead up to 104k (1.9%). Michigan won’t end up especially close.

7:33pm– Another positive for Rs from Dave Wasserman:

Republicans defied the polls in the House and may be on track to pick up 7-12 seats. A few takeaways: 1) Dems suffered a catastrophic loss of Hispanic support that cost key seats 2) “Suburban revolt” never really progressed from ’18 3) GOP likely to double its ranks of women

7:16pm– From Molly Reynolds: If we end up with a president and House majority of one party, and a Senate majority of the other, in 2021, that would be a really unusual configuration of power. It’s only happened once since WWII, in 2001 and 2002–and that only happened after the Jim Jeffords switched parties, dropping the Republicans to become and Independent.

7:12pm– Some GA results continue to trickle in, though Gwinnet Co. already called it a night so not sure if we’ll get any more…

Trump leads in Georgia by 0.94%.

Trump~ 49.86% Biden~ 48.92% Trump leads by 45,437

It was a 98k lead to start the day. Trump margin has been going down in the last hour.

6:53pm– Timing in AZ tonight. Sometimes the East Coast time zone can make things quite challenging for those of us who need our sleep:

There will be two ballot drops from Maricopa County tonight. The first will be at 7pm, and it’s unknown when the second will be. Second shift at the elections department works until 10:30pm. Unknown if they’ll wait until after that to announce the second drop.

6:51pm– Biden having a hometown connection to PA on top of old-fashioned union credentials is going to pay off in a big way this year:. From Alec White: Montour county, PA is blue collar and rural and 98% in. Trump +30 in 2016. Now, it’s Trump +21. These shifts matter and it’s why Biden is on track to win PA.

6:40pm– An under-discussed fact is that beating an incumbent President is quite hard. It hasn’t happened in 28 years. Both Kerry and Romney were very confident that they could do it recently, but both fell short. And it’s only happened 4 times in the last 100 years.

6:36pm– From Michael Cohen (not the ex Trump lawyer): Based on my back of the envelope calculations if Ossoff wins 62% of the remaining 185,000 votes in Georgia, Perdue would have 49.9 of the vote and you know what that means … RUNOFF X2

6:31pm– Besides Trump v. Biden, the GA numbers are important to see if Perdue (R) drops below 50% of the vote, triggering a runoff election in January. His margin has been decreasing with each mail in ballot dump, but hard to tell if it’ll be enough.

6:28pm– Those most familiar with the details of the remaining votes suggest that Biden win in PA will likely pass that of his leads in WI and MI. While we’re all looking at NV, AZ, and GA, if Biden wins PA none of those states matter. Hard to see any path for Trump now.

6:22pm– Current tally in PA. I think to start the day it was around 600k for Trump

Trump: 3,143,021

Biden: 2,866,042

That is a 276,979 lead — much smaller than earlier in the day.

6:19pm– Nevada really needs to get it together…

Washoe County Registrar Deanna Spikula says Washoe County will NOT be posting any new results today. The next result update won’t happen until tomorrow morning.

6:01pm– Interesting thoughts on networks calls of AZ. Fox and AP were always going to be slight outliers, because they don’t use Edison Research data that is the basis of most other networks predictions.

Remember if AZ ad NV are called tonight, then we’ll likely have official calls for entire race (because Biden will be at 270 even without GA and PA).

5:50pm– I suspect PA officials will stop soon and continue tomorrow. Trump’s lead in PA was basically cut in half today, and if Biden’s lead margin in mail in ballots continues, he’s still projected to pass Trump by the time all votes are counted.

5:48pm– We may not know GA until tomorrow: Gwinnett County election officials have wrapped up for the day. Officials will start counting the absentee ballots that caused the glitch tomorrow at 9a.

But, AZ and NV both plan to release more tonight, which, depending on how they shake out, may allow calls in those states. If they are called by networks, then we could have an official call for Joe Biden as nest President of the United States tonight.

5:35pm– From Jonathan Tamari:

Where PA stands: – Trump’s edge is down to about 300k. – About 900k mail ballots uncounted yet. – Biden still winning 78% of those. – If – again IF – that % holds, Biden would surpass Trump’s advantage.

5:30pm– Trump leads in Georgia by 1.22%

Trump~ 50.00% Biden~ 48.78% Trump leads by 58,554. Trump margin has been going down.But we don’t know if Biden can catch…gonna be close.

5:28pm– Some context in Michigan from NYT:

Biden’s narrow win in Michigan was the product of extremely high turnout in Detroit, where an underwhelming performance with Black voters in 2016 helped doom Hillary Clinton.

5:20pm– He said “hereby” so its now legally binding. Just kidding. This is simply ridiculous coming from a President of the United States.

4:54pm– Good news. Fingers crossed: Instead of delaying releasing results until tomorrow, Nevada officials will release more results later today due to the high interest in how Nevada voted.

4:35pm– Biden just spoke again:

“After a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I’m not here to declare we’ve won but I am here to report when the count is finished we believe we will be the winners.”

4:31pm– Trump is up by 71k votes in GA. But it’s still a tight one as the final mail in ballots ars added, because here’s the map of outstanding votes…a lot of blue:

4:27pm– The Biden camp is very confident that they will win PA, just like MI and WI. From John Bresnahan: Pennsylvania Democratic officials are privately telling Biden campaign officials that they believe final margin of victory for Biden in Pennsylvania will be 100K-200K votes when the counting is finally done.

4:23pm– CNN officially calls Michigan for Joe Biden. That basically means that he needs an official call in NV and AZ (or GA) and he’ll have secured the win. Winning PA is his back up in case he loses two of those three. Inch by inch we are getting there.

4:22pm– I’m assuming they are saying this with an asterisk (*not counting the COVID complications). Many will speculate, but I’d suggest this is where Trump’s overall style and behavior have lead enough voters to turn on him (even though they consider themselves better off).

4:13pm– More Michigan votes have trickled in. Biden is currently up 64,000 votes (1.2% lead). That significantly larger than Trump’s 11,000 vote win in 2016. David Wasserman says: It does look to me like Biden may end up with a 100k+ vote margin in Michigan once all of Kent/Wayne is reported.

3:37pm– We’re still waiting on GA numbers. The NYT Needle remains bullish for Biden, giving him a 64% chance. Here’s the Needles creator, Nate Cohn:

We still don’t have any updates in Georgia, where Trump leads but the needle thought Biden was slightly favored. The story there’s the same: a lot of very favorable vote for Biden in the Atlanta area, and an overlooked block in Savannah as well. It’ll be close.

The needle accounts for this, and expects… Chatham: 75-26 Fulton: 85-16 DeKalb: 93-7 Among remaining mail absentees

3:33pm– Nothing more until tomorrow? Update on Nevada from 538:

In Nevada, Biden leads by 7,647 votes. An estimated 14% of the vote (all late-arriving mail ballots or provisional ballots, which should lean Democratic) is still uncounted. *We won’t know more on this state until 12 p.m. Eastern Thursday.

3:15pm– From Jonathan Lai: Here’s how the partisan divide on voting method looks right now, out of Pennsylvania’s 5.5M or so votes counted and released so far:

Mail ballots: 78% Biden 21% Trump

In-person votes: 33% Biden 66% Trump

This was replicated throughout the country, and with a surge in mail ballots, it created a bizarre election night reveal, as results were completely lopsided and then shifted dramatically the other way. It made it incredibly difficult to forecast, because there was rarely clarity on what type of votes were counted. With margins like that, if you didn’t know the types of ballots, you didn’t know anything.

3:10pm– Some thoughts from Nathaniel Rak on the state of things in NC. This is unlikely to play a decisive role, but there is still a Hail Mary chance that Biden eeks out a win (unlikely) and Cunningham wins (even more unlikely)…

2:42pm– You may have already seen that the Trump campaign has already filed a suit in MI seeking to stop the finally counting. Their claim is that Trump officials were not allowed access at certain ballot sites per MI law. However, there are many officials in the identified areas who have already come out to say that the locations were “crawling with Republican challengers.” In other words, this is just the first of what will likely be many frivolous lawsuits.

Remember it takes zero evidence to file a lawsuit. Anyone can do it on anything. Don’t read too much into this stuff as it comes out. There needs to be a credible claim of actual legal wrongdoing.

2:32pm– One more update from Cohn on AZ:

2:33pm– Nate Cohn on outstanding ballots in AZ: There is reason to think these ballots could be good for Republicans…

2:30pm– This is going to require a lot of soul searching for Democrats in the coming months: Trump is on track to get the largest share of non-white voter support for a Republican presidential candidate since 1960.

2:26pm– The AP officially called WI for Biden. We’ve known this, but networks calling are just another layer of traditional confirmation. Eventually, either the AP or Fox (the two that are making earliest calls) may have an official call on the overall election.

3:25pm– David Wasserman on Pennsylvania: To my eye, Biden is likely hitting the targets he needs in PA counties to be on track to finish ahead. And recounts don’t typically overturn the margins we’re likely to see for him in MI/WI.

The rough calculations are back-of-the-napkin affairs. You look at which counties have outstanding ballots and look to see what margin Biden is winning mail in ballots in that area or nearby (nationwide Biden’s been winning mail in ballots anywhere from 4:1 to 7:1). You can then do math to see what margin Biden is likely to gain when all of those votes are in…compare that to Trump’s current lead, and see if it’s bigger.

2:20pm– In other initiative news:

The CA measure to allow Uber/Lyft drivers to be categorized as independent contractors passed.

The attempt in IL to move to a progressive taxation system (like nearly everywhere else) failed.

The abortion ban in Louisiana passed–expect abortion to be a hot agenda item with the newly reconfigured Supreme Court.

2:13pm– In case you were wondering, literally all of the drug decriminalization measures passed nationwide: marijuana legalization, Oregon’s universal decriminalize, and both Psilocybin measures. Now more than 1/3 of the country lives in a place where pot is legal. The tides continue to shift on these issues.

It’s a small reminder that for as much vitriol as is thrown on social media, Trump and Biden voters agree on more than they realize. We are very divided, but I believe much of that division is manufactured and exploited. There are ways out of this polarization, maybe, perhaps. But I’m an optimist.

2:06pm– It’s a fools game to respond to wildly inaccurate Trump tweets. But this is galling.

Yes, Mr President, mail in ballots are counted until they’ve all been tallied. That’s how it has always worked. State officials wanted to change the rules to those in many other places (like FL) were they could get these counted earlier so there would be a final count on election day. But the R legislature blocked that. The reason we are waiting this long is because Republicans ensured it would happen. This isn’t a partisan comment. It’s simply fact.

1:51pm– Gary Peters, D, has moved ahead in the MI Senate race. Hard to see this backsliding, and so it looks like the Ds were spared a surprise loss in this one and will at least close the maring in the Senate.

1:49pm– The Ds only chance right now to control the Senate is for (1) Gary Peters to hang on in razor tight race in Michigan, AND (2) win two of the three outstanding races (underdogs in each): Cunningham, Ossoff, Warnock.

I don’t see it happening, but its not technically impossible.

1:35pm– Susan Collins has retained her Senate seat in Maine. This was a surprise win for her, and the polls in that race were off by enormous margins– 10-16% in many cases. For those reading who were leery about Ds having total control of government, this win nearly ensures that Rs will retain control of the Senate.

1:02pm– Remember we should be getting GA votes in soonish. Right now, the NYT Needle gives Biden a 64% chance of winning it. That seems high to me, but it is a sophisticated model. I’d say 50/50 shot just be pessimistic (and considering that the year is 2020).

12:57pm– A friend (H/T Dave M) pieced together that AZ has about 350k outstanding ballots. The largest chunk of those are in fact in counties that Biden won (mostly Maricopa, the Phoenix area that dominates the state). We don’t yet know the exact Election Day breakdown of voters in those areas, but at least right now I can’t see Trump with a ultra clear path to make up the 93k deficit he has overall in AZ. He’d have to win these remain votes by a clear margin. I’m not 100% confident until I know exactly what type of ballots were talking about, but hard to see a great path for Trump.

AP and Fox have both called Arizona for Biden and they have not retracted that call. It’s not over, but Trump only path to victory first requires winning AZ and it’s still not likely.

12:48pm– The AZ race will hinge on types of outstanding votes there are. Throughout the state, Trump beat Biden 65%-34% with election day votes. But, unclear if that election day number is the same for just Maricopa (where most outstanding ballots remain).

12:47pm– This is what’s called election humor:

12:38pm– PA Math update. Biden is currently down 484k votes. There are about 1.16 million mail in ballots left to tally. To win, Biden need to win those ballots by 71-29%. In the latest batch of mail-ins, Biden won by 86-14%. No guarantee that margin stay the same, but if its roughly the consistent, Biden is still on track to make up the ground he needs in PA.

Can’t feel comfortable until is in, but there is a path.

12:19pm– The situation in AZ from 538While Fox News and the Associated Press have projected Arizona for Biden, the other outlets — including ABC News — have not. Before the election, officials did warn that any super-close races might not be resolved until the last votes are counted on Thursday or Friday. Biden has a 3-point lead over Trump, with 86 percent of the expected vote reported. Maricopa County, where the largest remainder of uncounted ballots are, has finished tabulating all its in-person Election Day votes and will release more results at 9 p.m. tonight.

Yes, you read that right…9pm tonight. The year 2020 is just an utter nightmare.

12:07pm– Oh boy, so it looks like AZ might be razor thin now. The screwed up reporting mean Trump is closing. If Trump does win AZ, then he still has a slight path if he also wins GA and PA.

Inhale, Exhale.

12:04am– Slight twist (it’s 2020, nothing is easy), but that to (H/T from Kaylle G): Arizona reportedly counted 95%+ of its votes. But “due to an error in an Edison Research data feed of results … the actual estimate is that 86% of the vote has been counted.

Need to keep an eye on that.

11:56am– WI is done and Biden won by 21k votes. MI still has 100k left to process, and Biden is currently up there by 31k votes. If iBden locks up MI (and Nevada holds), he wins the election. That’s regardless of what happens in PA or GA.

11:54am– NV’s Jon Ralston notes that there are about 50-60K outstanding mail in ballots in Clark Co, I think. Those will be heavily D, and so Biden should be safe in Nevada, though nothing is certain until they’re counted.

11:49am– Michigan Secretary Benson said the state is waiting on 100,000 ballots statewide to have an unofficial count. Most of these ballots are absentees. from Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo.

Biden is generally strong with absentee ballots.

11:45am– Georgia’s Secretary of State says just said in Atlanta that 200k Election Day votes and 40-50k early votes still need to be counted. Trump is currently winning GA by 100,000 votes. Gonna be tight.

11:40am– This article provides a good explanation for why the “missing ballots” issue is not as bad as it may seem.

11:31am– Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe tells NBC News that all of the ballots have “indeed been counted.” Biden is currently leading WI by about 21,000 votes or 0.6% That should give Biden Wisconsin, although it will likely be contested for a recount.

In 2016, Trump beat Clinton by 22,000 votes in WI. There was also a recount, and that recount ended with Trump gaining 131 votes. Hard to see any way that Trump swings 21,000 votes in WI.

11:06am– There’s no doubt that there’s an industry-wide issue with polling. From Derek Thompson: Too early to be sure about the *exact* numbers here, but seems like state polls missed by 5 points, on avg, in 2016 by understating noncollege support for the GOP. Then a bunch of pollsters studied the issue and changed their methodologies for 2020 … and whiffed by 7 points.

10:58am– Important: the issue of ballots at USPS facilities may be more complicated (and less dire) than I just shared below. USPS officials believe that there are some misunderstanding in the numbers, and it’s not as bad as it first appears. That’s a relief, and I hope it’s resolved in the coming days. But again, thank goodness this election will likely not hinge on those votes.

10:54am– We won’t know for a week (until CA slowly counts all its ballots), but my guess is that Biden will end up winning the popular vote by about the same amount (maybe a hair more) than Obama did in 2012 (and certainly much more than Clinton in 2016.

10:50am– This can’t be repeated enough as the President (expectedly) begins going off on Twitter:

10:47am– If you remember, yesterday morning a federal judge ordered the USPS to sweep all their site and immediately process the 300,000 ballot that were there. That order was apparently ignored by the USPS.

10:45am– More news coming out about USPS mail delays. For example about 15% of South Florida mail in ballots simply never arrived on time. In Florida, if the ballto doesn’t arrive on time, it’s not counted, no exceptions. The horrific Biden numbers in South FL are likely in part caused by the fact that a chunk of his voters will not have their ballot counted. He still would have lost FL, but it likely wasn’t as bad a the current number shows.

The same issue may have occurred in other places nationwide.

All I can say is thank God Biden will likely win without them, because if this ended up being the reason for a loss, there would be huge issues.

10:05am– WINCHESTER Update. Boy, are these results kinda odd to me. What a night. The vast majority of D votes (like elsewhere in the country) were in early/absentee, and NONE of the votes were counted until the wee hours. This left most of us sitting in fear as we saw Rs winning every single race by comfortable margins. But when the dust settled, it was an overall positive night for the local Democrats.

Mayor David Smith was re-elected by 5.5%. John Hill was re-elected by 11%. And the Ds won 1 of their 3 opportunities to flip a seat as Phil Milstead beat John Willingham by about 3%. I was sad to see Richard Bell not able to pull it out here in Ward 1. I ‘ll repeat that I think his campaigned as well as was possible, and was as strong a D candidate as could be imagined here. It turned out that Veach had more more core support than I knew and combined with a national environment that wasn’t as bad for Rs as predicted, there was no path. However, with Bill Wiley’s election to the statehouse, that means there will now be an open Ward 1 seat. Hmmm. Will Ward 1 get a D replacement?

In other Winchester news: Biden beat Trump in Winchester City by 11%; Wexton was re-elected by 11% in Winchester, and Warner won here by 15%. I think that jives with the city remaining about 8-12% D overall. Though, obviously that doesn’t work for local elections–as my missed called in Ward 4 indicates. That’s an weird one, because it’s the Ward that votes most R in state and federal elections, and yet it will now have 2 D city council members.

9:57am– One additional thing to watch as MI results come in. There will be a razor thin Senate race there as well. I expect D Gary Peters to neak by if Biden does. But his opponent is running a hair ahead of Trump. Rs could pick up that seat if MI remains extra close.

9:54am– If you are still watching Presidential numbers, it’s simple: Follow the margins in WI, MI, PA, and GA and see how it changes over the day. You can keep an eye on AZ and NV too, just in case.

9:51am– Barring some shock developments in Maine and GA, Republicans will keep control of Senate, though Ds will gain at least 1 seat. Rs also overperformed in House races. Ds will retain control, but Rs may have a few more seats (it may be a wash once all the votes are counted though).

9:43am– Those are the states in play. It’s safe(ish) to assume AZ will go Biden, NV, will go Biden, and NC will go Trump. So there are really only 4 states left. Biden only needs 2 of them, and he’s already leading in two of them (WI, MI). More than likely, he won’t even need PA or GA

9:35am– The details aren’t too complicated anymore. There are 7 states that haven’t been called by some or all outlets:

  1. Arizona: Biden will win this, though a few are still waiting for final, final tally.
  2. North Carolina: Trump’s lead should hold, but there is a 1 in 50 chance, that the final absentee ballots swing so hard to Biden that he eeeks out a win.
  3. Nevada: Trump made this far closer than suspected, but it looks like he’ll fall short by less than a point. The little outstanding votes (mail in from Clark Co.) remaining should bump Biden’s lead up a hair.
  4. Wisconsin: Biden took the lead early this morning as the mail votes were slowly counted. That lead will likely grow, and it’s hard to see how Trump flips this as the vast majority of outstanding ballots are areas where Biden is strongest.
  5. Michigan: Almost exact copy of Wisconsin. Biden took the lead early a half hour ago as the mail votes were slowly counted. That lead will likely grow, and it’s hard to see how Trump flips this as the vast majority of outstanding ballots are areas where Biden is strongest.
  6. Pennsylvania: I expect it to follow the route of WI and MI. It will count slowe rthan those, over today and tomorrow. But, the outstanding votes are Biden’s best vote areas and type of voters. The quantity outstanding should be enough for him to pull ahead.
  7. Georgia: This may end up being the closest race of the cycle (expect perhaps Nevada). Atlanta and other big Biden votes will drop later today, and it’s a toss up as to whether it’ll be enough for Biden to make up the gap.

9:28am– If you haven’t followed the news, the state of the race is as follows: Joe Biden is a clear favorite to be elected the next President of the United States. He currently leads in enough states to earn 270 electoral college votes. Virtually all outstanding ballots seem to be highly favorable to him, and so his margin will likely grow over the coming hours and days.

If you were desperately hoping that Donald Trump not be President for another 4 years, you should be feeling very good right now.

9:25am– Good morning, friends. It looks things have finally gotten interesting.


12pm– It’s officially Wednesday here on the East Coast. I’m going to call it a night, because I don’t have that much more to add. I’ll likely keep watching for awhile to see what we learn, but I don’t know any more than anyone else at this point.

I’d rather be Biden than Trump right now. He has more paths, but this could go either way. If you are staying up tonight, keep an eye on Nevada, NE-2, and Arizona (to ensure the Fox call wasn’t premature). PA won’t tell us much yet. We may learn more from WI and MI, but I think that’s a tomorrow thing as well.

Thank you all so much for following along and for the conversation throughout the day. As dark as things may seem, we’ve gotten through much darker times in American history. No matter who wins, we’ll all still have one another. And I really like all of you fools.

Never forget. Politics impacts our lives but it isn’t our lives. The core things that make our lives worth living will still be here. 🙂

11:44pm– On second glance, because Biden won AZ. If he wins the 1 ECV in Nebraska (and doesn’t lose Nevada), then he could even lose PA and still win. He’d just need any two of the 3 between MI, WI, and Pa.

11:42pm– From John Kruzel: A Pennsylvania court has agreed to hold a hearing tomorrow on a GOP effort to invalidate mail ballots that initially contained errors but were later fixed (or “cured,” in legal jargon).

Over the next few days Rs will do everything possible to prevent as many mail-in ballots from being counted.

11:38pm– By a sizeable margin Oregon has voted to decriminalize most drugs, and place an emphasis an addiction programs. All of the legalize medical and recreational marijuana initiatives look like they will pass.

11:38pm– Trump will in OH by about the same margin he did last time.

11:35pm-– Many are disputing the call for AZ, saying it’s too early to know. I must say that this has been the oddset election ever in terms of understand what the hell is happening as the votes are rolling in. The enormous difference between early and same day votes + no one being sure which votes are counted means that everyone has been flying blind all night.

11:30pm— Assuming Fox didn’t jump the gun, then the Arizona win allows Ds breathing room to perhaps lose WI or MI and still win the election. With the one caveat that they also must keep Nevada. AND there’s still the outside chance that Ds pull off a late win in NC or GA.

11:28pm– The Arizona calls are the first real good news for Ds all night.

11:26pm– FOx news has made the earliest calls all night. Right now they just called Arizona for Biden. AND Mark Kelly for Senate (which would be 2nd pickup.

11:20pm– Honestly, it is OK to go to sleep now or at least not obsessively stare at results. I’m not sure how much longer I will live blog (probably until midnight, EST (40 more minutes). That’s because PA, WI, MI, and GA have all announced they will not have final results tonight. I think we are nearing 2000 election territory where things may hinge on the slimmest of margins.

Breath In. Breathe Out. And if all of this is extremely stressful, overwhelming, and making you physically ill, I’m sorry. We remain a very divided country, but we’ve been divided before. We can get through anything.

11:12pm– From David Montgomery: One bellwether county in MN is Anoka County, which swung big to Trump in 2016, and then even harder to Democrats in 2018. So far, most of it’s vote is apparently in, and Trump’s lead there is MUCH smaller than four years ago.


11:08pm– Detroit will not finish counting a backlog of absentee ballots until tomorrow night.

11:06pm– As we stare at this map, here’s a reasonable take from Conor Sen:

I would rather be Biden having to win WI/MI/AZ or PA/NE-02 rather than Trump needing to hold NC/GA/PA/AZ.

11:04pm– KS Senate will go to Rs. These were all expected, but Ds held out hope that they might sneak in one of these “extra R seats.

11:02pm– Breath in. Breathe out:

10:55pm– Perspective: This time in 2016, many, many more states were already called. We also weren’t in the middle of a pandemic in which many, many votes won’t be counted for days.

10:51pm– Remember, the only reason we don’t have more results from WI, PA & MI right now is because Republican state legislatures refused to allow election officials to count mail ballots earlier like FL/NC/GA do

10:48pm– There will be a special election in January in Georgia: Loeffler vs Warnock. Depending on how things shake out, that election may end up being for control of the Senate. If that’s the case, you have to think R Loeffler will be the favorite.

10:40pm– My additions may become a bit more scattered. This post is getting so long that the site is slowing down terribly and it takes awhile to type out a few sentences.

Anyway, it’s becoming clear that we will need to wait until tomorrow (and perhaps longer) for a resolution. It could honestly go either way at this point, and it’s going to hinge on final absentee ballots. If I had to pick I think the odds right now are Biden-52%, Trump-48%. Razor thin, and I’m basing that off little. But If Trump wins OH by say 4-5, I think that still means Biden has enough juice to beat Hillary’s slim margins from 2016 in PA, MI, and Wi. But we won’t know for a long while, because Biden’s votes are locked up remaining mail/early votes that those states will take awhile to count.

10:31pm– Steve Bullock not getting the margins he need sear earlier to win in MT. I think he has an uphill climb, At this point, I can see Ds getting 3 seat, but the 4th one will be tougher. It looks like, unfortunately, some of these races at the Presidential and Senate level are going to be decided by the very last mail in and absentee votes that arrive. That means we are in for some court fights.

10:26pm– ALso need to keep an eye on Nevada. If the Latino vote is as bad for Biden here as elsewhere, then it will likely be closer than we thought, and Trump has a chance to take it.

10:24pm– Ernst is overperforming Trump a bit in IA right now. I expect she keeps her seat.

10:10pm– If this all is stressing you out, you have permission to go to bed. Because it doesn’t look like we know tonight. PA is going to take awhile…

New: Philadelphia officials say they will not be reporting any more mail ballot results tonight. About 76,000 have been tallied so far — out of 350,000-some received. And remember, Biden supporters are disproportionately voting by mail.

10:08pm– Lindsey Graham is going to hang onto his seat in SC.

10:05pm– Those 117,000 outstanding absentee votes in North Carolina might become very, very important.

10:02pm– If Biden wins OH he wins the election. But we don’t know which typesof votes are outstanding in these Clinton areas.

64% of Ohio has reported, but of the places yet to report, about 63% of the vote is from counties Clinton carried in 2016.

9:52pm– The NYT Needle was very optimistic for Rs in NC and GA once Trump won FL. But now the creator it says GA and NC will be closer, because the model extrapolated too much data from that FL win. For the record. The Fox News Needles are much more optimistic for Biden. We will see….

Cohn is now saying that the NYT needles are extrapolating too much from Florida so it’s not clear how much we know about Georgia and North Carolina. The Fox needles tell a very different story, with both heading Dem (95% in NC & 78% in GA):

9:44pm– From WI:

Early look at individual Waukesha precinct numbers shows Trump doing 4-6% worse than four years ago. “crucial waukesha county”

9:41pm– I don’t know how I missed this, but Fox News has their own needles, per state. And their results are much more optimistic for Biden still at this point.

9:34pm– Fox News projects that Ds will retain control of house and expand lead by at least 5 seats.

9:24pm– A positive thought for anxious Ds right now. OH is the state that is most like the critical 3 of2PA, WI, and Mi. Right now, Biden seems to be doing decent there, though I think he’ll still lose. But Trump won OH by 8.1% in 2016. If that margin is much closer this year, then it’s not great for his chances of keeping PA, WI, and MI.

WI: Trump 47.2%, Clinton 46.4%

MI: Trump 47.5%, Clinton 47.3%

PA: Trump 48.2%, Clinton 47.5%

Going even in OH isn’t a good sign for Trump.

9:14pm– I’m not sure what will happen in WInchester as we wait for the mail in/early vote. But do consider that the vote as posted has Wexton and Biden down by 23%. I’d be shocked if either lost Winchester City, and so I think we can expect a swing at least in that range in many races. Though, I think Richard Bell may have a tough hurdle to climb as he needs to make up 34%, which is probably too much at this point.

9:08pm– First D Senate pick up of the night. Hickenlooper beats Cory Gardner

9:07pm– From Neil King – Latino support for Biden appears very soft in many states. One big emerging story.

9:03pm– Lots of states called. But from my vantage point, this race is now going to narrow to PA, MI, WI. My gut says Trump will eek out wins in NC and OH. That then leaves AZ as a potential savior for Biden if he loses a state like WI or WI.

We may have reached the point where whoever wins PA will win the election.

9:02pm– If you’re starting to feel anxious. It’s OK. This is stressful as all get out. But, take three deep breaths and remember: Politics is not your life. Politics is not your life. Politics is not your life.

No matter what happens, we will all be OK. For real. This isn’t a mercy post saying that the race is over. It’s gonna be close.

8:50pm– However, the lack of ticket splitting means that Cunningham’s lead is not as secure, because that margin will shrink as more election day votes come in for Trump (and presumably Tillis).

8:44pm-Not much ticket splitting in North Carolina. Cunningham’s running almost even with Biden everywhere.

8:42pm– In Winchester, it now all hinges on whether most of the Ds can make up the 18% gain that Rs seem to have in most races with election day voting. We just wait for mail in and early vote totals. I honestly have no idea what to expect, because we’re in uncharted waters here.

8:39pm– I don’t think Biden will have the margins to win in TX. Overall, this clearly won’t be an unprecedented landslide. instead it’s going to be a fight where we thought it would be over the last 4 years. Upper Midwest.

8:36pm– It’s actually becoming harder than I expected in trying to figure out where things are at the moment. And it’s because of the huge divergence between early v. in person for Biden and Trump.

8:32pm– I now think this election may come down to just as we thought it would: PA, WI, MI. AND the potential in AZ.

8:30pm– Scratch that, NTY Needle just swung a bit to Trump in NC. Though I think it’s still a bit of a tossup.

8:26pm– NC is gonna be close, but unlike FL, Biden has a better chance of having his early vote hold up til the end. NYT Needle gives Biden 58% chance of winning it.

New Hanover County, North Carolina (Wilmington, and also one of @redistrict‘s 10 counties to watch nationwide). 80% of estimated vote in. Biden: 52.0% Trump: 46.7% 2016: Trump: 49.5% Clinton: 45.6%

New Hanover County, North Carolina (Wilmington, and also one of @redistrict‘s 10 counties to watch nationwide). 80% of estimated vote in. Biden: 52.0% Trump: 46.7% 2016: Trump: 49.5% Clinton: 45.6%

8:22pm– DecisionDesk is calling FL for Trump now. The networks won’t do it for a bit, but hard to see any path for Biden there.

8:18pm– With nearly 700K ballots counted in Georgia, David Perdue’s lead is doing 4 percentage points larger than Trump’s, which isn’t what the Ossoff campaign hoped to see.

8:15pm– If you are looking at early Winchester numbers (at least what I’m seeing online) don’t panic too much, more R ballots are in.

8:12pm– Texas early results coming in. Early numbers show some movement that Biden wanted in some city suburban areas. Though we don’t know if it will be enough. Trump should still win TX by 2-3%, Biden certainly doesn’t need to win though.

8:06pm– AP currently has it 85 ECV for Biden; 55 for Trump. Those are all expected. Trump is overperforming in FL, which is the only swing state where we have any real data yer.

8pm– Biden win NH, MA, MD, DE, DC, RI, CT, IL; Trump wins OK, AL, MS, TN

7:59pm– South Carolina is called for Donald Trump

7:57pm– From Nate Silver: What we know so far: * Trump looks good in Florida. * Beyond that… not much, I’d say, since Trump’s overperformance vs. polls/2016 in Florida looks mostly to be concentrated among Cubans, which may not tell us much about other states.

7:52pm– Not a surprise, but Mitch McConnell will beat Amy McGrath in KY.

7:49pm– NYT Needle currently gives Trump 95% chance to take FL, mostly because of Miami-Dade performance by Trump. GA is at 65% for Trump (though still very early), and NC is 65% for NC (though extremely early).

7:46pm– The exits in SC Senate imply a narrow Graham lead, though potentially within about 5% — that’s what we’re expecting. But warning on any tweet I mention an exit poll: it’s an exit poll.

7:42pm– From @jpelzer:

@CBSNews exit poll shows shift among Ohio suburban women. Trump won OH suburban women in 2016; this year, they sided with Biden 53%/47% Usual caveat that it’s just an exit poll, though it’s a sign of the much-predicted Trump backlash in suburbia.

7:31pm– Trump is definitely a favorite to win FL, so it’s not impossible for Biden to make comeback.

The story in Florida so far. – BIDEN badly underperforming in MIAMI-DADE. -But he’s overperforming in Pinellas & Hillsborough (Tampa metro) – Biden needs to overperform in Broward (still reporting) + elsewhere to make it up.

7:27PM– AP calls KY for Trump. Expected, of course.

7:25pm– Second reminder: On Election night in 2018, the first hour and half were quite depressing. Thing evened out, then got good for Ds as the night wore on. Stay calm and carry on.

7:21pm– The NYT Election Needle currently gives Trump 81% chance to win FL.

Friends, don’t panic. Remember, even in 2018, a year Ds would love to repeat, they lost every big race in FL. FLorida is weird. It’s different than other states. Trump supporters should be happy about this, but it’s not definitive at all.

7:18pm– The Miami Dade vote is bad news for Biden. He needed to win that by much more.

7:15pm–For the record, I have MSNBC on in the background (sometime on mute). It’s because Steve Kornacki is the best at managing the Big Board. He is on top of it in explaining if a vote dump is early ballots that will favor Biden or if a margin is truly unique. CNN, with Steve King and Wolf Blitzer, I find to be less sophisticated. But watch whatever soothes you, you would miss much no matter what you have on.

7:12pm– In 2016 it took several hours for VA to be called for Clinton. So that immediate call is good news. It may indicate good results for a similar state, like NC.

7:09pm– My early gut from the FL numbers coming in is that Trump will do just as well in FL rural areas as he did in 2016. No real slippage. The race, I think will depend on if Biden can improve on Clinton numbers in cities.

7:07pm– Not so long ago Virginia was a swing state. It’s amazing how quickly things change when it is now a state that is immediately called for the Ds at poll closing.

7:05pm– Mark Warner will be re-elected in Virginia. No surprise.

7:04pm-– IN goes to Trump. All other places too early to call. FOx News calls VA and VT for Biden.

7:02pm– Update from Marc Caputo on Florida:

If Biden wins FL tonight, it’d be unique; he’d be the 1st top-of-ticket candidate to carry a state when his party had a lower share of ballots cast than the opponent’s party. As of about 6:30, GOP’s vote share was 1.8 points higher than Dems’ (R+1.8). It was R+0.6 in 16.

To win like this, Biden would need a good share of independents (as much as a 7 point margin) or more GOP voters for him than Dem voters for Trump. Or a combo of both. Both are possible. But we haven’t seen a D win when Rs outvote Ds or an R win when Ds outvote Rs

7pm– Here we go. Polls closing.

6:53pm– BREAKING: reports out of a place contain numbers. some of the numbers are bigger than the other numbers. it’s not clear what this means unless it is clear, but there will also be new different numbers soon. this has been The News (H/t @Kt_So_It_Goes)

6:40pm– A caveat. Keep in mind that early and mail-in vote may be dropped first, so that some counties may seem like huge Biden improvements from 2016 but in fact are mirages. I may accidentally miss this as well, because it’s impossible for know for sure in each area. The best comparisons between counties are when 100% of that county is in.

6:38pm– Fact check: True. Things work differently across the pond:

10pm Exit poll UK: We can confidently predict a Tory win by exactly 71 seats

10pm Exit Poll US: 13% of Americans have seen a rainbow in the past nineteen days

6:34pm– Great improvement for Biden in Kentucky margins. He won’t win the state, this is just a indicator of how the electorate looks in states that matter…

Biden carrying Fayette County, KY (Lexington) by almost 3:1, with estimates is a bit over half in. This would be better than what Andy Beshear got there (65%).

6:33pm– This will only matter if Harrison happens to make it a close Senate race with Graham —15,000 mail-in ballots from Dorchester County, South Carolina, can’t be counted because the printed ink mailing codes were too thin to be read by scanners. It means Tuesday’s results will be incomplete.

6:30pm– Remember all that matters in the first hour or two are comparisons to 2016.

18K votes from Jessamine County KY in (Lexington area). Trump carrying it 59%-38%, down from 66%-26% in 2016.

6:27pm– First comparison of the night and it’s good for Biden:

Steuben county, IN is very white and rural. It is 51% in. 2016: Trump +43 Now: Trump +23 The margin may shift. But if it holds, it is a 20 point shift to Biden.

A lot depends, however, on how much is VBM, absentee, and election day. Though IN didn’t start counting early so might not just be a dump (but still unclear).

6:21pm– Results are starting to trickle in in IN. Here we go. Some things will trickle in slowly now, then start a deluge. Don’t panic at all until at least 9pm. Anything before that is premature.

6:14pm– Oh Miami – I just spoke with 28yr-old Miamian Alex Garcia. He said he woke up today thinking he was going to vote for Trump BUT he changed his mind at the voting booth. He ended up picking Biden to “go back to normal.” “I just want my Instagram to be about me again, and how good I look”

6:13pm– From Nate Silver: Nothing I’ve seen or heard about the exit polls give me confidence that they’ve figured out how to balance the different types of votes that are coming in. Lots of weird, somewhat incongruous results based on what’s been reported. I would ignore.

6:10pm– CNN Exist polls (ignore them):

Party affiliation- Democrat: 38%; Republican: 35%; Independent: 23%

6:08pm– CNN Exit polls (ignore them):

Gender – Female: 53%; Male: 47%

6:05pm– The polls in parts of IN and KY are now closed. Whew. Here we go.

6:01pm– A FL poll released yesterday had the model of R+2% in it’s registration status. It looks to be what the final registration layoff will be. That poll had Biden winning Florida by 1%. So it’ll be a tossup.

5:44pm– Biden camp internals show “strong” numbers in WI, MI, NC, GA, PA, AZ & NE-2. FL is true toss-up, senior adviser tells @NorahODonnell. Source says not seeing “red tide of low-propensity voters” for Trump. Dem says they are over-performing in WI, NC and GA.

We very well may see similarities to 2018 — great D performance everywhere except FL. Of course, Biden doesn’t need FL to win, Trump does.

5:41pm–Laura Bassett@LEBassett – Hearing from a poll watcher that Ward 2 in Philadelphia is closing early because there are no more registered voters that haven’t voted

5:38pm– If this is true (I’m still unsure), then these exits are more wrong than usual. It means that 61% of the exit poll data is from those who voted on election day, when in reality only about 32% or so will be voting on election day.


5:36pm– These are what the super tech saavy number crunchers looked like in the 1986 election.


5:32pm– Republican raw vote advantage now over 200k in Florida.

R: 4,199,104

D: 3,995,339

NPA: 2,544,855

This does not account for crossover votes or how NPAs are voting. ALSO, there is still oustanding data from a few cities.

5:31pm– In 2016, virtually all of the questions on the exit poll seemed to be favorable to a Clinton win…and we all know what actually happened.

5:26pm– CNN Exit Poll: First time voter? Yes: 13% No: 87% (in 2016 the projected first time voter total was 15%). But remember, this exit poll data is very unreliable and these numbers are changing on a rolling basis.

5:24pm– Not many late deciders. Only 4% of voters made up their minds in the last week, according to CNN exit polls. #Election2020

5:23pm– Whether you like or dislike these exit polls, remember that because of the pandemic and surge in early voting, these results are more unreliable than in the past — and they were unreliable in the past.

5:19pm– Molly Hensley-Clancy@mollyhcThird party voting in 2020: I just spoke to a young woman in Minneapolis who said “the two-party system doesn’t serve us” and that “they’re two sides of the same coin.” I asked if that meant she voted third party and she sighed and said, “Unfortunately, I voted for Joe Biden.”



5:16pm– CNN Exit Poll: Wearing A Face Mask In Public Is More Of A…

Public Responsibility 68%; Personal Choice 30%

5:15pm– FL voter “Temperment to be President”:

41% – Trump; 53% – Biden

5:15pm– FL voter ideology:

20% – Liberal; 43% – Moderate; 38% – Conservative

5:12pm– 52%-42% voters think “Controlling coronavirus is more important than fixing economy.” So there’s a lot of diverging thing here.

5:12pm– Seeing “The Economy” at #1 is decent news for Trump, as that’s usually his strongest issue. However, some context on the questioning…

Dan Pfeiffer@danpfeifferThe question in the Exit Polls about how efforts to contain COVID are going was poorly worded or at least worded differently from all the other polling. People have thought their local officials have done well, the Trump/Fed gov not so much.

5:09pm– Early exit polls. PS – these will change, as folks are still voting

Most important issue:

Economy: 34%

Racial Inequality: 21%

Coronavirus: 18%

Crime & safety: 11%

Healthcare: 11%

5:06pm– From a respected FL Insider:

Peter Schorsch@PeterSchorschFL· – This race feels extraordinarily close. (If you believe, as I do that Trump keeps 87% of GOP vote, while Biden keeps 91% of Dem vote — and — NPA breaks 52-47 for Biden, which I believe is conservative.)

I’m always skeptical of Ds chances in FL. But even if FL is closer than expected, please note that it doesn’t mean things will be the same elsewhere. In 2018, when Ds performed very strong nationwide, FL was the one state that was a disappointment.

5:04pm– My Final Reminder: Ignore the exit polls. (It’s impossible)

5:02pm– 2020, what a year…

4:59pm– Exit polls coming. Just a heads up, beyond all the raw votes everywhere, I’ll also be checking two “live models” that attempt to take all data that comes in and show the odds of each candidate winning, changing on a rolling basis based on what we know. One is a version of the Economist’s model (open sourced and adapted by a saavy person, Sajid Anwar) and the other is the NYT Upshot “Needle” (you may have heard of this one) that will live model the Presidential race in FL, GA, and NC only.

4:56pm– Be careful when you write-in vote sometimes, ha…

4:54pm– “I think we’re going to have a great night. But it’s politics, and elections, and you never know.” Honestly, that’s the most normal, sedate Trump comment I’ve yet heard on this election. All the talk about him doing outrageous things to contest the election…unless is razor thing…I don’t think that’s happening.

4:50pm– 840,000 Broward County ballots will go live at 7pm, per @Jacquiecharles at Broward Elections HQ. More ballots will come later, but that’s more than the entire 2016 Election in FL’s Dem stronghold.

This is why FL will initially be very strong for Biden, and then Trump will slowly close throughout the night. This is nerve-racking, but expected. Expect Trump to catch Biden there, and pass him at times. It doesn’t mean it’s over. Biden might not win it (and he doesn’t have to) but we won’t know until later.

4:49pm– I’m likely switching away from screenshots and images to just raw text, because it’s so much faster and the real good stuff is going to start coming in droves soon.


4:40pm– Good News. MI has gotten a jumpstart on processing early and mail-in ballots. “Michigan officials expect the state’s vote will be counted sooner than previously expected, with both day-of and absentee ballot counts expected to be reported soon after polls close tonight

4:37pm– NC will not released any results until at least 45 minutes later than scheduled after some precincts had voting problems and will have extended hours. Results are never announced for a state while polls are still open.

4:36pm– Some unwelcome news for Biden out of OH – “Turnout in Cuyahoga County is just under 63%, compared to 69.5% in 2016. That includes just 48% turnout in Cleveland, around 10 points behind. I’m hearing concern from Ohio Democrats that it’s not high enough, especially if there ends up being increased turnout around the state.”

4:34pm– Vermont Republican Governor just announced that he voted for Joe Biden. That makes him the first sitting R Governor to announce a vote for the Democrat. For the record, VT will likely be the first state called in this election, immediately for Biden.

4:14pm– We won’t get the head to head exit poll numbers. But, they do have them. And networks use that data as one factor in deciding whether to officially “call” a race for one candidate or another. That’s why some networks are able to instantly project a state for someone the minute the polls close…in part because they’re looking at exit poll numbers that show how close the race actually is based on asking voters who they picked.

4:09pm– Reminder there are also many important ballot referendum tonight. For example, there is a chance that after tonight more than 1/3 of all Americans will live in a place where marijuana is legal.

4:05pm– We are 55 minutes away from the first exit poll data coming out. It will not be info. on Trump v. Biden votes. Instead it will be on questions asked about the voters (i.e. What issues most motivated you). We can infer which candidate is strongest on those issues and roughly gauge support for each candidate. That is if the exit polls are on point this year…which we won’t know until after the election, so…

3:57pm– Context: It’s close. These aren’t votes just party registration, so some Rs will vote Biden and vice versa. We’re still missing some turnout data from D areas.

3:51pm– From the same article below…

“There are actually parts of our brain that get activated around strong emotion, but those parts don’t know how to discern between strong joyful emotions and strong terror emotions,” she told me. “It might be thrilling and terrifying. So it may be that tonight, if there is this really obvious win for Biden, it may feel uncomfortable” — even, she says, for his supporters. “I suspect it will take a while to integrate and process and actually truly exhale.”

3:49pm– Interesting Vox article. Is this any of you?

Author Lindsey Kelk swore off making gingerbread cookies for at least the next four years. Jon Collins, a reality television producer, still can’t fathom eating monkey bread. And Khalid El Khatib, a proud Midwesterner, hasn’t had a taste of his home region’s vaunted delicacy known as French onion dip.
“There’s a picture from the night where it was clear Clinton would lose: I’m looking at the TV horrified, dipping a chip,” he told me. “I haven’t touched the stuff since. While I’m going into tonight optimistic, don’t let it ruin any food for you. Pretend like you’re sick; eat bland.”

3:43pm– I do not condone incivility. It’s not my personal style, and in the long run it doesn’t make things better. But, I can confidently share with you that it’s impossible to exaggerate how much Trump is utterly despised by most residents of D.C. and northern Virginia.

3:40pm– We may end up with the biggest gender gap in American history in this election. There was a 20% split in 2016, women favoring Clinton, men for Trump. This year polling suggests it may be as high as 30% as more women break for Biden and at least certain demographics of men (Black and Hispanic men) break for Trump and slightly higher margins that in 2016.

In the past, women have broken for Ds, but that’s mostly because of huge margins among minority women. If polling is on, this will be the first election in 25 years where white women also support the Democratic nominee.

3:33pm– DeWine is a moderate Republican governor who has drawn the ire of his own party base this year for his aggressive action in trying to stem COVID-19 in his state. From NBC:

Ohio’s GOP governor, Mike DeWine, predicted that the results of the presidential race in his state are likely to be known on Tuesday night. “The president is certainly not going to do as well as you would have expected a Republican president did 12 years ago or so,” DeWine said Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC. DeWine said that the first votes that will be counted will be the mail-in ballots and the early in-person votes. On the timing of the results, DeWine said, “We’re gonna know tonight unless it’s a really, really close race.”

3:28pm– Throughout the campaign Ds have worried about the Latino vote. They want to win more of it than they seem to be getting. There also appears to be a big gender gap in the demographic, with men much more likely to support Trump. This was always one argument made by Bernie Sanders supporters for his viability, because he did well among these voters in the primary.

3:24pm– 90% anywhere for an American election is an insane number.

3:20pm– You’ll likely to see dozens of these sorts of claims pop up tonight and into the week after the election. Please note that they will almost universally be scams, hoaxes, and nonsense spread by those who like to sow chaos because it weakens us. Please point this out to anyone who share these. I don’t know how to fight the disinformation problem we have, but kindly calling out errors to our friends and neighbors who are taken in must be some part of it.

3:06pm– Necessary re-post every cycle. Heaven forbid if we get a COVID-20: The Sequel, we better not still have the “Keep ‘Dem Beaches Open” guy in charge.

2:58pm– It’s often assumed that in each state it’s a matter of comparing Trump’s margins in rural areas v. Biden margins in city areas. That’s roughly true. But in some areas, Trump’s strength wasn’t necessarily that he was so strong in the rural areas but that he decent in some cities. As Jonathan Allen just noted about Florida…

But Trump also pulled a ton of votes out of the state’s 10 most populous counties. Four years ago, just a hair over 50 percent of his vote total came from those bigger counties, according to an analysis of vote data compiled by Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, while two-thirds of Hillary Clinton’s did.

One interesting thing to keep an eye on is whether Trump is winning a majority of his votes from those big counties, or if that share slips because of a swing among suburban voters.

The counties include Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange, Pinellas, Duval, Lee, Polk and Brevard.

2:45pm– There is a court battle brewing over unprocessed post office ballots. Each state has different rules about which ballots received after Election Day but postmarked by Election Day are counted. A federal judge just today ordered the USPS to sweep all their facilities and immediately send all found ballots for delivery.

The judge on Tuesday afternoon granted the request, meaning inspectors will now be on site in those areas to ensure expedited ballot processing….

USPS also identified nearly 300,000 ballots across the country that had been scanned as going out from a voter, but never received a final scan marking delivery to boards of elections. Postal management noted, however, many of these ballots were likely pulled from the normal delivery process and dropped off directly at the boards, meaning they would have never received a final scan. 

All told, USPS processed and delivered 122 million ballots as of last week. […] USPS said its average delivery time for ballots since Oct. 1 is 2.5 days and 97.5% of ballots were delivered within five days. Mail delays writ large have increased significantly in recent weeks, with just 81% of First-Class mail delivered on time for the week ending Oct. 23.

2:24pm– More rumors, this time in Texas, that may or may not be true…

2:22pm– Counterpoint to 2:19. Carmichael is a R operative who previously worked on Herman Cain’s campaign. She may be right but is coming from a more partisan perspective.

2:19pm– Rumors like this float all day. And the weight you place on them is just the credibility of the messenger. In this case, a fine White House Correspondent.

2:12pm– This is one of the key areas for Biden in Florida…

2:05pm– Reminder: Exit polls are those conducted with voters after they’ve voted. Regular polls ask voters who they plan to vote for. Exit polls ask, who did you vote for.

Here’s the thing on exit polls: every year they mislead us (except the years they don’t). And this year it’s particularly tricky, because the huge number of early/absentee voters will make it even harder to get good results. But it’s not for lack of trying.

Most networks get their exit polls from the same place: Edison Research. They involve in-person interviews of people on election day, right after they vote, right outside of polling places, asking all sorts of questions about how they voted and their reasons. This year, in 8 states, Edison also conducted in-person exit polls at early voting locations. In addition, they’ve been conducting telephone exit polls of those who cast mail in ballots. The idea is to properly get results from all types of voters. But there are potential for errors/skewed samples at every level. And so they should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

They might mean something, but they also might not.

1:54pm– Unfortunately, yes. This whole thing is unhealthy…

1:14pm– One more thing before my quick break. The Biden camp is confident in NC, GA, and WI. Here’s the Biden campaign’s own analysis on where the votes were before today and what Trump needs to catch up. The only issue I see with this is that I DO expect Trump’s election day % to increase naturally from 2016, because many more Ds voted early who might otherwise vote on election day. We shall see in a few hours…

1:05pm– These next 2-3 hours are the big lull. We’ve been grasping at random crumbs to get any indication at all of how things are looking. Around 5pm some exit polls will come out with random data. We’ll analyze it, but the info often doesn’t tell us as much as we think and it can be quite misleading. Finally, from 6-10pm we will get entree after entree dumped on the table and it will be impossible to keep up. It’s like we’re starving all day and then we get a month’s worth of food thrown at us all at once. It would be a lot more enjoyable if we could get real information trickled out throughout the day. But alas, that’s not how this works.

If you’re thinking about sneaking in a quick nap, now is the time to do it. I’ll be taking a quick break myself to change clothes and prepare for the victory party. Should I put on the tux or not? Hmmm.

12:50pm– Seconded:

12:47pm– Another late OH poll. Honestly, I remain skeptical of Biden winning OH. But, the numbers have show this to be far closer than I’ve let myself believe. 538 still has it at 45% chance of a Biden win.

12:21pm– More tea leaves from FL. Biden probably likes these numbers

12:15pm– WINCHESTER — A long digression in local races for those living here in the tip top of Virginia. I’m keeping an eye on the mayor’s race and 4 city council races. [Skip if you aren’t following Winchester races]

How will the local elections go? We have no polling, so the tea leaves are always harder to read. Plus, local races can vary wildly depending on unique factors. 

What data do we have? Our best guesses would typically come down to the general partisan makeup of the city. In 2016, Winchester residents voted for Hillary Clinton by 3.5% (48.4%-44.9%). One year later, the Democratic lead jumped further, with Democrat Ralph Northam winning in the city by 9% (53.7%-44.7%). Then last year, Democrat Jennifer Wexton won her Congressional race in Winchester by about 8% (54%-46%).

That suggests that in generic races, Winchester city is probably now about  6-9% Lean Democratic. And I’d argue that the trend has only continued each year. Plus, Ds might be more likely to come out during a presidential year. As a default, Winchester city for this election as a is likely  9-10% D. But that doesn’t account for uniqueness in each race.

Mayor: Smith v. Bostick (NOTE: I’m a strong Smith supporter). This is a weird one. David Smith is a moderate leader who is soft spoken and doesn’t try to generate major headlines. His opponent is the exact opposite. In fact, she may not even be a Republican, there’s a suggestion that she’s opportunistically with the party in order to best position herself to win. It’s her right to do that. I think Smith will win with a decent margin, based on the general D support, some Rs backing him, and because Bostick has positioned herself as a polarizing figure. Of course, anything could happen, and I remain nervous mostly because of my extreme aversion to Bostick’s candidacy.

1st ward (my own) – Bell v. Leach (NOTE: I’m a strong Bell supporter). This is a mixed ward. Trump won it in 2016 by a hair.  Northam won the ward by nearly 8 points in 2017. But then one year later Republican Wiley won the council seat by 8 points. It’s the closest we have to a swing ward. 

Les Veach is a well known incumbent, but unlike Wiley, he doesn’t seem to have cultivated as much of a bipartisan identity (ignoring the changing identity Wiley has taken since his win and soon to be seat in statehouse). Veach has not had a competitive race since 2008, his first election, when he only won by 2 total votes. Richard Bell has run as good a campaign as I think possible in this environment and in this district. He’s a very good fit for this area, because, like Mayor Smith, he is a more reasonable moderate. I’d guess that general consensus is that Veach will be re-elected. But I’d honestly say this is a complete toss up. In fact I’ll go out on a limb here and say I think Bell is a slight favorite. That could be my own bias creeping in.

2nd ward – Hill v. Mondell (NOTE: I’m a strong Hill supporter). Ward 2 is the most liberal in the city. It voted for Hillary by 20% in 2016 and Jennifer Wexton by 26% in 2018. I’m hoping the general partisan lean will ensure John Hill is re-elected. I think Hill will win

3rd ward – Sullivan v. Hall. Ward 3 typically goes solidly Democrat. Two years ago, Kim Herbstritt easily beat an incumbent to take a seat, and I think Hall has a shot at doing the same here. Sullivan is likely less polarizing than Herbstritt’s opponent. But these are voters who voted for Hllary Clinton in 2016 and Jennifer Wexton by 11% in 2018. Mayor David Smith (D) won here by nearly 19% in 2016. Sullivan hasn’t faced a competitive race here, and so I don’t know much about his personal connection to the district. I can’t accurately gauge Hall’s odds, because I don’t have first hand knowledge how he’s connected with voters. But I do think this is a district that a Democrat should be able to win. 

4th Ward – Willingham v. Millstead. This is the easiest to call. Ward 4 is the most conservative in the city (though not rabidly so by national standards). Willingham is an incumbent with solid name recognition. His opponent is new to politics. This is a district that voted for Trump by 8% and was the only one where Barbara Comstock outperformed Wexton in 2018. A Democrat did win the other seat here 2 years ago, but I don’t think those circumstances will replicate. I think Willingham will win comfortably

I reserve the right to get all of these wrong, because local elections are notoriously impossible to gauge with much accuracy. Please don’t blame me if things go south. 

12:00pm — In July 2016 I had my first (and only) viral blog post. I argued that it was a big mistake to vote for a 3rd party candidate, because it might lead to a President Trump. I wrote:

  1. The latest polls have the race as a dead heat, with anywhere from 10-20 percent of voters undecided or thinking about a third party vote.
  2. A swing of even 1-2 percent of third party voters to Trump or Clinton may decide the election.
  3. Clinton’s share of the vote almost always drops in polls where third parties are included―third party candidates are hurting her more than Trump

The most important outcome in this presidential election is that Donald Trump not become the Most Powerful Person on the Planet. I am not a fatalist. I will not move to Canada if Trump wins. But if this Republican National Convention has taught me anything, it is that I’d forever regret not doing everything in my power to prevent the party of Abraham Lincoln from being smothered into oblivion by a Donald Trump presidency.

I think the post holds up well. The 3rd party vote made up more than the difference in several states, and a plausible (but not definitive) argument can be made that it cost Clinton the presidency. 

Could the same thing happen this year? The data show that it’s far less likely, and that’s one key reason why Biden is in a better position than Clinton was last time.

11:53am– Final Tally of Early Votes in 2020 Presidential Election: 100,298,838.

In 2016 the final was 47,015,596.

11:41am– Quick non-election personal digression. If you want to improve your life, surround yourself with thoughtful people. I’ve been so lucky in that regard. Kaylee G, my high school prom date, just had lunch delivered to my doorstep in Winchester, VA from Chicagoland Illinois. The power of technology and the amazingness of friendship.

11:23am– All signs point to a much better GA voting system than its screwed up primary earlier this year:

11:07am– True:

11:03am– Three polls were released today in Michigan. They had it Biden +8, Biden +7, and Biden +7. Is this how it will go? Maybe. Trump can still win, but to do so he’d need the polls to be more wrong than they were in 2016.

11am– From this house to the White House with the grace of God. Joe Biden 11.3.2020

10:56am– Broward County is one of the most important parts of FL for Democrats. They need as large a turnout as possible Right now…

Broward Dems at 73.2% turnout right now. They got 74.7% total in 2016.

10:53am– Every year Gallup releases voter enthusiasm polls. This year, Democrats seem to have a +9 enthusiasm edge. If that’s true, it’s reason to be optimistic about there being a potentially record turnout. Here’s the comparison over the last few elections:

10:45am– Pennsylvania is likely the “tipping point” state in a close election. But because it will be slow to count, for our purposes I don’t think it’s going to be the race that we watch most closely at first. FL, NC, and margins in all the other states will be more telling. FL in particular is going to be razor tight, I think–but they count relatively fast, so we should know. A minor update in FL:

10:25am– Here’s a quick summary of how the night might go if it happens to be a good night for Biden (@notlarrysabato’s model helped me write this). I’d say print it out, but it’s probably wrong and so will just be depressing when things aren’t mathcing up:

*6:30EST – Polls have closed in IN and KY — if they aren’t called immediately that means Biden is slightly overperforming 2016. He won’t win these states, but remember, all that matters is the margin compared to 2016.

*7EST – More polls close. Little vote in, states like VA will show Trump winning early but it won’t last. VT will be called immediately for Biden.

*7:30EST – WV is immediately called for Trump; KY will be called for Trump shortly. Lots of early vote in many states that are unreliable.

*8pmEST – OK and AL immediately called for Trump. IL, MD, DC, DE, NJ, RI and MA for Biden. Biden leads ECV 68-29 so far.

*815EST – Biden will show early lead in FL but it will fade over time.

*845EST – We really dive into vote totals in certain states to see how the winds are blowing. How much is Trump winning by in IN, MO, and KS. He will win them all, but if Biden is over performing 2016, it’s a good sign. Look at Texas closely, hopefully Biden is close or ahead. Florida will continue to tighten.

*915EST – Polls are closed in most of the country. AZ and CO report some votes quickly with a Biden lead. WY, ND and LA immediately called for Trump. IN is probably already called for Trump by now. Biden leads ECV 98-63.

*Continue looking at FL and TX and NC. Has Trump passed Biden in FL yet? Is Biden keeping TX close? Does it look like Biden will win NC by now?

*930EST – Enough votes in the Midwest states of PA, MI, WI should be in to get a feel for whether Trump is keeping pace with his 2016 totals or not. The raw votes in these states may not be helpful, but we should have a feel for how the winds are blowing. Is Biden beating Clinton’s numbers. If so, at this point it will look like he’s in very solid shape. If Biden still has a lead in Texas at this point, it is OK to start getting excited.

*10EST – More raw votes coming in. By this point Biden should have finally taken the lead in VA. How close is FL — it might be flipping back and forth between them at this point. Trump will still be leading GA, but it should start to tighten.

*1030EST – States like CO and NM should be called for Biden. Keep watching TX , FL, and NC. If NC is called early for either candidate, that’s a big benefit to them.

*11EST – West coast polls close. CA, OR and WA immediately called for Biden. Has NC been called? Florida probably has 90% and who is ahead?

*11:45EST – Networks may start calling a lot more things, though we might already know how the winds are blowing at this point . FL might be called. Biden may be ahead in GA. Rust belt is still counting slowly but if Biden does win FL it will seem over.

*1230EST – By this point, we will know. NC will likely be called. The Midwest states of PA, WI, and MI might still be slow, but we’ll have an idea. Networks may have enough to make official call.

*We then stay up just to keep watching all of the Senate and House races. We also keep an eye on the margins in TX and OH where Biden might win, but is unlikely to be called until the next day.

This is 100% hypothetical but plausible. Alternatively, Biden could underperform everywhere, and we all watch in horror as Trump wins the close states and we wait until Wednesday desperately hoping Biden can cling to victory in the 3 Midwest states or watch the AZ results to see if Biden can pull off win even while losing one of the Midwest states.

10:03am– This is a very weird year for speculation about election day voting. Usually, Democrats are always hoping for huge surges at the polls, because they do better when more people vote. But, because there was so much early voting this year (dominated by Ds), the election day results will skew much more than usual to Republicans. And so reports of huge surges at the polls is actually something that Trump needs to happen to catch up to Biden’s early vote lead in most places.

But’s it’s a hair more complicated than that, because the Ds still do need to make up some ground with election day voting in certain places. For example, in Miami-Dade, Florida, the Rs currently lead (based on registration) by +7 (it was only R+3 in 2016). The means Democrats are hoping that make up that difference with election day votes.

In summary, when you hear talk about long lines or surges today, it doesn’t really say anything about who benefits. Everything with turnout is hyper local.

9:53am– Reminder 3 of 50: The most important thing to look at as results come in are not the raw total but the comparison between now and 2016. As I try to race through it all, I rely on the real experts in each state who pour over spreadsheets like this one from Florida looking at county by county totals.

Remember, these are not necessarily votes for Trump or Biden, just partisan ID of the voters. Though you always want more partisans to vote in your area, the earliest data from these early FL voters is that about 9% of Republicans here have voted for Biden to 3% of Democrats voting for Trump.

If you add that up, it means Biden is almost certainly ahead in Florida right now. It just all depends (and always has depended) on whether Trump can close the gap with those who vote on Election Day.

9:45am– There are more important elections to possibly wrap one’s head around today. One underappreciated battle involves partisan control of state houses. Who controls your state house is probably more important to your daily life than who control Congress. And just as Ds have some high hopes federally, several states may actually switch control from R to D this year depending on tight local races. With redistricting coming up, these are critical contests that will have ramifications for the next decade, because state officials decide the districts.

CNalysis has the best overall state house coverage (though each individual state may have places to follow. Obviously if you are in IL go to the Capitol Fax for the best, insider coverage). Here’s CNalysis’s general state of the nation:

We have Democrats favored to flip 6 state legislative chambers: the Minnesota Senate, the Arizona House, the Arizona Senate, the Iowa House, the Michigan House, and the Texas House, in that order of likelihood. Republicans, meanwhile, are favored to flip the Alaska House.

Nationwide, Democrats are favored to have a net gain of 123 single-member state legislative districts in our forecast: a net gain of 77 seats in the lower chambers and 46 seats in the upper chambers.

9:34am– Images like this always get me. Those who live in medium to small towns usually have a very simple voting experience their entire lives: go to the local fire station or school, wait 5-10 minutes, vote, and gone.

But, if you’ve never lived in an urban area or jammed suburban community, you may not realize that many fellow voters have a far more difficult time. All of the talk about voter suppression and unnecessary roadblocks to voting are lost on some Americans because they don’t quite appreciate that other citizens have very different experiences than they do.

9:27am– Hopefully you have a comfortable set up for your election day minute-by-minute panicking. Over the years I’ve streamlined my process so that I only need two monitors (though I split the screen on the big one so it mostly acts as three separate spaces). The TV is usually on mute. I only listen to TV sound if things are going well, and I want to hear the cheers declaring a candidate victorious.

I find it useful to have a clean desk and tidy room to hide the fact that mentally I’m usually a complete mess. Whatever the case, get cozy, because we’ll be here for hours.

9:08am– You’ll see a lot things like this today, talking about gaps between Rs and Ds in certain states. Know that this just refers to registration status of voters (in the states that have the data). It doesn’t refer to the actual votes for Biden or Trump in those states. Critically, Biden is hoping to swing 5-10% of voters who are registered Republican into his camp. That might not seem like enough, but it’s huge on the margins and will decide close races. Conversely, all polling points to Trump swinging far fewer registered Ds into his camp (2-4%).

In other words, be careful with reading these claims. They aren’t completely useless. Of course each party wants more of their own registered voters to vote. But, the registration numbers tend to even out in the end, and so they don’t tell us too much about how these people actually voted.

8:57am– The candidate schedules for election day often indicate what each campaign thinks is the most important states that will decide the election. Here are the two plans.

  1. President Trump is set to hold five rallies in four states – North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
  2. Joe Biden went to a church service, then visited his son Beau’s grave. He will then spend most of the day in Pennsylvania with a stop in Ohio, while former President Obama stumps for him in Georgia and Florida.

8:52am– Speaking of South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, here’s a refresher on all of his thoughts on Trump before he was nominated. Then, Trump won, Graham’s mentor (and Trump critic) John McCain died, and Graham decided that he’d become one of Trump’s most vocal allies in an effort to destroy his reputation completely.

8:40am– A quick rundown of my current thoughts on the Senate. Remember, Ds need to flip 4 to take the Senate (if Biden wins, if he loses they’d need 5).

1 &2) Colorado & Arizona – these are the strongest flip states. It’d take some really odd polling or bizarre scenario for the R to pull it out. [538 gives Ds 84% chance to win CO and 78% in AZ]

3) North Carolina – Cal Cunningham (D) has led most of the race, and even with his affair scandal over the last month, the polling seems stable. I think he pulls it out, though perhaps a hair closer than some suspect. [538 gives Ds 68% chance]

4) Maine – Sarah Gideon (D) has been ahead most of the race as well. Collins will also be hurt by the fact that Maine has ranked choice voting. That means those candidates who cast 3rd party can then pick Gideon as their #2 and she’ll ultimately get those votes. The Green Party candidate has explicitly asked her supporters to do that. Collins could win on the first ballot but then ultimately lose. (It sounds more complicated than it is, but just know that this system helps Gideon in this race). I think Gideon pulls it out. [538 gives Ds 59% chance]

After those core 4, things get far murkier…

  1. Iowa – Democrat Greenfield seemed to be ahead most of the race, but the latest polling over the last week wasn’t great (including from Selzer which is considered the best IA pollster). R-Ernst is probably now a slight favorite. I don’t think it’s over, but my gut says it’ll take some luck. [538 gives Ds 42% chance]
  2. Montana – Of the remaining options, I’m most optimistic about this one. Montana is red, but they buck trends consistently, and D-Bullock is a popular figure (the current governor). He can’t be considered a favorite, but for me, if Ds get a 5th win I’d guess it’s this one. [538 gives Ds 31% chance]
  3. Georgia- There are two Georgia races. In Georgia if a candidate doesn’t get 50% of the vote, then there is a runoff in Jan. One of the races (the special election with Warnock) will almost certainly go to a runoff. The other, Ossoff v. Perdue is also a likely runoff, however, there is an outside chance one candidate cracks the threshold. I’m slightly more pessimistic about Ossoff’s chances of cracking it, but some polling has been positive, and GA may be closing slightly in the Ds favor. [538 gives Ossoff 43% chance of winning, though not getting 50%]
  4. South Carolina – I think many of us desperately want Lindsey Graham to lose his seat. He has shown himself over the Trump presidency to be a man of virtually zero principles, throwing away everything he previously said and believed in a bid to slavishly attach himself to the President. The fact that this is even a race, in a place like SC, is impressive. It’s not impossible for Harrison to beat him, but polls have shown Graham holding with a slight lead. [538 gives Ds 23% chance]
  5. Alaska – Like Montana, AK is a cavalier state that doesn’t always follow the mold. Dr. Al Gross is an underdog in AK, but I’m keeping a closer eye on this one as a sleeper surprise for Ds. [538 gives Ds 23% chance]
  6. Kansas- For a moment, it seemed like Bollinger-D had real momentum, though recent polling has soured on that. Ds were hoping that Rs could nominated Kobach (a far more divisive figure in the state). I don’t think this is the year that it flips but in a true blue wave, it might. [538 gives Ds 20% chance]
  7. Texas- Will MJ Hegar flip Texas? I highly doubt this is the year, but if there is some massive D overperformance it’s not impossible [538 gives Ds 14% chance]
  8. Kentucky- Amy McGrath received a king’s ransom in funds and Democrats despise Mitch McConnell. But McGrath won’t win. Sorry about that. I’d love to be wrong. [538 gives Ds 4% chance]

7:50am– Will this election break any turnout records? 2008 was recent high water mark at 58%. We haven’t cracked 60% since 1968 — a year of huge turmoil that some have compared to 2020. Will this be the year that we do it? If not, then I can’t imagine a year where we ever do without major election reform that makes its far easier to vote and truly encourages mass voter participation.

We know that over 100 million Americans have already voted. Most models project anywhere from 145 million to 165 million will ultimately vote. If that range is true, that would be anywhere from 60% to 72% turnout and the higher end would represent the biggest turnout of the modern era.

Also, here are turnout figures so far in each state in comparison to 2016 based on early voting alone…

7:38am– Another reminder from Jennifer Lewis (slightly nsfw):

7:35am– I think this is right. RealClearPolitics refers to the RCP charts of all swing states that I shared last night. In the past, RCP was somewhat useful to gauge trends and see the very raw averages. But without any filtering, and with so many more dubious pollsters who methodologies that make little to no sense, I don’t think it’s a useful barometer. Though, we will find out for sure tonight if we can discount all RCP details in the future…

7:30am– Here is @bpolitics model numbers for how he thinks the early vote in Florida looks (these are not real totals, just speculation based on available data). If true, this would be a larger lead for Biden going into Election Day than Clinton had in 2016. The big question here (and in every state) isL Will Trump win Election Day voters by enough to make up his current deficits in early voters?

7:20am– Most people reading this have probably already voted or will soon. But, we all know others who aren’t politically active. Like avoiding the dentist, there is a chunk of folks who try to avoid all things politics (including voting) as much as possible. If you have an opportunity to gently nudge someone in that camp, remember that in 22 states, people can still register today and then cast their ballot:

7:15am– Important:

7:05am– This is possible. None of this will be official until much later, but the tea leaves may be there. In other words, unless it’s razor tight, the fact that there is a surge in early voting does not mean that we will automatically go to bed without knowing. Odds are, we will know the likely next President. Certain Senate, House, and local races, however, could take awhile depending on how close they are.

6:40am– Throughout the night the first data that matters are comparisons to 2016. The raw vote totals are meaningless for quite awhile. BUT, the comparisons in specific geo areas and precincts to 2016 can be telling. Basically, we will always want to know: Is Trump doing better or worse than he did last time in this specific spot?

So let’s that these two tiny hamlets. In 2016, after these two voted, Trump was up over Clinton by 36%. This time, in 2020, he is up over Biden by 22% – that’s a shift of 16% in Biden’s favor.

It’s important not to overthink it. This is a tiny sample that is meaningless. But it’s the kind of analysis that will matter tonight — and if you are desperate for any kernel of good news for Biden, just pretend this means he will do 16% better than Clinton everywhere. 😉 Life is short, election day is stressful, feel free to take the optimism wherever you can find it.

6:15am– The first votes are here. In Dixville Notch, NH, Joe Biden won all 5 votes, taking a 5-0 lead in the election. However, that didn’t last long, as a few minutes laters, in the town of MIllsfield, NH, Donald Trump won 16-5. That means that tally at the moment is 16-10 for Trump.

In 2016, Clinton won Dixville Notch 4-2-1-1 over Trump and Gary Johnson and a write in for Mitt Romney. Last time in Millsfield, the tally was similar to this year with Trump winning 16-4-1 over Clinton and a write-in for Bernie Sanders. That means that Biden is already running a bit of ahead of Hillary’s margins.

Will it hold? We just need to wait about 18-24 hours to find out!

6am– Rise and shine. Vote. Remind others to vote. Take a deep breath of November air. Remind yourself that, whatever happens, you’re lucky to be an American living at this time in the universe. For the vast majority of human history, it was incomprehensible that people would gather, freely make a personal choice for leadership, and then wait to see who received the most support. It’s mundane to us now, but I’m always grateful on election days (even ones that don’t go my way…well, the gratitude is still there, just hidden under other emotions).


9:10pm– I promised myself that I would wrap up around 9pm EST — because who knows how late we will be up tomorrow.

I’m off to try and catch at least a few hours sleep before getting up early for the day many of us have waited a rather long time to see. I urge you all to go to bed earlier rather than later, because most of the “developments” that happen right now are noise. Tomorrow is when we finally get the good stuff. Sweet dreams. Only one more sleep…

9:05pm– In 2016 about 47 million Americans voted before election day. In 2020, it will finish with about 100 million Americans voting before election day. We don’t truly know how much of that is because of the virus or because enthusiasm is so high. We’ll need to wait until we get the final count, though we might get hints throughout the day tomorrow.

8:58pm– The Ds were able to spend about $250 million more than the Rs in the states that matter over the course of the campaign. Believe it or not, as things were just gearing up for 2020 race, it was assumed that Rs would have a clear cash advantage. But the Democrats fundraising boomed over the last year.

8:50pm– Several states have passed or nearly passed their total 2016 vote already, before election day. Florida won’t reach it but is damn close…


9.07M TOTAL (39.1-37.9% Dem/Rep)

4.73M Mail (45-31% Dem/Rep) 4.33M In Person (45-32% Rep/Dem)

This means 96.9% of the 2016 vote is in for FL

8:42pm– Two little communities in New Hampshire (Dixville Notch and Millsfield) historically cast their votes at midnight and then immediately report the results to become the first places in the country to announce where they stand. That means the first votes on Election Day 2020 will be reported out in less than 3 hours and 40 minutes.

8:30pm– Late night Data for Progress poll (decent track record) has good numbers for Ds.

Reminder: Georgia law requires a Senate candidate get at least 50% of the vote. If they don’t, then there is a runoff election in January between the top 2 candidates. Having Ossoff up at 51% is a huge deal. He desperately wants to avoids a runoff, where his odds may be lower. (There’s also a second GA race on the ballot tomorrow.)

8:22pm– A few last minute Senate polls have been decent for Rs in the “stretch” states of South Carolina and Kansas (KS poll had R up 6; SC poll had R up 4). In any normal year, hell just a few months ago, these seats wouldn’t even have been on the radar. Ultimately, I think it’s likely that Marshall in Kansas and Graham (ugh!) in South Carolina hold onto their seats. Graham is at a slightly higher risk, but it’ll take a real D groundswell for either of those seats to flip.

7:14pm– Poll update. If you look close, you’ll notice that most of the polls that show a “tightening” in certain states (movement to Trump) are those I listed a highly partisan Rs. This is referred to as “flooding the zone” in the last day of the election…with very low quality polling drowning out sites like RCP that do not filter them out (they just average everything). Polls in AZ and IA may show slight movement toward Trump, but I think all the others show a stable race.

6:45pm– We’ve reached the moment when basically all polls are done (a few will come out tomorrow but they don’t matter). At this point, swing state polls are all that matter.

For the sake of not painting too optimistic a picture, here are RCPs final polls in most swing states. DO NOT panic at a few of these. Some R pollsters are notoriously partisan with quite unorthodox methods, (Trafalger, Rasmussen, McLaughlin, InsiderAdvantage) and I personally don’t their results at all. RCP has a slight R bias because they do not filter out the most egregious pollsters. This may seem sobering, but take one last look. Then, take a break, like me, and eat dinner.

6:20pm– No matter what happens tomorrow, one positive is that all of the campaign texts and emails will finally end. My phone has been beeping every 30 seconds today, Sweet Jesus…

6:15pm– For the true election junkies, I recommend browsing @taniel’s guide to all the campaigns he’s following across the country: HERE.

There are some state referendum that I’ll be keeping an eye on, including:

  1. Oregon will vote to decriminalize almost all low level drugs (including cocaine, heroin, and meth) and instead fund addiction treatment.
  2. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, & South Dakota are all voting whether to legalize marijuana.
  3. Oregon & DC both vote on legalizing(ish) psilocybin (magic mushrooms). The new research into psychedelics has been a curiosity of mine for awhile and I hope more states start looking into this.
  4. CA initiative related to gig workers (uber, etc.) may have huge implications on how those businesses operate across the country.
  5. IL is trying to allow progressive state income taxation (like most states already have) instead of the flat tax.

6pm– Don’t sleep on your own local races. The reality is that all of our lives are impacted much more by races closest to home. These are the people who decide what construction projects get built in town, where the roads go, how schools are run, what your property tax rates are, how your library looks, and what businesses to lure to town.

Here in Winchester, Virginia we have a hotly contested mayoral and city council races that I’ll be following (more on that later). But hopefully everyone took a hard look at their own regional contests. Your individual vote is proportionally waay more important in those races anyway. They also tend to be less partisan — there may be some Republican candidate you like, Democrat ones you hate, or vice versa.

5:55pm– I’ll spend less time on the House tonight and tomorrow, because it is less up in the air. Right now, FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 97% chance of retaining control and suggests that Ds will expand their House lead by about 6 seats (though other models are more bullish and project a bigger D gain).

Almost no one expects the House to flip, though there are many interesting races with unique stories that I’ll be following. One more Virginia seat (VA 5, Charlottsville and the middle of the state) may flip to the Ds, and I’ll be watching some Illinois races as well — including the district that represents the University of Illinois which may finally flip after flirting last cycle.

5:45pm– For perspective, right now FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats at 74% chance of gaining control of the Senate. Still less likely than the Presidency, but they’re favorites. That mostly because even if the Ds miss one of those core 4, then they could still sneak in one of the others. Each state has unique politics, and so it’s not guaranteed that a wave one way or another will take out all Rs or vice versa. For example, just in 2018-which was a huge D wave year–the Republicans won a Senate seat in Florida that they were not expected to win.

5:42pm– Time to switch gears. The Presidential race has seemed relatively stable for the last few months. But what about the Senate? Even if Biden wins, without the Senate, his ability to do much of anything policy-wise is going to be near impossible. Because each Senate race has its own unique factors, there is always more uncertainty in those races.

Here’s the basic situation: The Ds technically need to pick up 3 seats to make it 50-50. Then, if Biden wins they’ll always have the tiebreaking vote (the VP).

The Ds have always had FOUR seats where they have decent chance at flips: Colorado, Arizona, Maine, & North Carolina. I’d say CO and AZ are very likely pickups. The other two lean D but are not locks.

BUT, the Rs are almost assuredly going to flip a D seat in Alabama (Doug Jones only won it in a miracle election with one of the worst R opponents ever).

That means that Ds need to get all 4 of those core seats to get to 50-50.

BUT, there are a several other seats that Ds also might flip (all in traditionally red areas) that are possibilities. Specifically: Iowa, Montana, South Carolina, Kansas, Alaska, and Georgia (two seats, special election, likely runoffs in January).

There are a few other seats that are longshots and something weird may happen. But overall the number to remember is FOUR. The Ds need to flip FOUR seats.

5:30pm– Interesting little chart from Payscale on voter preferences based on profession…

Strongest for Trump: Construction

Strongest for Biden: Legal, Social Services

5:20pm– The rule of thumb is always to be highly skeptical of any claims that a candidate will win a state based on some analysis of early voting. Year after year, those attempts have simply not born out. They just mirror the polls. In other words, if you want to know who’s likely to win a state, look at the polls of that state (not someone’s guesses based on early voting).

BUT, there is one major exception to that, the state of Nevada. Because of some quirks in how Nevada is dispersed (enormous majority of voters in the area in and around Las Vegas in Clark County) and how they run election, the guru of Nevada politics (Jon Ralston) has a perfect track record of predicting who will win the state based on early vote numbers.

In short, Trump will have an X vote lead in all the rural counties and Biden will have an X vote lead in Clark County. Whosever lead is bigger, wins. Ralston posted his predictions this morning and said that based on his analysis, Joe Biden will win the state of Nevada.

Nevada was probably the only state that Clinton won in 2016 that Trump’s team thought it might have a chance to swing. Ralston might be wrong, but it’s at least a good early sign.

4:55pm– I’ll soon start speculating on the potential impact of early voting and demographics. Just as a general disclaimer — this is really deep speculation and not too much stock should be placed on it. The data we have now is on early voting. Some states publish partisan breakdowns of those early voters, some don’t. Some states have robust demographic data on those voters, others don’t. These are very very very early tea leaves, and they are better than nothing, but please note that this is not at all definitive.

For example, as of an hour ago, nearly 240,000 African American seniors have voted in Georgia. This is one of Biden’s strongest demographics. This is already 124% of the total turnout of that group in 2016– and it’s not even Election Day! This is tremendous news for Biden in a state that he has a very real chance of turning blue for the first time in a long time.

But does this mean Biden will win? No. Because we don’t yet know if some of Trump’s best demographic groups will also show the same surge in turnout. The big thing to focus on is comparisons, not just some good news for one side.

4:45pm– It has come to my attention that I’m painting quite the rosy picture (at least for those hoping for a Biden win). The truth is, looking just at the data we have, it’s hard not to be optimistic. Pretending that it’s a toss up would be disingenuous– and I try to be honest as much as possible.

BUT, that is not at all to say that Biden will win, Democrats will take control of the Senate (there’ll be much to talk about that later), that Ds will gain House seats, or that your favorite local race will go your way.

Regarding the Presidential race, here’s some things to keep everything in perspective:

  1. Trump still has at least a 10% chance of winning based on most analysis. The comparison that keeps floating around is that it is equal to the chance that it rains in L.A. Apparently, it averages 36 rainy days a year. Sure, it’s more likely that it won’t rain but far from impossible. If something very important relies on it not raining, you won’t be 100% confident until the day arrives. That’s still how we should feel.
  2. The swing state polls are closer than national polls. Biden’s national polling has him up 8-11% most of the season. But the race is closer in most swing state polls. Sometimes those errors correlate, and so if there is a big polling miss in Midwest states (like in 2016), the closeness of those errors may have a domino effect (meaning Trump cn sneak by in PA, MI, WI like he did in 2016).
  3. Trump will need a polling error bigger than 2016. However, 2020 has already been a very bizarre, unprecedented year. There has been an enormous surge in early/absentee voting and no one knows how much is because of the virus vs. voter enthusiasm. And there’s no definitive understanding of how this change from previous years has impacted pollsters. Presidential elections don’t happen very often, and each cycle something brand new can pop up that no one saw coming — maybe that happens this year.
  4. Trump has huge rallies and boat parades. (Just kidding. These are useless indicators and anyone who tells you otherwise has no idea what they are talking about).

4:25pm– This is 3 days old now, but even with latest polls it’s mostly unchanged:

4:17pm– If you want to act a true election supernerd, you can join me in listening to this Spotify album: Election Songs of the United States from 1800 to 1948. Such gems, though I’m always partial to the diddy from Lincoln’s re-election in 1964, “Rally Round the Cause, Boys,” when we literally had an election in the middle of the Civil War:

4:05pm– The big “electability” question in the Democratic primary was often framed around whether to beat Trump, Ds needed to rally the base and spur turnout (and nominate someone like Bernie) OR focus on persuasion of voters in the middle. My own thoughts were that persuasion was the best path in this particular election (and so I supported Biden). I respect those who disagreed. I’m biased, but I do think the persuasion argument has proven accurate as we head into election day. For example…

3:56pm– One more optimistic data point going into tomorrow. Hillary’s big issue was the size of uncertain voters going into Election Day. This year is different: In 2016, 10% of voters said they were undecided or voting 3rd party going into Election Day. Trump won most of that 10% and it was the difference in the election. In 2020, that number is just 5% on the RCP average (and unlike 2016, Biden has been getting a larger percentage of those undecided voters).

3:46pm– For me perhaps the most striking difference between 2016 and 2020 is candidate favorability numbers. It’s the main reason why some believe Biden will win while Hillary didn’t.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton had a -12.6% favorable rating on Election Day. That’s almost exactly what Trump was at in 2016. In other words, voters disliked both strongly. A majority of those who disliked both went with Trump (basically saying, they both suck so lets try this guy).

That’s not the case this year. Trump hasn’t moved much with a -13.2% favorability, while Biden is +6.4% (A 19% higher favorability rating than Clinton). Trump has been trying to bring Biden’s favorables down all year, but it’s simply hasn’t worked.

3:35pm– One more graph to help ease those whose guts are telling them that this is just like 2016. In hindsight, the signs were there that Trump was closing very fast on Hillary. But most (myself included) simply struggled to believe that Trump could actually win. The red flags first showed up in 2016 in district by district Congressional numbers. Republicans surged near the end of the race as independents and undecideds went hard for Rs. The 2020 numbers are simply different…

3:28pm– Here’s another smart graphic on the difference between state counts. It seems complicated, but it’s helpful to see the difference between when states start opening and counting early/absentee ballots. Everything about “when will we know” hinges on these details. For example, states like AZ and NV have already been tabulating for 2 weeks. For the record, Ds attempted to pass legislation in WI this year to allow an earlier start to tabulation, but it was rejected by Rs.

3:22pm– I’ll be harping on this all tomorrow, but this graphic is nice and succinct. The swing states that process absentee/mail immediately will have full results earliest. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will be the very last to get all things in (and Biden’s vote will initially seem small in those states).

3:16pm– Will be interesting to see if this proves true tomorrow. Will D precincts that often have long lines be mercifully less crowded?

3:08pm– Of course, the overriding fear among Biden supporters is that 2020 will be 2016 redux — a polling lead that collapses. Could polls be off again? Yes. But, even at the most basic glance, the 2016 race was more chaotic than 2020. Here are the national polls in 2016 vs. 2020…

3:05pm– Conversely, Trump is scheduled to travel the country a bit more with events in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The comparison with Biden is striking, because Trump needs to turn back the apparent polling tide in many places (if polling is correct), while Biden is mostly hoping to shore up the likely tipping point state of PA.

3:05pm– Do you want to know where the Biden camp sees as the focal point of the race? Look at where they are spending all of their last campaigns seconds — Pennsylvania. Both Biden and Harris have multiple rallies scheduled in a barnstorm throughout the state today. As they (and most) see it…they win PA, they win the election.

3:00pm– Election Day weather forecast: It looks to be mostly dry throughout the country. Few will use weather as an excuse to skip voting. The old story is that rain is good for Rs and bad for Ds. That’s because R voters historically are more reliable, and Ds count on a higher turnout with votes from the infrequent voter. However, that’s all out the window this year. The Rs are relying much more on election day turnout than Ds (because of the huge surge in absentee and early voting that favors Ds). Democrats have already banked big leads in many states. The question now is will R turnout on election day (which will favor Trump and down ballot Republicans), be enough to catch up. Anything that dampens election day turnout (like weather) would disproportionately hurt Rs.

3:00pm– Here’s a handy chart that you can refer back to which shows which states are likely to count fastest. Also, it goes state-by-state to show what type of votes are released first (election day v. absentee va. mail). That’s critical for interpreting results. If election day results are reported first, then they will certainly have a Trump advantage. If absentee and mail ins are counted first, then Biden will appear ahead. As always, don’t panic or be overly optimistic at the first results.

2:50pm– When will we know the result of the presidential race? It depends, of course. There are three levels of “knowing” the results:

  1. Official Official Results– The tally, certified by states, will certainly not come tomorrow, and it never comes on Election Day. All ballots must be counted, and that includes late arriving mail in ballots, provisionals, and the like. It takes days and weeks for that.
  2. Official Results/Projections for the Networks– This is what most people think of as the results, because it’s when the TV election hosts flash a big, “Major Projection” sign across and say that they believe X candidate will be elected the next President. Networks use very specific criteria for “calling” a state for one candidate. Once they have called enough states for one candidate to reach 270 ECV, they project that candidate wins. Because of the large number of votes cases early/absentee AND the fact that swing states like MI, PA, and WI may be slow to count, I think many networks may hold off on official projection until Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean we won’t know the winner until then, because…
  3. Unofficial– This is where the general analysis comes in. We may not have an official projection on election night, but unless it’s razor thin, we will know who will be the next President. Some states will come in early — FL, NC, perhaps TX. Once a few of the swing state tallies are in (combined with comparing Trump’s performance in certain areas in 2020 to 2016), then we will all get a feeling for where the wind is blowing. It’s only if it is very very close that we will have to wait until Wednesday to truly know.

2:40pm– The song of the election from the incomparable The Chicks:

2:30pm– Here is the state of the presidential race based on the most well known modelers and analysts in the country. These are the data gurus who have magic secret formulas based on polls, fundraising, historical election data, and other criteria that they mix together and come up with odds of a candidate winning…

FiveThirtyEight – 89% chance Biden wins

The Economist – 96% chance Biden wins

JHK Forecasts – 90.3% chance Biden wins

Lichtman Keys – Biden win (correctly predicted Trump in 2016)

2:15pm– Let the games begin.

To My Friends Who Support Bernie Sanders, What Am I Missing?

This is not about whether Bernie Sanders has the best vision for America or not. This has nothing to do with policy.

It is about the cold, sad, inconvenient reality of electing a President in 2020.

I’m not trying to persuade anyone of anything. I’m asking in good faith: What am I missing?

Ensuring that SOMEONE defeat Donald Trump in 2020 is far more important than determining exactly who that SOMEONE is. Why?

1) Whoever the President, with the current makeup of Congress, large sweeping policy proposals will be next to impossible. Any major legislation will require harsh compromises.

2) However, the President will unilaterally be able to decide our next Supreme Court justices (and lower court judges). Some of the most consequential decisions that affect the lives of every American will hinge on whether a Democrat or Trump appoints those Justices. Hell, the only reason I’m able to be married today is because Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney and appointed Elena Kagan to the Court.

3) Trump’s reelection would be symbolically devastating. It would cement the notion that objective truth, decency, and self-sacrifice are no longer aspirational values in our politics.

No matter how much you may disagree with the most “moderate” Democrat — that Democrat is far better for the nation than Trump.

In other words: Electability is paramount. AKA: All that matters is the particular nuances of the electoral college in 2020. AKA: Nothing matters except voter preferences in a handful of states.

To win in 2020, Democrats must keep every state Hillary won, and then add to it.


Which states to add?

THREE Midwestern States: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Democrats usually win those, but Trump took each by a hair in 2016. I believe any current D nominee can win those back, including Bernie.

However, while they CAN win them all, it’s far from a certainty. And it’s very possible for the D nominee to win 1 or 2 but not all 3 of them.

Why?  Because they’ll be razor thin and affected by very local issues. In 2016, Trump won WI by .8%, PA by .7% and MI by .2%. Staggeringly close. Current polls suggest of those three, Wisconsin will be the hardest for Ds to flip. That’s mostly because it has fewer urban/suburban voters than MI and PA and more rural areas that have been shifting dramatically to Trump.

So what if Ds lose Wisconsin? Is that game over?

Not necessarily. Because there are a few other states that, with the right candidate might be open to switching to the Ds, specifically Arizona and Florida.

1) Arizona just elected a Democrat to take over John McCain’s seat. That Democrat is perhaps the most moderate member of the Senate. Arizona has a large population of suburban, college degree residents who voted Republican but have shifted to moderate Democrats in recent years.

2) Florida can feel like a R stronghold, but it’s closer than it seems. Trump only won it by 1.2%, and with a candidate without Hillary’s baggage, it’s not out of reach.

The Ds can lose a Midwest state and still win the election if they capture AZ or FL. Based on demographics, recent elections, and current polling, moderate candidates are better positioned to win one of these states.

And there is ONE more wrinkle. Polling suggests a nominee Sanders might risk losing a Hillary state. In particular, Virginia is a state with demographics and polling (like Arizona) that would break hard for a moderate Democrat but is tougher for a candidate like Sanders. As a Virginia voter, I think a Sanders v. Trump general would be FAR closer than necessary. Bernie could win all 3 Midwest states and then still lose the election because of a razor thin loss in VA. Is that what will happen? No. But is it possible? Yes.


Considering the stakes of preventing four more years of Donald Trump. I cannot currently see the value of nominating the most progressive candidate, Bernie Sanders. He no doubt can inspire great passion among certain voters — but not necessarily the voters that will decide the election in 2020.

Many support Bernie Sanders for his consistency over the decades and his long track record of more radical policy proposals than any other nominee. Whether you love that or hate it, that record will have electoral ramifications for the average low information voter in swing states who will only know the harshest stereotypes of either candidate.

I keep returning to the reality that having a nominee who might win even without picking up all 3 Midwest states and doesn’t put Hillary states at risk is clearly the Democrats best bet.

What am I missing?

Election Day Live Blog – 2019

9:30pm: The Democrats will also flip the House of Delegates. Going into the new year the party will now control every lever of government in the state. We will have to wait until later tonight and tomorrow to know how many seats they gain in each. That, on top of a somewhat shocking win (though razor close) in Kentucky’s governor’s race,  it’s a good to great result for Democrats tonight.

For me, I’m grabbing some tea and reading a book before getting a good night’s rest. Thanks for following along.

9:18pm: 6 of 7 precincts reporting in Winchester. Will Garnder will likely beat Tara Helsely by about 6-8%. The YES on school board elections is going to pass by about 30%

9:15pm: About 1/2 of precincts in, and in Frederick Co. my guess is that Sheriff Millholland is reelected comfortably by about 10-15%









9:01pm: The KY Governor’s race is going to finish in a nailbiter. 99% in. The Democrat Beshear is ahead by about 10,000 votes (about .5%)

9:00pm: 4 out of 7 precincts reporting. Gardner lead by about 11% over Helsley. YES vote is up big.

8:53pm: The first Winchester precinct in IN. THe YES vote is way ahead. Gardner wins it by 7% over Helsley.

8:51pm: UPDATE on the “Dear God That Candidate Must Lose” election. John Gray indeed HAS lost. The new Chairwoman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in Democrat Ann Wheeler, who beat the asinine John Gray by nearly 20%. Yay!

8:40pm:  With about 1/3 of the precincts in, Sheriff Millholland is up by about 11%. He’s probably safe for another 4 years.


“In my first week as governor, I’ll sign an executive order that automatically restores voting rights for Kentuckians with felony convictions who have completed their sentences.” -Andy Beshear

8:33pm:  Many many Virginia races left to call, but right now its looking like a 90% plus chance that Democrats also take the House. The race that was a literal tie  last time around (and had to be decided by random draw) was just won by the Democrat 50-48%

8:32pm: Sheriff Millholland is ahead with a few precincts in. At quick glance, those are some of the most conservative precincts. I think he may be in better shape than I guessed at earlier in the morning.

8:28pm: Sheriff Millholland took the first precinct reporting in Fred. Co. with 53% of the vote.

8:22pm: Some have just called the Kentucky race for Democrat Andy Beshear. I’d say it’s not 100% locked down yet, but hard to see how Bevin makes this up.

This is a huge win for the Democratic candidate. However, I’d caution too much extrapolation from this one race. Bevin was historically unpopular, and other down ballot Republicans did well in the state. There will be a lot to draw from this, particularly analyzing what types of voters switched from one candidate to the other. But it’s slightly more complicated than just voters automatically voting against Republican.

8:17pm: 86% in and Beshear leads by 2.7% in Kentucky.

8:13pm: With about 75% of the vote in, Democrat Beshear looks to be ahead by about 1%. This was always possible, but I’ll admit to be surprised if he pulls it off.

8:03pm: Ben Tribbett is already calling it official that the Democrats will take control of the Virginia Senate.










7:57pm: Democrat Gooditis is doing well so far in trying to hold onto her seat that she took from R- Minchew in a rematch. (Though it looks like those results are Loudoun (safe D area), so there’s still time for Minchew to make a comeback).





7:55pm: Virginia results will be slow to come in. Many voters are still standing in line waiting to vote with ballot issues and other problems. (Hang in there!). But KY is looking to be a tight race (don’t worry about totals being shown on CNN, etc. just yet; it’s closer than the 8 point Bevin lead).

There is a growing rural suburban/urban divide. BUT, there are still swing areas and swing voters. It’s important not to forget that as we move into a Presidential election. For example, The Democratic nominee for Governor, Beshear, just won a county in Kentucky that voted for Trump by 45%. Individual candidates and issues can matter. (Beshear is seen as a popular moderate who’s father was a former governor).






7:35pm: The Virginia Department of Elections results page is now down so, Eeeek. Let’s hope they get that back up shortly.

7:22pm: A few outlets have just called Jill Vogl (R) the winner over Ronnie Ross (D) in our area’s GA Senate race. This was expected. Of course, this is not official.

7:22pm: As we wait for first Virginia numbers to come in. I’d say the first hour of poll results for KY governor is pretty good for Democrat Beshear. They don’t show that he’ll win, BUT they don’t show that he’s basically lost already (which you’d typically expect in these races). He WON Bath County, which was the one early prediction of the tipping point county. Soooo, we’ll see…

7:02pm: Bath County, the bellweather in KY is all in. Democrat Beshear wins it with 51% of the vote, winning it by 6%. It’s lo overalloking like it might come down to a nailbiter in this race, some good news for both candidates early on.

7:00pm: Polls closed in Virginia

6:59pm: This is the main liberal part of the state (outside Louisville and Cincinnati suburbs). Conway is the D candidate who lost by 9 points 4 years ago. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see like so many of these races, this cushion not to be enough. There are simply more strong Republican partisans throughout the state.






6:51pm: There’s a chance Beshear eeks it out by running up huge, huge margins in his strongholds that Bevin can’t offset. In the most recent elections, Republicans have been able to fend off surges in liberal bastions by having equal or bigger surges in rural areas.




6:47pm: If Beshear somehow pulls out a win in Kentucky, one of the biggest policy changes may mean that 5% of the entire state could have their voting rights restored. The same is at stake in Virginia, with Democratic controlled opening the door to increased voters. This would come at a critical time for both states with redistricting right around the corner.





6:31pm: This is the bellweather county for Kentucky. Very Very Very early, but decent sign for Democrat Beshear.

6:28pm: First full county result in Kentucky: Harlan, which Bevin takes with 57%. By comparison, he got 62% here in 2015.

6:20pm: As the results are set to come in, I predict: Republicans keep both Kentucky and Mississippi governor’s offices. Democrats flip both Houses in Virginia (+2 seats in Senate and +5 seats in House). There will be a lot of useless punditry chatter about how “impeachment talk” stirred up the R base in the red states and prevented a D landslide. Overall, I think this would be a solid result for Democrats.

It will be a long time until we get overwhelming landslides for either side in this partisan environment.

6:10pm: These are good tiers of what will likely be considered  Bad, OK, Good, and Great results for Democrats tonight:















6:05pm: Virginia turnout will be the highest ever for an Off Off election (No Gov. or Pres. on ballot)





6:00pm: Polls closed in KY

5:55pm: The Governor’s race in Mississippi is getting a good amount of coverage as well. But realistically, it would take a complete landslide for the Democrat Hood to beat out the current Lt. Gov. Reeves in that race.

Even then, Mississippi has a weird law on the books that the Governor must not only win the popular vote but also a majority of Congressional districts in the state. Because of the MS gerrymander its difficult to envision Hood ever doing that. It’s an old rule meant to limit of power of minority candidates packed into fewer districts. If Hood wins the popular vote, that law would absolutely be challenged, and the state would likely have a legal battle to actually decide the next Governor.

5:45pm: Kentucky polls close in 15 minutes. Some precinct data in the Governor’s race is likely to be the first thing that comes out.

4:30pm: All this talk about VA Democrats taking control of the General Assembly, but what would that actually mean? Potentially, a lot. The Democrats already control the executive, and so the small  Republican majority in the GA is what has previously been stopping many bills from becoming law. Some potential changes may include:

  1. Passage of federal equal right amendment
  2. LGBT protections in housing and employment
  3. Marijuana legalization
  4. Expansion of voting rights: automatic registration, disenfranchisement reforms

3:40pm: I forgot to mention something earlier about the Frederick County Sheriff’s race.  While the county’s 30%+ lean suggest that Sibert is in a good position in the Sheriff’s race, many voter’s may not remember which candidate is the Republican.

Under Virginia Code, only federal, statewide, and General Assembly races include a party designation on the ballot. I wouldn’t be surprised if many voters in Frederick County known Millholland‘s name, see his public support, and have no idea that the other candidate is the one running on the Republican ticket. This gives him a fighting chance.

The same could also affect the Gardner vs. Helsely race in Winchester city. But there has been a bit more public connection of Gardner as the D and Helsely as the R when compared to the Sheriff’s race. The no party designation issue gives the biggest boon, I think, to incumbents, because their name is already known. It’s less a factor in races like the Clerk’s when neither side would have as much a natural name advantage.







3:15pm: As the votes comes in later this evening, keep in mind that the raw numbers can be VERY close in local and even General Assembly races. Just a few votes very often decide some contests.

Many forget that control of the current Virginia House of Delegates was decided by a coin toss. One race was literally tied, and it was decided by the drawing of a lot. The Republican won the drawing, giving the party control of the House 51-49. If the random draw went differently, Dems and Republicans would have shared power, 50-50.

That means that every individual resident in that district, had they voted differently, would have shifted power in the entire state. It really can be that close. And the odds increase even more with local races for Clerk, Sheriff, or ballot referendum.

3:05pm: The other “local” race that I’ll be following is the ballot petition to switch from an appointed to elected school board members in Winchester City. This is a very odd duck, because the coalitions on this one are all over the place. The most liberal and most conservative residents that I know of support the change (though for different reasons). Those aligning with the NO campaign are more moderates and the “establishment” of Winchester. Because of that, the NO campaign has been a bit more outwardly public. But, I don’t think it will be enough to stop it.

It’s a complex issue with reasonable arguments on both sides. Most voters won’t have thought through all of the specifics of the proposal, instead going with their gut. And while sitting in a voting booth, looking at a question asking if voters should pick the school board, most will bubble in Yes without deep consideration. It seems reasonable and natural. I think this one passes.

2:48pm: Many eyes on Kentucky’s governor’s race tonight. This is what a red state looks like; FiveThirtyEight has it as R+23. But there is genuinely, honestly, god-help-us a chance that the Democrat Beshear pulls off a win against a highly unpopular incumbent. When the results come in tonight, everyone will be looking at the one county highlighted in yellow..Bath County…its the one that will be closest to the overall state vote. If Beshear seems to be doing well there, it may indicate a good night for him.














2:20pm: The race for Frederick County Sheriff is far harder to pick apart. On the face of it, challenger Allen Sibert should be in a strong position as the Republican candidate in a county that is overwhelmingly conservative. In 2016, Trump won the county by 35%. The following year, Gillespie won the area Governor’s race by 30% even though he lost the state overall by 9%. Last year, Barbara Comstock won by 29% even while losing the district by 10%.

Frederick County tilts Republican by 30% or more.

But Sibert is running against a well known incumbent Independent in Lenny Millholland. If Millholland had a D next to his name, he would have no hope of keeping his seat (or having won it in the first place). There is a large well of support for the current Sheriff, but it’s a hard ask to have that personal affection overcome the raw partisan factors in the County. He first won in 2015-the pre-Trump age- when it was a 3 way race. Millholland took 44.4% of the vote compared to the Republican’s 39.3% and a second independent grabbing 16%.

I do not know Allen Sibert personally, but his campaign seemed to press very hard on the typical Trump-Republican themes. While that turns off some, it was probably a solid strategy in trying to knock off an independent in Frederick County.

This is a clear test of whether some personal, local factors can still overcome the partisan reality of today’s hyper-polarized Trump America. If I had to bet now, I’d say the partisanship wins out here and the R next to Siberts name is enough. But maybe I’m too pessimistic.

2:00pm: How will the local elections go? We have no polling, so the tea leaves are always a bit harder to read. Plus, local races can vary wildly depending on local factors. In Winchester City, the contested race is for Clerk (Gardner-D vs. Helsely-R). Both candidates are well known in the area, none have any “scandal” esque blunders or high-profile errors.

Because of that, our best guesses would typically come down to the general partisan makeup of the city. That would seem to be better news for Gardner. In 2016, Winchester residents voted for Hillary Clinton by 3.5% (48.4%-44.9%). One year later, the Democratic lead jumped further, with Democrat Ralph Northam winning in the city by 9% (53.7%-44.7%). Then last year, Democrat Jennifer Wexton won her Congressional race in Winchester by about 8% (54%-46%).

That suggests that in generic races, Winchester city is probably now about  5-9% Lean Democratic. Tara Helsely will need to overcome that partisan lean to win. I don’t think it’s impossible, and because of her long roots in the city, she may have a shot at gaining the vote of a chunk of voters who might otherwise vote Democrat. Also, flat out campaign work can make a big difference in local races. I’d say that Will Gardner is a slight favorite to win this, but its far from a guarantee.

1:40pm: When live in a time when politics trumps everything. Passions remain ultra-hot, and there is always the feeling that you need to do everything possible to “fight the fight” tilt the scales to your side. This is not just on the #Resist side of the aisle:





1:13pm: This is the first “off off” year election in the Trump era. Off Off just means that there is no Presidential election OR Gubernatorial election. Typically these has the lowest turnout of any race in the 4 year cycle. BUT, as we’ve seen everywhere since 2016, political interest is skyrocketing (on both sides of the aisle). The early vote numbers this year bear it out, as the turnout is going to far and away be the highest ever for an Off Off year.

Typically, this would be good news for Democrats, whose voters tend to be less consistent. Democrats usually overperform when turnout is better. BUT, that doesn’t hold up as much anymore, because conservatives are now also extra-enthusiastic. In the past, more overall voters meant more D voters. Now, more voters means more Ds  as well as more Rs who are fired up for the first time.







1:10pm: There are many reports like this…strong voter turnout in precincts in certain areas that in the past were strong R or strong D. BUT, this often misses the fact that we are going through a realignment now. Some areas becoming much more conservative, others more liberal. Therefore, a large surge in some area that was previously a strong R precinct may in fact be surging because of a realignment in the other direction. For example, these precincts here are historically won by Rs, BUT they have been “trending” the other direction, and so the surge could be bad news for Rs.










12:53pm: This cycle’s “Dear God That Candidate Must Lose” election is chairman of Virginia’s Prince William County Board of Supervisors (2nd largest in Virginia, former conservative bastion now trending more liberal). Keep an eye on this one, so that hopefully our faith in humanity can be boosted a tad if (when?) John Gray loses to Ann Wheeler…

Here’s snippets from the Washington Post’s editorial on the election:









The tweets from Mr. Gray are by turns unedifying, uninformed, false and inane, with some crass sophomoric sexual commentary — he “shrivels” at the thought of “doing the deed” with Hillary Clinton — and smirky racism thrown in for good measure. African Americans, Mr. Gray suggested, might take a knee and stop “rioting” if someone would only play the national anthem. […]

People who are non-Christians are a special target of tweeted contempt for Mr. Gray, an accountant in his late 60s . He labeled Gary Johnson “a moron” when the Republican-turned-Libertarian former New Mexico governor sent his best wishes to Indians on Diwali, a festival celebrated by a billion or so Hindus. Muslim men, he asserted falsely, have “the right to beat” their wives.

Then there’s Mr. Gray’s judicious take on impeaching President Trump, whose advocates — “bong and dildo holders,” he asserts — would be met with “300 million weapons and an estimated 2 billion rounds of ammo.”

12:38pm: Worth sharing every year (this is from 2017). Woman casts her first vote ever:





11:59am: In Winchester-Frederick Co., neither our house or senate seats are expected to flip. Most prediction models have Collins & Vogel keeping the seats handily, but surprises are not impossible. Even with losses, it will be interesting to see if the Ds can break into the low or mid 40s, or get stuck in the usual mid to high 30s.

Most of the seats that the Ds are hoping to flip to take control are in more urban districts in NoVa, Hampton-VB, and Richmond. There are still a good chunk of districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but are still represented by Republicans at the state level. Some of those may flip tonight, and that would be the difference.

11:50am: Stuff like this happens way too much.  Yikes…









11:40am: Turnout numbers in some GOP areas are also now increasing. Throughout the day, discussions about turnout’s potential effect on the election are very rough and often misleading. It’s all just based on precinct numbers–with each precinct roughly labeled either D-strong or R-strong. Watchers literally count the number of voters as they come in and compare that to the numbers who came in at the same time in previous elections. Then guesses are made, for example, that D-strong precincts have more voters compared to the past than R-strong (and vice versa). More than anything it all just allows election watchers to have a see-saw of emotions for hours on end until real data starts coming in.





11:26am: The three states getting the most attention today highlight the changes in the “South.” Virginia has diverged steadily over the last 30 years and may finally tonight flip completely to total Dem control…







11:15am: Optimism is very high among Ds in Virginia now. Here’s one of the more popular predictions. Remember, Ds only need 1 Senate flip and 2 House flips to take control. This predicts +4 and +7:










11:00am: The turnout news continues…





10:43am: First discussions of turnout are out in Virginia, and the early buzz is positive for Democrats. BUT, this seems to be the trend every year. Oddly, Republican voters are more likely to turn out later in the day, so things can change quickly….








10:15am: What races matter? There are statewide elections in 5 places today: Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, & New Jersey. Those of us who live in those areas obviously will be impacted by our new representatives. Everyone else will also be looking closely to see what it may tell us about the political winds going into the Presidential election next year. Here are the specific races that will be most talked about tonight?

1) Can Democrats pull off a Governor win in two very red states?

*** Kentucky: Incumbent Republican Bevin vs.  Democrat Beshear – polls are all over the place, but most point to a very close race. Bevin is particularly unpopular, which is the only reason a Democrat has any chance at all here.

*** Mississippi: Republican Reeves vs. Democrat HoodHood is a conservative Democrat who has overperformed in the past. Right now most would rate this as Reeves race to lose (but it’s not locked up).


2) Will Virginia Democrats flip either the House or Senate?

*** Republicans control both, but Democrats need to flip 1 Senate seat and 2 House seats to take control. Democrats haven’t elected a Republican statewide in nearly a decade, and it’s the only state that voted for Clinton in 2016 to have R control of both chambers. This one will be close. Pundits currently rate it likely that Democrats will flip the Senate and rate the House as a toss up.


3) Is Texas trending Blue?

*** There is one state House district that has long been held by a Republican but with smaller margins in the Trump era. It’s likely to remain R, but if the Democrat can flip it, there will be talk about a mixed Texas district trending D.


4) Winchester-Frederick County, Virginia Local Races

***For those who live in this neck of the woods, the tippy top of Virginia, we have a few closely contested races. With no actual polling, it’s hard to say how these will shake out. The 3 that I’ll be following closest: 1) Winchester Clerk: Democrat Gardner vs. Republican Helsely. 2) Frederick County Sheriff: Incumbent Independent Millholland vs. Republican Sibert. Winchester referendum to change to elected school board members.


There are many other odds and ends going on as well, plenty of fodder for all of us who obsess over elections to exaggerate, stress, cheer, and otherwise fill that void in our political souls.

9:48am: George on Election Day. He did it, so can you. Reminder: You must present an ID to vote. Many different IDs work, AND you can still use them a year after they are expired. Curious about your polling place? Look HERE.:










9:00am: Walking to vote along the beautiful streets of Winchester, VA with wonderful neighbors, atop falling yellow leaves, and a slight breeze on the cheek. As frustrating as politics are right now, for 99.9% of humanity’s existence, this coming together to pick friends and neighbors to handle community affairs was unknown, laughable, ridiculous.

We have the best medical care ever, the Internet, the Dixie Chicks may put out new music, air conditioning exists , and we have the ability to vote in a free and fair election. Life is still good.


Election Day Live Blog – 2018



tired good night GIF

*12:42 – I’m fading fast. Was hoping to get more concrete information on WI governor’s race and AZ Senate before calling it a night, but I might not be able to hold off.

If you stick around, look at those two, the NV Senate race and the CA Houses. Be warned CA House races often take days to finalize, so you might not get anything tonight.

A million thanks to everyone who glanced at this a bit. No matter what, we stumbling through hour after of grueling democracy tonight.  Cheers!

*12:36pm – Citizens in Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska have voted to approve Medicaid expansion in their states (while simultaneously voting for elected officials who oppose said expansion).

*12:33pm – World’s worst congressman Steve King hangs on. Shucks. Maybe next time.

*12:17pm – Ds flipped control of 5 GOP-held state chambers: – NH House – NH Senate – MN House – NY Senate – CO Senate

*12:12pm – WI governor is basically a tie now. Some looking at the few outstanding votes believe Walker has a teeny tiny edge. Ugh.

*12:05pm – Right now the NYT Upshot projects a D gain of +34 seats. FiveThirtyEight currently has the same projection as +34.

Here are the predictions I posted at 1pm this afternoon:

FiveThirtyEight: D+39

Crystal Ball: D+34

RealClearPolitics: D+27

Decision Desk HQ: D+38

*12:03pm – A Senate update. The FL race has technically not been called, because there is an outside chance of Nelson (D) sneak in and crosses Scott (R), though unlikely. AZ is very very tight. NV is the remaining open seat where Ds are hoping to stop the bleeding. Best case for Ds, realistically, they win AZ and NV and Rs only gain 2. That will have big implications for 2020, and their potential to re-take the Senate when the map is more in their favor and they have a turnout boost with the Presidential election.

*11:55pm – There will be a lot of analysis later, but there have been D gains in many statehouse races. The NY state Senate flipped to D Control. The NH State and House both flipped to Ds.

*11:49pm – As I browse social media tonight the main takeaway I’m seeing is that almost everyone, of all political persuasions, is upset at something. Both sides seem to be a bit bummed. Fitting, considering the state of our divided nation. But still feels odd.

*11:45pm – 67% of the vote in and Steve King has inched ahead in IA-4. Groan.

*11:45pm – 80% of the vote in, and its basically a tie in the WI governor’s race.

*11:39pm – FiveThirtyEight currently pegs the Ds as gaining 33 seats in the House. But I think that final number could be anywhere from 30-40.

*11:34pm – From what I’m seeing, the best guesses are that the Ds will have won the overall House vote by about 9%. The FiveThirtyEight final on the generic ballot was, I think 8.7%

*11:28pm – It will take a long time to parse through all the details tonight. But there will be a lot of random changes that cumulatively will have a big impact in future races (2020). These won’t make headlines today, but they are an improvement from yesterday. For example,


*11:23pm – With 47.8% of the vote in, the world’s worst congressman, Steve King, is currently trailing JD Scholten 51.5%-46%. I’ve heard that the outstanding vote is still favorable to King, so he’ll likely pull it out. But considering the ruby red nature of this district, it’s encouraging that it’s even an open question.

*11:18pm – Implications:


*11:14pm – Rodney Davis has inched back again in his central IL district. He’s up by 2% with 91% in. It looks like he’ll hold on. The CU students gave it a good run, but doesn’t look like it will be enough in this district.

11:11pm – This is going to be an odd one, I think, with both sides tomorrow thinking that things weren’t so bad.

Some Ds may be disappointed that it wasn’t as big a sweep. But, overall there will be a split in Congress and the Ds will have made gain in Governorships and statehouses. They’re in a much better place that they were in before. The Rs will like their jump in the Senate and holding on to some big governor’s races.

*11:03pm – With 67% of the vote in, two time incumbent govenor Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin is down by 1.7%

*10:55pm – McCaskill (D) looks to be in trouble in MO. She’s down big with 64% in. There is an outside chance that all the outstanding votes can help her, but it’s a longshot at this point. The Rs could be poised to pick up 4-5 Senate seats in the end. Ds will hope to slow the damage by squeaking out a win in AZ and NV.

*10:51pm – Interestingly, most ballot measures that I’m looking at are set to pass: minimum wage increase, marijuana legalization, felony voting rights restoration. All of these are policies mostly supported by Ds, interestingly enough.

These types of D policies are typically more popular among the electorate, but the tribal nature of partisianship means many voters oddly voted FOR Medicaid expansion, legal marijuana, and then the R candidate (who doesn’t support those things).

*10:48pm – David Brat (R) the incumbent Tea Partier who always got under my skin looks to have lost his race in his central Virginia district. Well done folks.

*10:44pm – Yesterday I mention that there was some speculation about whether the best chances for D pickups were Romney-Clinton districts (suburbs) or Obama-Trump district (union blue areas). Tonight that has been very definitely answered. Ds are doing very well in all districts that Clinton won. They are winning less in rural areas that Obama once won. This is more another reminder that the parties are very much re-aligning. These are going to be trends that will stick with us for awhile. Republicans are going to have a hard time winning anywhere in the suburbs for the foreseeable future, and vice versa for Dems in rural areas.

10:43pm – 60% of the vote in Wisconsin, the D, Evers is beating Scott Walker by 1.5%

*10:38pm – 55% of the vote in, and the R, McSally has taken the lead in AZ Senate by 1%

*10:35pm – All of these wins will have big ramifications down the road, i.e.


*10:31pm – Beto will lose TX, but he certainly made a decent race of it, something that not many would have predicted possible in Texas. In fact, many talking heads guessed that his best path may be to lose, by a little, and then position himself for a presidential run in 2020. It would be harder for him to do that if he had one. But he’s clearly the biggest political celebrity to emerge this cycle.

*10:30pm – The Rs will control the Senate, as expected. But not they are trying to keep the total seats closer. A big part of that is AZ. With 53% of the vote in, Sinema (D) is leading McSally by .5%. Razor close.

*10:27pm – We don’t have any real results yet in Iowa-4 (awful Steve King’s district). Considering how the night is going, I’d bet he holds on comfortably. But there is still time to dream.

*10:25pm – Perhaps the biggest upset of the night so far, a D is looking like she might wein Oklahoma-5. Up by 1.5% with 90% in. This reace was not on the radar, labeled a Likely R.

*10:22pm – They haven’t been called yet, but the Ds are holding on in VA. That means of the 4 potential flips to the Ds in the state, they could be looking at getting 3 of them. Before the day started, they would have been happy with that, I think.

*10:18pm – In Illinois, it looks like all of the vulnerable Rs are currently behind (except Bost in So. IL, but he seemed in a strong position from the start). Even the central IL district that is home to the University of IL may finally have enough power to swing the seat to the Ds. (When I was student there, it wasn’t ever that competitive).

*10:16pm – Potential surprise in a red Oklahoma, OK-5. With 80% in, the D, Kendra Horn is up by a few thousand votes. This is a district that Trump won by 14 points. It would be an unexpected flip to the Ds.

*10:13pm – In the two razor tight races still not called in Virginia. It looks like Luria (D) and SPangberger (D) are both ever so slightly still ahead of their R incumbents. A few thousand votes each with about 96% of the vote in. Both of these would be flips.

*10:11pm – Also, while making a good run at it, Beto is going to fall a little short in TX

*10:11pm – Not a surprise, but Heitkamp (D) will lose in ND. She was was most at risk D of the cycle.

*10:08pm – FiveThirtyEight now gives the Ds a 99.9% chance of taking control of the House.

*10:05pm – Winchester folks. If you haven’t seen, it looks like Ds are set to win 2 of the 3 City Council races. Herbstritt won handily in Ward 3, and Judy McKiernan (in a surprise to me), looks to have won in Ward 4 by 3 votes. 3 votes! This will flip the City Council from 6-2 R majority to a 4-4 tie with the tiebreaking vote to D mayor David Smith.

*10:01pm – With 33% of the vote in in Kansas (red Kansas), Kelly (D) is up by 12%. If Kelly takes this race by any amount, it should be considered a solid win.

*9:59pm – Still a lot of important/close races left. The Governor’s race in WI is neck and neck. The Ds would love to take out long-time incumbent Scott Walker. They Ds look to take the governorship in MI as well. These will be critical for a 2020 Presidential race.

*9:56pm – The D pick up seats are now coming in, too many to keep track of, but they’ll continue as vote total inch up. Upwards of 9+ flips could happen in CA alone.

*9:50pm – Incumbent R in FL, Curbelo conceded. This was a race that the Rs thought they might keep because of Curbelo’s unique connection but the D trend in the area was too much.

*9:46pm – Should not underestimate the Democrats likely flipping the House tonight. Even if its close, by a few seats, this has HUGE ramifications for the policies that can/cannot be passed in the next two years.

These results are showing that 2020 will be a dogfight. BUT, as in 2016,the popular vote is still tilting a bit toward the Ds. That is why we are making gains here (not as big as dreamed, but likely enough). There will be gains in Governor’s races as well, and some lower ballot races.

If the current trends hold, this is decent progress for the Ds. Far from a sweep, but not a repeat of 2016.

*9:43pm – Still a lot of races left, BUT most networks believe that the Democrats will take control of the House when this is over.

*9:35pm – IL folks, there are still several seats where Ds are ahead in the state with potential flips. Incumbent Rs Roskam, Hultren, and Davis are currently all trailing to their D challengers.

*9:32pm – Something that will be HUGE in 2020 presidential race: Florida is going to restore voting rights to 1.4 million citizens. Consider how razor thin these FL races are (and have been for years). This could tip the balance. It may be frustrating to see the Rs squeak this out this time, BUT this could be the last gasp for awhile.

*9:28pm – You are probably watching this, but with 70% in, O’Rourke is still up in TX. Thought I don’t think he pulls it out.

*9:25pm – This is one of those elections that can be infuriating or encouraging, depending on where you look. At this exact moment, it is still better than 50% odds that Ds flip enough seats to take the House. Far from certain, but it’s about 55%.

*9:21pm – Two more seats in VA have the chance to flip. Razor thin, but Luria (R) is up by 1.5% with 91% in (Eastern Shore/VA Beach); Spangburger is up by .2% (550 votes) with 92% in. Fingers crossed.

*9:19pm – News in suburban races out west seem to be solid for Ds. Incumbent Coffman (R) looks be be in touble in CO.

*9:14pm – Right now there is widespread concern about the results so far. I know a lot of us have the ache in the gut. BUT, what we’re seeing right now, mostly, is that R voters in 2016 are still mostly R voters in 2018.

No matter what, we remain a very very divided nation, nearly right in half. For all the prognostications, this is to be expected.

All eyes should be on whether or not the Ds can get to 23 House flips. It would be wonderful if they do, to help with the accountability over the next two years. But it all hinges on a handful of races that themselves will be decided by 1-2% points.

*9:10pm – Manchin (D) will keep seat in deep red WV, however. He’s a saavy one.

*9:09pm – Blackburn (R) already called as winner in TN. Following the trend. Rs are going to pick up a few Senate seats tonight I guess. At least 2, probably 3, maybe 4.

*9:03pm – Elections are exhausting. Oy. Overall, the trend tonight is turnout up everywhere and voters from both parties showed up in larger amounts. This is leading to Rs doing well in red states, and winning most close electsins in red districts. Ds are flipping seats that have trended blue in recent years, but the big question now is will it be enough to flip the 23 seats to take the house. That’s really up in the air right now.

*8:55pm – Also, another VA race, VA-2, Lurie (D) is ahead of Taylor (R) by less than 1% with 87% in.

*8:53pm – In VA-7, Spanberger (D) ahead of Brat by a few thousand votes with 93% in. This would be a very nice D win if she can hang on.

*8:51pm – At this point, you’d rather be the Rs in FL as Rich Scott (R) and Ron DeSantis (R) are up with 93% in

*8:49pm – All eyes on Florida. The Rs may squeak out wins there, which would be disappoint, but in line with Rs continuing to win in very close races.

*8:48pm – Rs get a Senate flip, as Braun (R) will beat Donnelly in IN

*8:42pm – TX is on the board, and Beto is ahead with what is in so far. Do I think that will hold? No. But is there an outside chance it does? Yes.

*8:40pm – In Florida, the ballot measure to restore voting rights to those convicted of felonies after serving their sentence looks to be passing. Good news so far.

*8:39pm – Damn. It looks like Amy McGrath (D) is going to fall a little short in KY-6.

*8:36pm – In a small ray of light, there was a loss for Kim Davis, the high-profile clerk of the small KY county that rose to prominence by refusing to follow the law and give gay couples marriage rights.

*8:33pm – So much is going on right now, so it’s hard to keep it straight.  FL, as always is closer than the polls suggested.

*8:29pm – Incumbent Sessions in TX (R) looks like he’s going to lose. Ds needed to win this one to keep this House chances alive.

*8:25pm – Overall, I’d say these results indicate that Ds are doing as expected and making strong in suburban areas. But Rs are also extra strong in many rural areas.  I think right now, if I was going to guess, I’m thinking Rs gain 2-3 seats in Senate, Ds end up in upper 20s of seats flipped in House. But that’s just a gut reaction. I hope Ds make up some margins.

*8:21pm – The Rs are ahead in both the FL Senate and Governor’s races. BUT, with the outstanding vote locations, the Ds have a reasonable chance of making up the difference in the finally 10%. But it’s no blowout.

*8:19pm – This may turn out to be a rough night for Ds in Senate. We dont’ know yet, but some exit poll results in AZ are not great fro Sinema (D) in Senate. This is a seat that Ds really wanted to flip. But that’s just exit polls, so who knows once the votes start rolling in.

*8:15pm – Winchester folks. Kim Herbstritt (D) has beaten Milt McInturff handily (59%-40%). Bill Wiley (R) will beat Teri Merrill 55%-44%).

Taylor (R) vs. McKiernan is nearly tied with 1/2 precincts in.

*8:12pm – Illinois, the Governor’s race is already called for Pritzker (D)

*8:11pm – Rs have a boost here, as Nelson and DeSantis (R) have taken the lead in FL. 85% reporting. It’ll all be Miami-Dade and Broward Co.

*8:08pm – Now the FL races are nearly tied. Eeek. It’s going to come down to the last precincts now.

*8:07pm – FL races are tightening. Ds ahead (Gillum and Nelson), but it’s not over. 82% of votes in.

*8:01pm – Neck and neck in key VA-7 race. 51% in, Spanberger (D) ahead by 1% over incumbent Brat (R)

*8:00pm – The GOP will hold onto a stretch race for D in Virginia. Riggleman (R) is going to beat Leslie Cockburn (D) (Olivia Wilde’s mother) in VA-5.

*7:58pm – For Winchester folks, a few city precincts are in. Right now, it looks like Bill Wiley is in good shape to get re-elected in Wars 1. But Kim Herbstritt is ahead over Milt McInturuff in Ward 3. No results yet in Ward 4. In my predictions earlier, I had Herbstritt as the only D who would probably win.

*7:56pm – Barr takes the lead back from McGrath in KY-6

*7:54pm – Ds looks good so far in their House races. Rs look good in IN Senate. The IN Senate results may mean that other red states could be OK for Rs? (MO, MT, ND).

*7:53pm – Ultra tight in KY-6. Two thirds of the vote in, and McGrath (D) now up by a small 3,000 votes (2.4% lead).

*7:46pm – The other swing VA districts are very close. 37% in and Brat (R) is basically tied with Spanberger (D) in VA-7. Ds were not really planning to have a realistic shot at this one.

*7:42pm – It’s called. Wexton beats Comstock in VA-10. Hoooray. This is my district. Right now she is up by a commanding 16%.

*7:41pm – Now that results are flying in. The gut reaction so far, very solid news for Ds in a lot of House races and FL.  Rs have to like their chances in IN, but that’s been their only bright spot so far.

*7:40pm – 49% of vote in KY-6 — McGrath (D) up 3% (51.4-47.4)

*7:39pm – Early OH exit poll results, if extrapolated point to a 1.5% win in the Governor’s race for Cordray (D) over DeWine (R).

*7:35pm – 50% of vote in VA-10 – Wexton by 57% – 42%. I LOVE this result so far.

*7:33pm – 1/3 of the vote in FL. Ds both look reasonable good there so far. But in all of these races, things can still shift.

*7:32pm – 42% in, McGrath (D) up 47%-52% in that KY-6 district. Come on Amy!

*7:28pm – Shalala (D) looks solid in her southern FL district, FL-27. That was one that Ds needed to win. There was a time when it looked like they might lose it.

*7:22pm – Looks like overall this election will set new records for midterm turnout for young voters (18-29) and non-white voters.

They should help swing some districts, but maybe not others. We shall see…

*7:19pm – Seminole Co. is a bellweather in FL. Trump won it by 2%. Right now Gillum and Nelson are up by 4%

*7:14pm – Early results from FL seem to be decent for the Ds, Gillum and Nelson. Most of this is not based on raw votes but benchmarks on the percentage they are up or down in each area compared to past elections. It’s VERY early, but there is slight optimism in FL.

In IN there is less optimism for D, Donnelly.

*7:08pm – FL results will be very tight ALL night. And in extra close elections it will be fascinating to see if there is much gap between the Nelson (D) running in the Senate and Gillum (D) for Governor. Most analysis think Gillum has a slightly better chance, but they typically run in lockstep.

*7:04pm – The fact that Kaine was called immediately may (or may not) be good news for other Ds in VA.

*7:00pm – Tim Kaine projected to win. Yay!

*6:58pm – Exit polls in VA-10 (my district): 56% think country is headed in wrong direction. 56% said that Trump was the most important factor in their vote.

*6:51pm – Right now: IN looks like a nailbiter. Braun (R) seems to be doing pretty decent. In KY-6, McGrath seems to be looking alright, putting herself in a position to win once the biggest precincts start reporting.

*6:42pm – Here are some comparisons for Braun in IN. To me it looks like he is running similar to Romney in 2012 but behind Trump. Romney did win IN, however. So it seems like Braun is doing well enough to win. The difference will be if Donnelly can make up the difference in areas where Ds do well. It’ll be super close.


*6:35pm – If you are watching IN Senate results, the R challenger Braun will likely be leading most of the night.  If Donnelly is able to hold on, he’ll likely make up the difference in the very last precincts that return polls.

*6:31pm – Exit polls indicate IN is going to be ultra-tight. It’s a tough haul for Donnelly (D), because Trump won the state by 20%.

*6:21pm – Final predictions from the guru in Nevada is that Rs still have a chance to win those races, based on early vote and election day turnout, things are slightly tilting toward Ds.

*6:18pm – Early returns in rural IN are very big for Rs. That’s not surprising, but these races will be decided on whether the total turnout in these rural races keeps up with any growth in IN cities (like Indianapolis and Gary).

*6:16pm – A small dash of cold water. Those early exit numbers may generally seem positive for Ds. BUT what matters in each of these races is how voters are split between districts. It’s great if 100% of voters are upset with Trump in a New York precinct. BUT, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Ds will win these close races in KY and IN and AZ.

Be prepared for a lot of extra tight contests, some losses, and frustration when everything doesn’t seem to come up aces.

The very big picture is what matters most: (1) Taking  the House, (2) Not losing more than 1 or 2 in Senate seats , (3) Winning more Governor’s offices.

This is all about a big step in the right direction, but there will be more to do next time no matter what.


*6:05pm – The first race we’ll see is KY-6. BUT, don’t place overarching emphasis on this race. Trump won this district by 16ish points. Romney won it as well. This is really a stretch district for Ds. If they are close here but losing, that’s still a good sign.

*6:00pm – Please exhale deeply right now. You survived two years of a Trump President with total control of Congress. That may change forever, starting right now. Fingers and toes crossed.

*5:55pm – We’ve waited TWO YEARS. First polls close in 5 minutes!

nervous 30 rock GIF by HULU

*5:51pm – Huge, record breaking turnout in suburban Chicago districts. This would seem to bode well for D challengers in the two competitive House races in the Chicago Suburbs (Hultgren & Roskam).

*5:49pm – Gender gap will be huge this year. 78% of exit poll respondents say it is important to elect more women to elected positions. I’m not sure what to do with that. Obviously it would seem to good for Ds, but I dont’ place a ton of stock in these types of questions for predictability purposes.

*5:46pm – In 2010 exit poll data showed Obama’s favorability as -9%. That year the GOP flipped an astounding 63 seats.

This year, Trump’s  early exit poll favorability is -11%

*5:43pm – Seems like high turnout is always good news for Ds. BUT, one area where turnout may help Rs in FL. That’s one state that is a little odd. And early talk is that Rs are up. High turnout in panhandle is good for Rs. I think Ds might do well, but FL races will be extra tight, even if good news elsewhere.

*5:36pm – Reminder exit polls are still polls (not some official counting of preferences). But they are polls of actual voters, which eliminates all the uncertainty about who will or will not vote.

*5:32pm – Early exits on Party Favorability.

Republicans -11% ; Democrats +4%

*5:29pm – First rumors of KY-6 exit polls say that McGrath is within 1 point of Barr.

*5:26pm – Register in Nashville, TN says that turnout in big precincts is already surpassing 2016 Presidential turnout. That’s very very big for midterm. And would be very postive for D candidate Bredesen who needs big numbers in TN urban centers.

*5:22pm – Exit polls. Top issues: Huge lead for Healthcare. Democrats like that. Rs would def counter with economy numbers. But, Rs haven’t talked about economy much, which is one big reason why the Ds are expected to make gains even though the economy is relatively strong.

*5:17pm – If exit polls of 16% new voters are right, that a big one. Usually in single digits. New voters mean more voters, usually mean better for Ds.

*5:15pm – Remember that these exit polls are rolling. They can change as more information comes in. In past elections, extrapolations from exit polls have been very misleading. Just reading exit polls made early watchers believe that Hillary would win in 2016 and Kerry would win in 2004. Deep breaths.

*5:12pm – Exit polls suggest a slight surge in first time voters (from 2016). We don’t know about their motivation, however. Could feasibly be “pro-Trump” voters, though if I was guessing, I’d say it was the opposite. Anti.

*5:11pm – Exit polling. About 15% say they made their minds up in the last week. 16% said they were first time voters.

*5:10pm – Turnout in one of Ohio counties with most votes, up up up:


*5:07pm – Preliminary exit polls. Trump down 10, 45-55%. Remember these are “polls” but of actual voters. This is positive for Ds. This hints that the turnout surge, if true, is not necessarily because of huge surge of Trump supporters as well.

*5:00pm – First results in. US Territory of Guam just elected its first female Governor

*4:59pm – More news from NV. Signs may point to a good night for Ds (this is a Senate seat that Ds must flip if they have any chance at taking the body)(H/T Dave M):


*4:55pm – In case you are keeping track, three officials are on the ballot with corruption issues:

NY House: Collins (R) was arrested a few months ago on insider trading charges. He initially dropped out of his reelection bid, realized it was too late to drop out, so is now back in. He is favored to win.

CA House: Hunter (R) was arrested for a slew of corruption charges (using his campaign funds like a piggy bank). He claims it is all fake news. He is favored to win.

NJ Senate: Menendez (D) was charged by federal officials for corruption but jury was deadlocked and did not convict. He is favored to win.

*4:50pm – One more note on that KY-6th race (Barr v McGrath). This will be the first one that we look at because polls close early, and here’s specifically where we will be looking:


*4:45pm – A huge question mark each year is youth turnout. To me, it always seems like something that is hoped for but rarely, if ever, materializes. Has Trump woken up younger voters more than before? Some anecdotal accounts today hint at it, but we’ll see:


*4:40pm – The KY-6th race mentioned below (polls closing at 6pm) gained national prominence when the D challenger, Amy McGrath, released her first campaign ad that went viral. You may have seen it. It’s this one:

I’m really pulling for her. She’s a top notch D candidate.

*4:35pm – Those first polls will close in an hour and a half. In case you didn’t thoroughly read that hour by hour link I posted early (slackers), here’s a reminder:

As the first polls close, we’ll start to see results in two districts that could hold clues for how the rest of the night will unfold: the Kentucky 6th and Indiana 9th. The Kentucky 6th is rated as Toss-Up in the Classic version of our model. If Democratic challenger Amy McGrath is able to oust GOP Rep. Andy Barr, it will be an early sign of a Democratic wave.  On the other hand, our model rates the Indiana 9th as Likely Republican, so if Democrat Liz Watson somehow pulls off an upset against Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, it may point to a very long night for Republicans. The 6 p.m. poll-closing hour will also yield early returns in the Indiana U.S. Senate race, a seat that Democrats must hold in order to have any hope of capturing the Senate.

*4:28pm – Fair point?


*4:24pm – VA-10 update. The most vote-heavy area in the Wexton-Comstock race is Fairfax County. Ds want as large a turnout as possible there:


*4:19pm – When we start hearing turnout numbers in individual states and projections for overall turnout, keep these previous midterms rates (nationwide) as a baseline:

2018: ???

2014: 36.7%

2010: 41.8%

2006: 41.3%

2002: 40.5%

*4:07pm – If you want to take a bathroom break, the time is now. Exit polls will come out around 5pm. We’ll draw all kinds of assumptions about those for an hour, until 6pm. That’s when the first polls will close. Then we’ll finally being to draw out the real results.


*3:55pm – The first polls close (most of IN and parts of KY) in a little over two hours. There are many reports of surging voter turnout. That’s something that we hear often, but it’s pretty clear that voters were much more engaged this time around that in the last midterm:


*3:53pm – Here’s a good reminder for what will happen tonight. A wave election in a Presidential year means that we know who will win the Presidency pretty early in the evening. But in a midterm, it means watching a lot of really close races (races that shouldn’t be close but are):

wave election.png

*3:40pm – Virginia Senator (and current candidate) Tim Kaine is best described as America’s Boring Dad. For example, after casting his vote today he went shopping:


*3:29pm – Ben Tribbett (one of the folks I rely on the most for Virginia analysis) is confident of D win in VA-02 based on the turnout he is seeing. This one of those 20 races listed below, and one that FiveThirtyEight had as a lean R. We shall see.

For Virginia folks, this is the Eastern Shore and then places like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton.


*3:17pm – With up to 115 House races under watch, its overwhelming to focus on the specifics. Here’s one way to narrow it down. Dave Wasserman (from Cook Political Report) shared this chart that lists only those House races where one of the major forecast models disagree with each other.

So this list of 20 races are the true tossups of the tossups:

*3:06pm If things really take a turn for the worst tonight, I’ll likely slowly fade away from the computer. Two year ago, when the 2016 stomachache happened, here was the last post:

“OH just called from Trump. I suspect that FL and NC will be called soon. Once that happens, Trump will be the favorite to win it all. But it won’t be officially over. Deep breaths all. I genuinely DO recommend muting your TV. Nothing they say will make you feel better. I’m going to take a break myself to re-group. Starting at 5:30am was a bad idea.”

I never did get myself back to the computer. I may have fallen asleep in a pool of my own tears.

*3:00pm: As mentioned, the Governors races are in some ways more important than anything else. Two of the closest races (based on the last polls) are:

Kansas: Kelly (D) 50% chance – Kobach (R) 50% chance (per FiveThirtyEight)

Georgia: Abrams (D) 33% chance – Kemp (R): 68% chance (per FiveThirtyEight)

Consider how odd it is that Democrats could win Governor’s seats in Kansas and Georgia. Reliably red places. After all, Trump won Kansas two years ago by 21%.

*2:49pm: Update from that Iowa race that I’m watching close, King (R) v. Scholten (D):

Steve King bars the Des Moines Register from his election night event: “We are not granting credentials to the Des Moines Register or any other leftist propaganda media outlet with no concern for reporting the truth.”

The Des Moines Register is the largest paper in the state, and it frequently endorses Republicans.

*2:36pm: One fascinating thing this election is the likely unprecedented gender divide. Our politics have long been split along race, rural/urban, age. But never have we seen such a strong split between men and women. A big story has been how much women voters are trending toward the Democrats and how a larger percentage of men than ever before are aligning with the GOP.

When the exit polls are released, anything indicating a bigger female turnout when compared to 2016 or 2014 would be good news for Democrats (and vice versa).

*2:30pm – In a few hours we will start hearing about exit poll results. Since we’ve been waiting all day, they will be devoured and everyone will make assumptions about what it means (even though polls are still open and millions of voters have yet to cast).

In prep for that, here’s some snippets from one of the better detailed explainers on exit polls:

Despite the occasional controversies, exit polls remain among the most sophisticated and reliable political surveys available. They will offer an unparalleled look at today’s voters in a way that would be impossible without quality survey data. Having said that, they are still just random sample surveys, possessing the usual limitations […]

So if this poll is so sophisticated, why can’t we rely on the leaked mid-day “numbers” that will soon spread like wildfire across the web? […]

1) It is still just a survey

2) The mid-day numbers do not reflect weighting by actual turnout

3) Voting patterns may be different early in the day

4) Doesn’t account for early or absentee voting

5) They could be fictional

*2:14pm – Politics can bring out the worst in us; it is divisive by definition. But elections can also bring out the absolute best in us.

For example, a few minutes ago a pizza delivery man was at my doorstep dropping off food that I did not order.

Turns out, a special soul called it in from several states away in an extreme act of kindness. The world is a good place. (Thank you Kaylee; may karma allow all of your preferred candidates to win tonight).


*1:50pm – Here are the latest guesses on the Senate swing. Remember the Ds need to pick up 2 seats to take control:

FiveThirtyEight: R+1

Crystal Ball: R+1

RealClearPolitics: R+2

Decision Desk HQ: R+1

*1:45pm – As mentioned before, more prognosticators give the Ds anywhere from an 80-90% chance of taking the House. They need 23 seat flips to do it.

Winning the House is one thing, building a decent cushion of seats is another. The influence that Ds can have on controversial legislation depends on how many seats they win. Here are the latest guesses:

FiveThirtyEight: D+39

Crystal Ball: D+34

RealClearPolitics: D+27

Decision Desk HQ: D+38

*1:20pm – Early comments out of Northern VA is that turnout is high in VA-10. Wexton liking the numbers so far. (Though it seems like Ds have said this every year for a long time, so who knows 😉 I’m trying hard to maintain my happy pessimism. 

*1:13pm – More on turnout in CO. Senior vote is up too (similar to youth increase discussed earlier). This is a good reminder that you can often cherry-pick information to make yourself feel better.

In general, higher turnout is assumed to be better for the Ds. But we simply don’t know if there’s increased passion everywhere, including among waffling R voters.


*1:00pm – It’ll be long night with West Coast races not coming in until the wee hours for us on the East Coast. However, we’ll likely have a solid idea of House control relatively early. That’s because Ds have the chance to gain a large amount of seats in just a few East Coast states (i.e. PA and NJ).

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about NJ potentially losing almost all of its R Congressman.  Basically the entire state is similar to the suburban districts where Rs are losing support. This registration data comparing 2016 to 2018 in each NJ district is telling.
nj data.png

*12:45pm – A quick Winchester, Virginia digression for those who, like me, live in this tiptop VA city. Three city council races are contested. All are currently held by Republicans.

1st ward (my own): Wiley v. Merrill

3rd ward: McInturff v. Herbstritt

4th ward: Taylor v. McKiernan

I took a look at the breakdown of votes from each ward in several of the last elections.

Ward 4 is clearly the strongest for the GOP (it even went for Gillespie last November in a blue sweep year). The Ds have never really won there, and with a strong candidate this year, I don’t think that will change. I predict Taylor (R) wins that one.

Ward 1 is very close. Northam won it by nearly 8 points last November. But it has been a toss up in every other election. Bill Wiley is a strong incumbent, and even with a very spirited campaign from Teri Merrill, I think Wiley (R) is the favorite. Though an upset is not out of the question.

Ward 3 is another story. I think Kim Herbstritt has the best chance of the three races to flip a seat to the Ds. The party has been strong in the ward in previous races, with Northam winning handily in 2017 and Mayor David Smith (D) winning by nearly 19% in 2016. Incumbent Milt McInturuff has not faced a competitive race (even after 12 years). McInturff is the most outspoken conservative on the board and is polarizing. I think this seat could have been taken years ago. I’d bet on Herbstritt (D) now. I’ll be rooting for her.    

*12:33pm – Some information on CO voters…

colorado demographics

*12:29pm – Every year there are reports of voting problems, machine malfunctions, and similar issues. Most of the time it’s small and isolated. Though in extra tight elections (and we will likely have some this year), these small things have a huge impact (i.e. Bush v. Gore in 2000).

The most talked about problem so far seem to be coming out of Georgia (where there might be several razor thin races): “Long Lings and Technical Problems in Georgia”

Some of the biggest problems Tuesday were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote. […] Hannah Ackermann said officials at the polling site offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who didn’t show up and overloaded machines.

*12:24pm – Waiting, waiting, waiting for more information. As we sit here, the final tallies from FiveThirtyEight:

Chance that Ds win the House: 87.9%

Chance that Ds win the Senate: 19.1%

Flashback to 2016. FiveThirtyEight’s final chance that Trump would win Presidency: 28.6% (this was much higher, and therefore more accurate, than most other models)

*12:18pm – Along the same lines, here’s FiveThirtyEight’s helpful little guide on what we will learn at different times once the polls start closing this evening. The races to watch early that will set the tone for the rest.

*12:16pm Here is the poll closing  map. No “hard” data will be released until then (starting at 6pm EST in part of Kentucky and Indiana). A smattering of east coast states close at 7 or 7:30pm, most of the eastern half of country ends at 8pm, 9pm for middle of country, and then 10pm to 1am for the rest.

polls close

*11:58am – Before we cross the noon hour, one thing bears repeating. If the Ds win the House and the Rs keep the Senate, it is not a “mixed decision” or “tie.” That is a win for the Ds, a real shift in power. In other years, the Senate might be in play, but it just happened that the Ds are defending 26 of the 35 seats. That’s the most lopsided scenario for any nonpresidential party in 100 years.

A win in the House, gains in Governors, not losing more than 1 or 2 Senate seats. That’s a huge victory for the Ds.


*11:51am – Here’s one take of where the Ds will gain seats in the debate of suburbs vs. former union D areas…


*11:37amA caveat for midterm elections: We will need to stay up later tonight than in a Presidential election to figure out “how the winds are blowing.” In a Presidential election, trends lines early usually follow throughout the night. (i.e. if a candidate is doing well in one Midwest state, then they’ll likely do the same relative to projections in all of them).

BUT, that’s not as much the case in individual House races. A party could do well in certain races, but not others, with many more individual factors playing a role.

It will be less likely to say as soon as polls close, maybe around 7:30 or 8pm, exactly how things are going to look. We will slowly learn everything, of course, but it’s more of a gradual process.

This is great news for those of us who like to prolong the drama and excitement of election day as much as possible. Though, it could be misery for those who just want to know the answers.

*11:22pm – The FiveThirtyEight generic ballot forecast is frozen. It ended at D +8.7. In the past, generic ballot polls have been decent indicators of swings in House seats overall. It’s was often tossed around that the Ds need to be at least +5% or +6% to take the House. It’s not a guarantee of anything, but obviously you’d rather be Ds than Rs with those numbers.

We’ve frozen our forecasts, the final model runs are whirring away now. And we’ve also frozen our generic ballot average. It wound up at D+8.7. That’s not a good number for Republicans. The Democratic lead ticked up from about 8 percentage points to 9-ish on the last set of polls we entered before freezing everything.


*11:11am – In the Senate, two races that for whatever reason I’m most interested in:

Texas: Cruz (R) v. O’Rourke (D) – Obviously Beto is a charismatic figure. I think we are a better place when a large state like Texas has close, competitive races. Ted Cruz’s shamelessness always struck me as depressing. A shocking loss for Cruz would feel like we’ve turned a page for the better.

Tennessee: Breseden (D) v. Blackburn (R) – Like in Texas, showing that a moderate D can win in a relatively red state would be welcome breath of fresh air.

Both of those races are likely to stick with the Rs. But, they’re not entirely out of reach.

*11:02am – Encouraging:


*10:56am – The big picture is most important, but everyone has a few races that matter most to them for personal or symbolic reasons. For me:


 VA-10: Wexton (D) v. Comstock (R). My district. We have a chance to flip a seat. Wexton is a moderate, former prosecutor, good fit for this area.

IA -4: King (R) vs. Scholten (D). It’s a longshot for the Ds, but if anyone deserves to lose unexpectedly it’s Steve King of Iowa. His racial views are simply unacceptable. Even the Republican Party  pulled financial support. In his closing message this week King attacked the Republican Committee for not giving him money and instead sending “money over to support a candidate in a primary in California who had a same-sex partner that they put all over glossy mailers.” Apparently Steve King does not believe gay Republicans should exist. King also said yesterday that he hopes Justices Elena Kagan and Sotomayor will “elope in Cuba.” Whatever the hell that means. Scholten only has about a 15% chance of winning, but it would be heartwarming to see King out the door.


*10:33am – An open question that will be discussed after tonight’s results:

Did Ds make more gains in Romney-Clinton districts, Obama-Trump dsitricts, or both?

A bit more attention has been paid to “Romney-Clinton” districts, usually in suburbs that typically vote for moderate Rs but turned strongly against Trump.

However, some think that the Ds actually might do even better in the areas that have old-fashioned D leanings (union based), but went for Trump. They argue that more than anything there will be a reversion to the mean, where Rs don’t necessarily do as well this election in the Midwest as they did in 2016. They may bear out with wins in PA, OH, WI, MN.

*10:25am – Voting lines seem to be long in many places, especially for a midterm.
Here’s one from Acworth Georgia. Remember there is a marquee Governor’s race here, as well as a toss-up House race. (H/T Melissa Altmix-Grotts )


*10:15am – Right now all we have are polls and early voting stats. Early voting remains a wobbly thing, because experts are unsure how to analyze it. We don’t have great data from older elections about how much we can learn from early voting party ID stuff.

But one area where there is agreement is that one guy is the best, most reliable, at trying to get something useful out of early voting. His name is Jon Ralston, and he does Nevada politics. He’s the go to guy on the extra tight Senate race between incumbent Heller (R) and challenger Rosen (D).

You can read his detailed analysis, but the short version: Rosen likely has around a 20,000 vote lead heading into election day, and it’s going to be very very difficult for Heller to catch up. 

*9:59am – We won’t really get any more polls (obviously). But we may get more gossip about internal feelings from each race. Most campaigns with a reasonable amount of money run internal polls all the time. They don’t release those figures publicly unless its for some strategic purpose.

That’s why we’ll likely get more stuff like this (from a few days ago re: TN Senate race where Rs should win but haven’t been able to put it away yet):

tn poll.png

*9:52am – Election Day should be a national holiday (or more options should be available for early voting). But at least in some places you’re required to get time off from work to do your duty:

get time off.jpg

*9:48am – This may cause panic, but party affiliation in early votes can be very misleading.



The Ds winning the House will have the biggest impact on what policies are/are not passed at the federal level in the next two years.

BUT, the Ds winning more Governor’s races will have the biggest impact on Trump’s reelection in 2020. It is an advantage to have your party control the Governor’s mansion in swing states in presidential years (so watch those races in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin,, Iowa and others).

*9:33am – Will weather hurt D chances in extra tight areas?


*9:30am – Every election is a reminder that things change. We have an idea of certain states as being red or blue and parts of state as being conservative or liberal. But, everything is in flux.

I always find these shifts  interesting. For example, in Ohio, this cycle may highlight the fading of Cleveland compared to Columbus?

(There is an extra tight Governor’s race in Ohio, Cordry (D) vs. DeWine (R), that will have implications for the 2020 Presidential race.)


*9:21am – If you are an old man (like me), and still have a soft spot for paper and pens, there are a few “cheat sheets” that you can print and mark up as you follow along tonight.

The best one, I think, is HERE (from Daniel Nichanian).  It’s organized clearly, yet goes very deep, including some state and local races that you may not have heard of, with brief snippets of why those races are interesting. It’s worth browsing.

.pdf version: Elections-tracker-Nov5

*9:13amNever forget

chocolate milk.png

*8:57am – More out of Florida:



8:48am – Speaking of same-day registration, here’s an interesting map (based on a new report) that ranks all 50 states on the hurdles put into place for voters.

Most Convenient – (1) Oregon, (2) Colorado, (3) California

Most Restrictive – (50) Mississippi, (49) Virginia, (48) Tennessee


Annual Reminder: Even if you (or a friend/family member) haven’t registered, you can still vote (and register on site) if you live in  one of these 11 places: Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, or Wyoming.  [BTW, more states should allow this.]

*8:37am Reminder for Virginia voters: you must bring an ID to vote. Many different IDs work AND you can still use them a year after they are expired.

Curious about your polling place? Look HERE.

*8:27am – Sad but mostly true…


*8:25am – The five biggest seat-by-seat forecasters/models are probably: FiveThirtyEight, Inside Elections, Real Clear Politics, Cook, and Crystal Ball. Here is a very simple spreadsheet that aggregates them all so that you can see where they may disagree (though they’re relatively close in most cases).

*8:16am – Another reminder that our mind is sometimes screwy with election odds:

Either way, there’s the potential for misunderstanding. People can mentally “round up” high probabilities to certainties. An 86 percent chance might seem like a sure thing, but it isn’t — would you board a plane that had a 14 percent chance of crashing?

*7:59am If you are riding on the train or bus or avoiding your first few hours of work, here’s a good article to skim to be refresh on how the night can tip either way with so many close races…

On the day before the midterm elections, two vastly different outcomes remain easy to imagine. There could be a Democratic blowout that decisively ends Republicans’ control of the House and even endangers their Senate majority. Or there could be a district-by-district battle for House control that lasts late on election night and perhaps for weeks after.

The first would be interpreted as a repudiation of Donald J. Trump, the second as another example of his political resilience. But the difference turns on just a few percentage points across dozens of House districts that remain exceptionally close, according to New York Times Upshot/Siena College surveys conducted over the last few weeks.

*7:55am Annual reminder: Selfie danger. Here is a state-by-state list explaining whether it is legal or illegal to take photos in the voting booth or polling place. It’s probably best to just take a picture with your voted sticker afterward like the rest of us humblebragging about being so civically minded.

Virginia = LEGAL 

Illinois = ILLEGAL

*7:48am – How does your polling place look? Let us (me) know! Here’s early voting from Northern IL a few days ago (H/T/ Kaylee Macedo)

*7:38am – We will hear a lot throughout the day about how well a certain party needs to perform in election day voting to win. Based on X early/absentee voting, we think candidate Y needs to win Z% of today’s vote.

Just a heads up that this is based on registration figures on those early voters. We don’t actually know who those votes are for. Instead, we only know that a certain percentage are registered R, D, and unregistered. However, not everyone who is registered with a party will vote for every candidate from that party in this election. In fact, in close races, the difference can be whether there are crossover votes (i.e. a frustrated R who decides to vote for a D). Also, the unaffiliated’s tend to break more toward one candidate than another.

In short: If you see a stat flash up about how one party have a sizable lead in early voting, don’t assume that means the worst (or best).

*7:23am – 


*7:08am – Early prognostication from FL (tight Senate and Governor’s races)…


*7:05am – Today is voting day. But about 35-40 million votes have already been cast (early and absentee). That is out of a projected total midterm vote of between 90-110 million. In other words, anywhere from 30-40% of voting is finished.

How quickly we learn results tonight in some ways hinges on how quickly we learn the tallies of those early votes. Every jurisdiction has a different speed.

*6:49am – Voted. Special thanks for Bekka for making the mile walk with me to our polling place. She was hit by a car only a few months ago, was told “you shouldn’t be alive,” had a follow up surgery less than a week ago, and still made it on foot over rough brick sidewalks to bring home the sanity. No excuses.

Last reminder to not only vote but send a gentle nudge to anyone you know who may not be as obsessed as you are with this race. Science has shown (really), that a reminder from a family member or friend is the single biggest way to increase turnout.


*6:41am – I hate desk clutter, but today is the one of the very few when having three screens is acceptable. Will it help me discover breaking news faster? Not really. Will I be able to absorb more information at once? No. Am I a  better American because I stare at three screens about the election for 15 straight hours? Certainly not.

But it does help maximize the stress, anxiety, fear, and feeling of overwhelm that this day brings (along with the small dashes of exhilaration). So, there’s that.


*6:00amOkay campers. Rise and shine. And don’t forget your booties, ‘cause it’s cold out there today!

Here we go again. Another first Tuesday in November. Another election. You’ve heard it is “The Most Important Election Of Your Lifetime.”

Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Ask your friends if they’ve voted. Be that annoying person for one day. Please. Because, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF YOUR LIFETIME.

We don’t get to repeat this day again. No Do-Overs.

See you in a bit.

Election Eve Live Blog – 2018

*7:15pm – That’s it for today. Sleep tight. Dream of  election night surges, the hugs of loved ones, the deep exhale of knowing that tomorrow begins the long trek back to balance and sanity.

I recommend getting to bed immediately, because it’s gonna be a loooooong one tomorrow. One more sleep.

*6:34pm – Texas has seen one of the largest increases in early voting. A big question is whether or not that is a result of a surge of new voters or “cannibalization” of regular voters who are just choosing to vote early instead of on election day.

early voting.jpg

*5:00pm – Perhaps the most unusual aspect to this midterm election has been money. Unlike at any time before, the Ds have dramatically outraised the Rs in House races. If there is a surprise in the Ds direction, the money might be pointed to as the sign.

The latest:

Republicans – 43.1% of total – $652.9 mil [ Candidates- $403.6 mil ; Outside Groups- $249.3 mil]

Democrats – 56.9% of total – $851.7 mil  [Candidates- $535.6 mil Outside Groups- $325.1 mil]

In the 2016 race for the House, Rs spent $543 mil and Ds spent $423 mil

*4:45pm – Gerrymandering is designed to help a party win/keep more seats than it otherwise would based on its share of the vote. You know the idea: design districts so that your party has enough of “your kind” of voters to win, but not too many. Too many of your own voters means they are wasted. Instead, spread them out, and jam all your opponents voters into the same districts.

Makes sense.

But that means that many more of your seats are not necessarily sure things in a wave election. Your party may be able to win by about 5% in many seats every election. But if there is a wave and the other party starts over-performing by 6,7, or 8%, then there’s a sharp drop off, with a large number of endangered districts.

The term that’s often used is that a gerrymandered map is “wide but shallow.”

That’s because gerrymandering gives one party more overall seats, but fewer solid/always safe seats. So depending on the size of the D “wave” this election (if there is one), the Rs gerrymandering in certain states may actually help flip more seats that otherwise would be flipped to the Ds.

*4:03pm – Here’s a turnout model released yesterday (US Election Project) based on various factors, especial early voters. Remember, in general, Ds are rooting for highest turnout possible. But it’s not 100% clear that a higher turnout is better for them.


Predicted 2018 turnout: 44.8% (it was 36% in 2014). From a high of 61.5% in MN and a low of 36% in KY. These are guesses, so they may be wildly off.

*3:40pm – Donald Trump essentially secured the presidency because he won over a larger chunk of voters who made up their mind in the last few days. As usually happens, these undecided voters “broke” toward him. Undecideds rarely split up evenly.  If 8% of voters say that are unsure in a race, in the final vote tally, each candidate does not usually get 4% of them. It’s more likely a 6% – 2% or 7% – 1% split. They tend to break toward one candidate.

So when you see polls that show a decent chunk of undecided voters, odds are that one candidate will get a larger share of them, and it could put them over the top if the race is close.

Some are arguing that Ds seem to be gaining (in House races) over these final days. Are undecideds breaking toward them in these last days? For example,

*3:20pm – Early vote figures out of Colorado:

coearly vote

*3:10pm – Early voting lines back in Champaign, IL at the Illini Union (from @MaxNWeiss). University of Illinois students are in a swing district this year, with Congressman Rodney Davis (R) at risk of losing his seat to Betsy Dirkesen Londrigen (D).

FTE gives the Ds about a 28% chance of flipping this seat. She’s an underdog, but it’s in reach in a wave year. To win, Londrigen definitely needs to rack up big margins with high turnout among students.

illini union.jpg

*3:05pm – Perhaps the most high profile race in the country is Texas Senate. Ted Cruz v. Beto O’Rourke. Beto is a sensation, raising more more than any Senate candidate ever. Presidential talk started as soon as his video on NFL players kneeling went viral. But national celebrity is not the same as winning a Texas election.

For awhile now, it was assumed that Beto had little to no chance. All talk was on whether he could prevent getting blown out, keeping a respectable national profile alive.

But, the very last poll of the race, has it tied. Is it really a toss up? No. Cruz is clearly the favorite. But in a wave D election with polls off a few points, it’s not out of the question.

From FiveThirtyEight:


*3:00pm – From CNN, the weather for election day seems to be stormy  in the East:

Every state east of the Mississippi River is likely to see rain at some point when the polls are open on Tuesday, though some states will undoubtedly see more storms and potentially disruptive weather than others.


The old story is that rain is good for Rs and bad for Ds. That’s because R voters historically are more reliable, and Ds count on a higher turnout with votes from the infrequent voter.

However, there is not great data on that ever being the case. And one argument is that it helps whoever is already most motivated to vote, which this year seems to be D voters by a little bit.

*2:50pm – For the super-geeks, here’s the handiest county-by-county 2016 vote count spreadsheet that I could find (from Greg Giroux) . Very easy to navigate. Let’s you browse as comparison for this election or just to kill time. When things get extra tight on election night and the anchors talk about what countries still have outstanding votes, these are the sort of figures that let you know what to expect from those places.

For example, my current locale, Winchester, VA went for Clinton over Trump, 48% – 44%. Hometown of Kankakee Co, IL went for Trump, 53% – 41%

*2:30pm – There are a few high profile election forecast models. They use a range of factors to make their guesses. They heavily rely on polls (obviously) along with fundraising figures and other indicators.

Alternatively, there are a few “political science” forecasts that predict swings from party to party based on big historical trends. These forecasts don’t judge individual races but instead look at broad circumstances, presidential approval, general political climate, etc.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball provided a handy chart of what four of these political science models project:


You’ll notice that these forecasts fit within current poll-based models, ranging from a Democratic gain of 27 to 44 House seats (all of them predict D control of House). They also project a few seat gain for Rs in the Senate.

*2:15pm – Something I should have known earlier but just learned now: Why election day is on a Tuesday in November. As you might expect, it’s because of what life was like at the nation’s founding.

November was picked because it was after harvesting but before the worst of the winter.

Tuesday was picked because it was between worship on Sundays and market days on Wednesdays. Monday was used to travel to the voting site (via horse, obviously).

Fascinating, but does it really make sense today? I’m all for traditions, yet not everything older is better.  We have extra large room for improvement in our current election process.

*2:05pm – Without a Presidential race, it’ll be easier for the “disappointed” side to spin the results tomorrow so they don’t look as bad. The most likely outcome is a D House and an R Senate. But, make no mistake, that is not a “draw.” That is a win for the Ds and would have dramatic effects on what policies could become law in the next two years. That would mark a shift in power from our current status.

Here’s a possible measuring stick for tomorrow to evaluate whether the Ds over-perform or under-perform (from FiveThirtyEight):

expectations 2

*1:45pm – Speaking of odds, the Grandmaster election forecaster, Nate Silver, constantly emphasizes that the range of possibilities is very large. In other words, don’t be too shocked if the Ds don’t win the House. BUT also don’t be too shocked if they win 55 or 60 seats (they need 23). 


*1:25pm – A quick note on odds. It is best to think of the election models as probabilities of winning (not hard absolute guesses on who will win). There is an 85% chance the Ds take the House and an 85% chance Rs keep the Senate. But that means there is a 15% chance the opposite happens in each.

Consider field goal odds as a comparison:

An NFL kicker attempting a 37 yard field goal.

Each team gets one kick. If the Ds make theirs, they win the House. If the Rs make theirs, they win the Senate.

If you were guessing, you’d say that they both will hit. BUT, is it out of the question that one might miss? It could totally happen. You would expect the kicker to make a 37 yarder, but you wouldn’t faint if one missed. Keep that in mind whenever you hear pundits talk tomorrow about what is or is not a longshot.

*1:00pm – One of the final set of polls that we will get before tomorrow…

final polls

*12:55pm – Much ballyhoo about early voting numbers this year. It’s a very real and somewhat startling increase from the last midterm election. BUT, a dash of cold water: 2014 midterms were the lowest turnout in 70 years. That doesn’t necessarily discount the surge this year, but there was a LOT of room for improvement from 2014 anyway.

*12:46pm – A good Andrew Sullivan piece on tomorrow’s stakes:

sullivan summary_LI.jpg

*12:31pm – The ballot initiatives I’ll be watching tomorrow:

(1) Four states will vote on marijuana legalization: North Dakota and Michigan (recreational); Missouri & Utah (medical)

(2) Medicaid expansion is on the ballot in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, & Utah.

(3) Ohio Drug Laws: All felony nonviolent drug offenses would be reduced to misdemeanors. The idea is to lower the prison population. Fearmongers claim that it will make Ohio a “drug magnet.” I think it is an interesting test point to public opinion on easing drug laws in a swing state.

(4) Louisiana Verdicts: Would ban felony convictions without unanimous jury vote. Louisiana is one of 2 states (Oregon) where you can be found guilty, even if a jury is not unanimous. This law traces back to Jim Crow; it is ridiculous that it’s even in doubt.

(5) Florida Felony Voting: A proposition would restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentence (except those with murder or sex offenses). 1.4 million Americans may have their rights restored.

(6) Abortion-related initiatives are on the ballot in Oregon, West Virginia, and Alabama. With the new SCOUTS makeup, we can expect even more abortion drama than usual in the coming years. States will try to restrict more and more, the laws will be challenged, and those challenges will likely end up in front of the new Nine.

*11:55am Be sure to read the whole thread. This highlights something that will happen a lot over the next 36 hours. A stat pulled out of somewhere that seems good/bad for one side, but the overall impact is far more muddled.

Like in fantasy football, you can cherry pick stats or matchups to make anyone seem liable to score a lot of points. What is left out is often more important than what is mentioned. 

generic ballot.png

*11:50am Hmmm…


*11:45am The final FiveTirtyEight Projections:

House: 87% chance of D control (average gain of 39 seats)

Senate: 84% chance of R control (Rs gain 1 seat)

Governor: Ds gain 8 states (63.5% of population lives in D-held state)

*11:15am More younger voters is almost always a good sign for Ds.

tx early vote.png

*11:10am We must wait until tomorrow evening for real results. Dammit. But what if we want to know right now how things are looking? We have 2 things: (1) Polls/Models ; (2) Early Voting Statistics.

If you are as obsessed with this as I am, you know all about it. But if you are a normal person, you preserved your sanity and devoted attention to other things the last few weeks. So here’s the briefest summary (more detail later):

(1) Polls/Models: Most models have the Ds picking up 25-40 seats in the House, taking control (they need 23). The trend lines over the last week (based on individual polls and generic ballot polls) has been a tick even better for the Ds. In the Senate, the opposite is the case, with most models showing the Rs picking up 1-3 seats and keeping control.

(2) Early Voting: There is significant controversy over whether early voting figures tell us anything. However, for those who believe they are helpful, the #1 storyline is that turnout is UP compared to the last midterm election virtually everywhere. Higher turnout usually is good news for Ds. However, in our hyper polarized environment, some argue that both sides are benefiting and it may not be as much of a boon for Ds as usual. For me, I think the old rule applies here, and big numbers is a cause for optimism for Ds in close races.

*11:05am There is no presidential race, so how should we judge tomorrow? That’s like a newbie sitting down as the season finale of Game of Thrones starts and asking, “So what’s going on?” 

Oh boy, where to begin…

The moon view is that tomorrow reveals how the country feels about its decision to elect Donald Trump two years ago. Was it a good idea? Have his actions/decisions been good or bad for the country?

There are 5 things I’ll be watching tomorrow:

(1) Control of the US House R’s currently control it. Ds need to flip 23 seats to take control. All 435 seats are up, but about 310 of those seats are not in doubt. Instead there are around 115 seats that are “in play.”  Almost everyone agrees that the Ds will gain some seats, but how many? Throughout the night, the biggest thing to track is the number that the Ds are seeming to flip. Is it over or under 23. Current projections: Anywhere from 15 to 60.

(2) Control of the US Senate – Rs currently control it. Ds need to flip 2 seats to take control. Only 35 seats are up, and about 12 are “in play.” More of those in play seats are held by Ds already, so they have far fewer opportunities to flip a seat. Current projections: Anywhere from Ds gaining 2 to Rs gaining 5.

(3) Governor Races – Right now there are 33 R governors and 16 D governors. But Ds are poised to make gains in both total states with a D governor and total population living under a D governor. The highest profile races are in Florida, Georgia, and Kansas.  Current projections: Ds gaining 5 to 10 seats.

(4) State/Local Races – The people who you elect to your statehouse, city council, and county board may actually impact your life more than those at the federal level. The party that wins these statehouses now will be involved in redistricting after the upcoming 2020 census.

(5) Ballot Initiatives  – Legalized marijuana, felony voting rights, and other policies will be decided by voters in states across the country.

*10:50pm – Cool map from Bloomberg showing the most common types of issues campaign ads were shown each area. (3 million ads analyzed). My own district (the top of Virginia) is the dark blue “Anti-Trump.” It makes sense, our sitting Congresswoman is a Republican, but Clinton won this district by 10 points, and we are outside DC where Trump is loathed with the fury of a thousand red giants.

This is also a good reminder that when you hear one pundit or another say that X is the issue that matters. The Democrats path to victory is Y.  They’re almost always oversimplifying to the point of uselessness. Different people care about different things. Winning control of any chamber or statehouse or school board or governor’s mansion requires different strategies.


*9:54amBe sure to take care of yourself, even if your nails are bitten down to nubs.

stress drinking

stress drinking2

7:48am – Christmas Eve is often more special than the big day. It’s the same with vacations. Dreaming of what’s ahead, the building excitement can be more valuable than the live experience. Science backs that up.


The mind can work magic with unlimited potential. Enjoy this day, political/election nerds, because tomorrow might be the beginning of the hangover (or maybe not, who’s to say).

*7:35am –  Antici…

antici GIF

Does It Really Make Sense for a Frustrated Republican to Vote for a Democrat?

We jammed the first political sign of the season into the dirt in our yard. It was for a Republican. City Council. Incumbent. A moderate who has the best interest of the community at heart. We know his opponent too. A first time Democratic candidate inspired to get more active in recent years. We attended a Meet-N-Great for her campaign kickoff. She’s an asset to our neighborhood. 

Bushes (R) and Obamas (D)

We decided to go with our existing representative this time but many friends will go the other way. Winchester, Virginia will be well served no matter who wins the election.

That first sign was for a Republican. The second was for a Democrat for Congress.

If our Republican candidate was running for Congress (instead of City Council), we would not support him this year. The consequences for each office are vastly different.

I urge all those who consider themselves Republicans, conservative, moderates, independent–but who are deeply concerned about the current administration–to vote for a Democrat for Congress on November 6th.

President Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy
D. Eisenhower (R) and J. Kennedy (D)

Some reasons why:

1) The race for Congress is about Donald Trump and his brand of “conservatism.” Full stop. Will the chaos that Trump has brought to the federal government be bolstered or rejected? That’s the point of Nov. 6th.

2) If you are cheering Trump’s tweets and rallies and personality…if you prefer Donald Trump’s party to John McCain’s party, then you can stop reading now. I won’t convince you of anything.

3) A vote for a Republican for Congress is a vote to strengthen Donald Trump’s political capital within the Republican party itself.  The election is just as much a referendum on the two futures within the GOP, as it is the nation as a whole.

4) If the GOP holds Congress, Trump’s conduct is validated. There will be zero check on his control within government or within his party. He’ll have the votes and political capital to squash any Mueller report findings, indictments, or criticisms of his conduct.  

That is terrifying. Not just for liberals or Democrats, but to reasonable Republicans who believe in competence, balance, character, honesty, prudence, accountability, and basic fitness for our treasured office.  

But But But, I sometimes hear from reasonable Republican friends, but the alternative is worse. Look, I don’t like Trump, but he’s doing some good things. But I hate Colin Kaepernick. But at least it’s not socialism.

mccain kerry
J. Kerry (D) and J. McCain (R)

The “Buts” in this case fall far too short:

First, please don’t minimize the costs of having Donald Trump as the Republican that many children will forever identify with the party:  

  • The only President ever implicated by his own attorney in a criminal felony conspiracy under oath (for covering up hush payments to a porn star for an affair shortly after his wife gave birth).
  • Who’s attorney, campaign manager, and national security advisor have already been found guilty of felonies. 
  • A President who calls his own attorney general “mentally retarded. Who insults veterans for being tortured in war if they disagree with him.
  • Who sides with a Russian dictator over our own national security professionals. Who believes that America is morally equivalent to Russia but who considers Canada an enemy. 
  • A President who so obviously, clearly, and without ambiguity makes choices based entirely on his own ego and self-interest.

There is a tremendous cost to that being your guy. And if the GOP keeps Congress, he will forever be your guy. Mini-Mes will sprout up even after he’s gone to fill the void.

The only way forward is a rejection at the ballot box.

J. Boehner (R) and B. Obama (D)

Refusing to enable a son’s drug addiction can be hard, but it’s appropriate. You don’t get to pretend that you’re trying to solve the problem if  you keep slipping him cash and driving him to his dealer.

Second, the “cost” of a Democratic Congress is far lower than frustrated Republicans might suspect:

  • Many of Trump’s current policies are not conservative anyway. Shunning the free-market, imposing tariffs, and a budget that, for the first time ever, projects a permanent $1 trillion annual deficit.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard, Democratic candidates in many districts are reasonable, experienced, hardworking members of the community. You may be surprised that they share many of your own concerns.  Do not fall for scare tactics.
  • Trump will still be President. The Democratic party will not be able to pass anything without bipartisan support. There is also another election in 2 years, when you re-calibrate and make a different decision if necessary.

This is the most important election of a generation. Think carefully.

You do not have to come out of the closet, switch parties, or in any way run up against the public pressures of political tribalism. You can just vote, quietly, for the Democratic candidate, kindling the idea that the Republican party will steer itself back on a more American course. 

I hope you make that choice.

Dear American, You Have Permission to Say: Enough.

Dear American,

We-Agree-Russian (1)

You have permission to treat this one differently. You have permission to say: Enough.

Yesterday, the American President stood on foreign soil, next the smiling face of a murderous dictator who attacked our democratic system, and blamed America. The President disgraced the office that the American people allow him to hold.



This is not another random mistake in today’s political circus. The President of the United States’s first task is to stand as our champion out in the world. He failed.

You have permission to say: I won’t tolerate this one.

You probably already knew that the President was an extreme narcissist. You knew he shot from the hip. You knew he had “issues.” But you were willing to overlook that, because you hoped for change to our politics.

But after this, you have permission to re-evaluate. It does not mean that you were wrong to support him. It does not mean that you are giving up your principles. It does not mean that the liberals who post on Facebook were right all along. It only means that you’ve decided: Enough.

You will be tempted by excuses soon. The easy way is to take them, pretend that there is some explanation for the President’s disgrace, and fiddle away as usual. Please, please be stronger than that.

You will hear that the President was misunderstood. That it’s being blown out of proportion. That he really must be playing some sort of complex diplomatic game. That maybe he chastised the dictator behind closed doors.

You will hear distraction, mention of other people that you don’t like, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, everybody does it, they were worse, but what about this, on and on and on.

You will hear a “clarification” statement, hoping to quell your fears, correct the record, ease any concern. See, fixed, please move along.

Please don’t give in that easy.  You have permission to say: Enough.

As citizens, it’s our obligation.


Other Americans

Dear Sane One, We Need You.

I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Lurking.

You scroll down, reading, arguing in your head, but never responding. You listen to your husband, wife, neighbor, uncle as they rant. But you don’t engage. Nod, fake smile, change the subject.sanity1

You call yourself independent or maybe conservative. You’re one of the sane ones, but what can you do? Most of these issues are complicated, you realize, but all of that gets lost. There are only two loud voices screaming from the the end zones: Lock Up All the Kids or Open Borders. At least that’s what it seems like to you.

You don’t want to get involved. It’s not worth it, you think. But here’s the thing: You have to get involved. At least a little bit. We desperately need you.

I don’t have to convince you that the President is bananas. You already know that. He’s activating the worst in us, creating chaos, stoking the brush fire–the flames fuel him.

That’s where you come in. You’re important, because you’re a sane one. No single savior will descend from above, bringing the rain that cools the country–not Mueller, not Biden, not Oprah.

Instead, we need 75 million saviors, each putting out the fire, bucket by bucket, patch by patch. Each of us has a role to play, including you. Especially you, because you’re a sane one, and it’s so tempting for you not to get involved, to focus instead on books and grandkids and baseball and wine.

sanity2Politics are so ugly right now, and you won’t let it devour your energy. Because you’re sane. But, we need you. It grows uglier by the day because you’re sitting it out.

You don’t have to attend a rally or march (though you could). You don’t have to knock on doors or volunteer for candidates (though you could). You don’t have to participate in 45 comment discussions on Facebook (though you could).

Just don’t stay silent, sitting idly while the fire burns in your patch.

Point out when someone defends the grotesque. Be firm in rejecting lies. Do more than roll your eyes when excuses are made. Stand up for the better angels of our nature.

Do it your way, in your own corner, at your own tempo, but…Do it.sanity3

You may not realize it, but there are others, quiet ones, fellow lurkers, who will listen to you. Who are influenced by you. Who are inspired to say a little more by your example. Because you’re sane, and they respect that. You’re conservative or independent, and yet you speak out. They’ll see that. You can make a difference.

When you are 98 years old, remembering what life was like in this era, in the middle of the inferno, you’ll be proud. When your great grandchildren ask about it, you won’t say “I kept my head down and my mouth shut.” Instead, you’ll say that you let your sanity shine and tried to put out the fire as best you could. It will be your finest hour.


Live Blog: Election Day 2017


9:05pm: I’m going to call it a liveblogging night soon. However, I’ll be up for awhile watching these VA House races come in. Unbelievably, the Democrats have a chance to take the House back–17 seat swing. This is something that no one thought at all possible. The good night for the Democrats was assumed to be between 5-7 seats. This blew it out of the water. Virginia’s state districts are gerrymandered to all hell. But, the wave tonight has been so strong, that its overwhelming even that rigging. This should scare the hell out of Republicans in close districts who don’t even have that gerrymandered wall of protection.

8:45pm:  There is only so many times you can do this kinda thing (1,154?) before some of his supporters just pause and say, “Really?”…or maybe not…who knows. But here’s the obligatory Trump pretending that the thing he touched didn’t turn to garbage:


8:34pm: Remember that ballot initiative in Maine to expand Medicaid? It looks to be winning, though close. Yet, the trends based on where the early vote is coming from suggest it has a good chance of passing. This would be the first time ever that the people of a state overruled their Republican governor and accepted the expansion.

8:26pm: A general implication of tonight’s results (though the final win margins will affect things), from 538:

Does this kind of result push a few more Republicans in swing districts to retire? That makes holding the House harder for GOP. Incumbents are almost always more likely to win in a tough district. Right now, we are seeing a lot of GOP retirements in the House, but many of them are members who are about to lose their chairmanships because of term limits or members who may just be ready to move on. They are in safe districts. Dems have to hope tonight leads to a few more GOP House members who live in competitive districts deciding to retire.

8:22pm: The next focus should be on the VA House of Delegate races. These are the races that most pundits argue are the best predictor of how things are trending for the 2018 Congressional races. So far, there are already a few seats that he Ds have swung in the state. It may be around 5…or if it gets up to 10 it’ll be a huge Democrat night. We’ll see…


8:15pm: That’s it. It’s being called for Northam now…he’ll likely bring all other Ds on the ticket as well (though they will be closer)!

8:08pm: This summarizes what we are seeing so far (though the networks haven’t officially called it for Northam yet)…

8:07pm: This was not at all something we expected going into today:

8pm: As polls close in New Jersey, all networks are immediately calling it for Democrat Phil Murphy. This shouldn’t be just brushed off. Four years ago a Republican won with race by 22%.

7:58pm: This is an anti-Trump election in Virginia. Northam is winning in blue areas…running ahead of Hillary’s (winning) total by over 7% in most areas.

7:55pm: Wow. Perhaps the most outspoken social conservative Delegate in Virginia, Bob Marshall, is currently losing by nearly 6% to Danica Roam. If elected, she would be the first transgender state representative in history. Nearly 85% of the vote is already in.

7:44pm: With half of Loudoun County reporting, Gillespie is down 18%. He needed to keep that close to win. It looks like a weak “Trump” turnout is going to decide things. Gillespie is winning by the margins he needs in rural areas, but the raw figures are too low. And that’s in combo of being clobbered more than usual in blue areas.

7:41pm: To brighten the hearts of Northam supporters (including me). Its undeniable that all early results are great news for him (*exhale*):

7:38pm: The most interesting takeaway from the numbers that are officially being  reported in VA so far:

Gillespie is dominating in rural, Trump areas. BUT, he’s getting destroyed in non-Trump areas where he did not expect to win, but at least wanted to keep it close. In other words, the Trump base seems to be steady but not as big in numbers as the anti-Trump outrage. Or said another way, as was reflected in the exit polls, more people are specifically voting against Trump than for Trump in Virginia.

But its all very very early. I could eat my words.

7:27pm: I forgot about the absurdity of  TV election night coverage. By watching, I’ve just learned that based on the votes in so far, Ed Gillespie is doing exactly what he needs to do to win in rural VA. I then learned that Ralph Northam is doing exactly what he needs to do in NoVA to win. So….they’ll tie?

7:21pm: From 538…

It’s very early, but I’m looking at three counties where Trump did well and have some very early results. If we use the 2016 presidential election as a baseline, Northam is doing well enough in those three counties to win statewide. But let’s wait for more results

7:20pm: Harry Enten, a whiz kid at 538, took the exit poll data and did some math. His rough determination is a prediction that Northam looks to be up by about 5 points. Gillespie won men by 8% but Northam won women by 19%

7:17pm: Exit polls cannot be relied on that much. BUT, I just caught that some exit polls suggest that Northam beat Gillespie 62-36 among voters who decided in the last week. If true, that’s fantastic news for the D. In close races, those with the last few days momentum often week (Trump did just that to squeak out his victory last November)

7:12pm: To keep things in perspective, the Democrats potentially cruising to a big win in New Jersey shouldn’t be ignored. That is not always a gimme. A Republican won that race the last two cycles. The last time the Democrats won Governor’s races in NJ and VA on the same day was in 2005, the year before the big Dem sweep that gave them control of both houses of Congress.

7pm: Polls are now closed, but those in line right now will still be able to vote. Here’s one close turnout observer’s prediction. He is calling Northam winning by 90,000 votes. (McAuliffe won in 2013 by 2.5%, which was about 55,000 votes back then).

6:58pm: GOP in Virginia still confident that Gillespie can pull it out, because rural turnout may have increased just as much as in NoVA (I’ve heard 120% increase in some rural areas). Almost all of the turnout rates we’ve heard are from blue parts of the state. The red areas are still somewhat a mystery…so its all up in the air. Eeeeeek.

6:46pm: No matter what happens tonight, it does not guarantee anything for 2018. House races in VA and local races in other states are likely the best indicator of how generic party affiliation may affect the next federal election. They are a lot more predictive than if Gillespie squeaks out a win by 1-2 or if Northam does. The VA Gov’s race has gotten all the attention, but that’s just because the polls showed it to be close and its the “biggest” office. In other words, if things go sour around 9pm, don’t panic. This is just the beginning. If you survived the slow burning hell that was last November’s election night,  this is nothing.

6:40pm: Another sobering reminder and polls almost close and more information starts sputtering out. If last year taught us anything, its that nothing matters until the official results are tabbed.

6:24pm: Good reminder…


6:20pm: Another key exit poll question that would seem encouraging for Northam. Of actual voters, just under 40% identified as Democrats, just over 30% identified as Republicans.

6pm: Polls close in 1 hour. Also, I’m not sure what this suggests…

5:49pm: Fairfax County had 325,000 votes in at 5pm (2 hours left). In 2013, they had 306,000 total. The raw votes in this largest county will obviously be significantly higher than the last governor’s race. Though we don’t yet know how much is due to simply a larger population versus  higher turnout percentage.

5:45pm: As a comparison, the actual voters in New Jersey today disapprove of Trump 66% – 32%

5:40pm: Caution…

5:30pm:  The actual voters in the Virginia election today disapprove of Trump, 55% to 43%. However, many moderate Republican voters in NoVA and elsewhere may be tempted to cast a Gillespie ballot, even though they despise Trump.

5:27pm: More VA exit poll questions.

Reason for voting:

To support Trump – 16%

To oppose Trump – 32%

Trump wasn’t factor – 48%

Northam has to like those numbers from actual voters. Though it’s not a guarantee of anything. As a note of caution, all exit poll data can be very misleading. You can read many things into each question and cherry pick questions that suggest a result you like.

5:25pm: New Jersey’s exit poll data also give us an idea of how that one is headed. They essentially show what you’d expect. That Democrat Phil Murphy seems to be cruising. Republican Kim Guadagno is too closely tied to outgoing Gov. Chris Christie who had completely dismal approval numbers.

5:20pm:  Other exit poll stuff…

Good for Northam: McAuliffe’s approval rating is solid among voters (53% – 43%)

Bad for Northam: Most voters wanted to keep Confederate monuments (60%…though unclear how much voters identified Northam as wanting to take them down)

5:18pm: Exit polls specifics are coming soon. These are answers given by actual voters. Pollsters are always trying to determine “likely”  voters. Exit polls are perfect on that score, because the samples are the voters. Stuff I’ve seen so far that will affect things in VA..

*More college graduates voting than 2016

*Less white non-college graduates voting than 20167

This is Good for Northam

5:03pm – A little less than 2 hours until polls close in VA. The main question now is whether there is strong after-work voting to push the turnout above 2013, or if things are just so-so and the turnout rate mirrors 2013.

4:21pm: I just noticed that the “millenial” votes below are for election day only (both this year and in 2013). Considering absentee voting was significantly up this year, there is a good chance the turnout comparisons are even more optimistic for this year.

4:18pm: I’m not sure the exact accuracy of this (there were glitches earlier in the day), but here’s the 4pm update of the vote in key “millenial” precincts this year, as compared to last governor’s race. Note that a few are already over the previous vote. For example, if I’m reading this correctly, this precinct at VCU in Richmond already has 717 more votes than last time (and there was still 3 hours to go). All the others look to have a small enough gap that they could cross the 2013 figures by the time the polls close at 7pm.

County Precinct(s) Campus
% Millennial
(age 18-40)
2013 Votes
(Election Day Totals)
Election Day
2017 Votes
(by 12:30pm)
Election Day
2017 Votes
(by 4pm)
Election Day
Total 2017 Votes
(at Polls Close)
Vote Difference from 2013 Turnout
(E-Day Only)
Albemarle 202 – University Hall UVA 88.04% 1,064 576 1,050 0 -14
Arlington 018 – Park Lane none 73.12% 1,384 1,087 1,321 0 -63
Fairfax 134 – University
George Mason
96.83% 830 431 867 0 37
Montgomery 503 – Precinct E-3 and
603 – Precinct F-3
Virginia Tech 99.27% 705 341 701 0 -4
Norfolk (City) 403 – Brambleton Norfolk State 64.08% 290 140 196 0 -94
Richmond (City)
206 – Two Hundred Six and
214 – Two Hundred Fourteen
VCU 80.37% 944 1,003 1,661 0 717
Radford (City) 001 – East Precinct Radford 62.47% 845 574 893 0 48
Williamsburg (City)
002 – Matoaka
William & Mary
68.82% 2,217 1,127 1,840 0 -377

4:11pm: If you’re finishing up your last hour at work by browsing random things, you can kill ten minutes by checking out this New Yorker article that sums up this VA race nicely…

The race in Virginia has been a study in a specific form of political anxiety. […] [T]he surprise of Election Day, 2016, has left behind a vapor of uncertainty—perhaps (if you are technical) the electorate will be whiter and older than pollsters have assumed, or perhaps (if you are less so) Trump has unearthed grievances in the electorate that do not express themselves except in the anonymity of the voting booth. […] Plenty of tangible things are at stake in the Virginia election: whether Virginia’s Medicaid rolls will be slashed, which party will control the redistricting process after the 2020 census. But there is the intangible one, still unresolved, of whether Trump and Bannon uncovered something new and lasting in American politics, or whether politicians in both parties have been spooked by a ghost.


3:59pm: This group is trying to attract younger voters to the polls at Virginia Tech with a petting zoo.

Part of me: has it really come to this?
Another part of me: baby goats are always the right answer

3:46pm: Reminder: Fairfax Co. is the largest in the state by far (2x more populous than second place). Turnout here is critical for Northam.

3:44pm: More of these…

3:41pm: I’ll keep the turnout figures coming, because that’s really the main “news” to report right now. FYI: Falls Church is a deep blue place in Fairfax Co.

3:36pm: Remember, these are overall total percentages (48% total), so they can only go up from here. This is at 3pm, polls close at 7pm. Arlington is Northam territory…

3:34pm: As you hear more about the turnout numbers in each county, keep in mind the trends from past years. The overall turnout four years ago, when Terry McAuliffe-D was elected was 43%. Ideally, if figures come in higher than that, it’s good news for Northam; lower would be good news for Gillespie. It is more important to consider the turnout in individual counties as opposed to the overall figure. But, when the final county numbers come in, if you start seeing rates of 47% or higher in certain areas, that likely means those areas are over performing.


2:38pm: There are a lot of these going around today…


2:18pm: I don’t like to nitpick on silly mistakes. But this is too funny (and there can only be so many updates on the weather). After tweeting multiple times that the election was tomorrow, Don Jr. corrected himself and just sent this out. Tody! Lesson: if you are sending something out that you cannot later edit…pause, take a breath, and review before submitting.


2:15pm: Democrats ran many more candidates in open General Assembly seats this election. Early turnout trends suggest the biggest bumps in those districts where there candidates previously ran unopposed. In other words, the candidate surge down ballot is likely helping the top of the ticket races. This could support the argument that Democrats need to “Run Everywhere” in upcoming elections, even in places where they are very likely to lose. That’s the chatter right now, anyway. It all may change when final numbers come in and there is less speculation.

2:07pm: Let’s hope this means those final two hours see a surge in after-work voting…

1:59pm:  This election marks the first time that many former felons who have served their time will be allowed to vote in Virginia. The state is one of 4 in the country where a felony means you lose voting rights for the rest of your life. Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a blanket order changing that, but Republicans successfully sued to block the order. The Governor’s office then started handing back voting rights individually to those who had completed their sentence and parole (instead of issuing a blanket order). All told, around 142,000 felons had their rights restored, and about 42,000 were registered to vote in this election.

NOTE: More than half of those who re-gained the right to vote are African American. Amazingly, 1 in 5 black Virginians are barred from voting because of their criminal record.

1:49pm: More turnout stuff and whatnot. It may or may not mean anything. If you are a Northam supporter and want to believe it means that Ds are turning out hot. Do it. Whatever calms the nerves. 🙂

1:38pm: It’s been raining most of the morning here in Winchester, VA. But, as this points out, rain is usually the biggest factor in rural areas where precincts are not walkable. Research is torn on this. Some show that rain is clearly factor. And others show that rain is not as much of a factor in competitive races. Though, I will say it looks ominous that the clouds seems to snake from Richmond to Charlottesville to NoVA—all of Northam’s strongholds.

1:25pm: We’re not doing too shabby…

1:14pm: With all talk about turnout in NoVA, some Republicans are suggesting things are more complicated. There is reason to think that Gillespie will outperform Trump & Cuchinelli, particularly in some fiscally conservative parts of NoVA. His lobbyist, DC-insider cred is not a liability in those areas filled with government contractors. Of course, he ran full on Trumpian during the campaign, but his reputation may help him. It may come down to whether small gains in NoVA (though he’ll still lose there overall) are able to off-set potential decreases in support in the traditionally red areas of rural Virginia from less enthusiasm (though he’ll still win there overall).

1:05pm: Here’s a fascinating look at young voter turnout numbers. It’s updated throughout the day, with first numbers added a half hour ago…Millennial Indicator Precincts.

12:40pm: More turnout updates. Take with a grain of salt… (for those not familiar with VA: Alexandria/Arlington/NoVA/Fairfax/ are liberal population centers).


12:15pm:  Hourly reminder to avoid late night panic. Four years ago, Republican Ken Cuccinelli lead by 2.5% with 76% of the vote reported. He ended up losing to Democrat McAuliffe by 2.5%. The last quarter of the vote that comes in is likely to be significantly Democratic.

12:11pm: This is real. The President’s son has twice now tweeted about voting…tomorrow (the day after the election). Good lord.

12:05pm: If you follow just one Virginia House of Delegates race tonight. Make it this one

The most sensational race is unfolding in the 13th District, based in some of Northern Virginia’s most rapidly diversifying outer suburbs. Republican Del. Robert Marshall, a 25-year incumbent and an outspoken social conservative, faces well-funded Democrat Danica Roem, a local journalist and transgender woman. Marshall has refused to acknowledge Roem as a female.

12:00pm: We made it to the afternoon! Those not in a voting state today are likely most interested in the results to see which way the winds are blowing for 2018 Congressional races. The VA governor’s race is gobbling attention, but a better indicator is likely the VA General Assembly. That’s because they are based less on personality and more on general party swings

Virginia’s delegate races have often foreshadowed midterm results: In 2009, the GOP’s six-seat gain took Democrats by surprise and presaged Republicans picking up the House in 2010.

This year, if Democrats pick up fewer than five GOP-held seats, Republicans would probably take it as a relief. If Democrats pick up between five and 10 seats, it would confirm the House is in play. If Democrats surprise and gain 10 or more seats, it would be a sign they are probably on track to take back the House next year.


11:48am: Some things never change. On the odd chance that you get this call, ignore it.

11:40am: Whatever happens, it won’t be a money thing. Northam and Gillespie spent about the same on the race, about $19 million each.

11:25am: Note of caution for Northam supporters. Don’t panic early. The largest population centers (and biggest pool of votes for Northam), almost always report their results last. It is likely that Gillespie will look like he’s winning in returns for most of the night. Last year, Trump appeared ahead for hours after returns came in. BUT, Hillary ended up winning Virginia by 5%. Drama drama drama.

11:10am: To ensure the pessimists have their due, here is a scary (for Democrats) point made yesterday about how the polls have overestimated Democratic support on election day in years past. If these trends carry over to this year, Gillespie would win.

11:05am: We are getting first real turnout claims now. Twitter is aflutter with suggestions of very strong turnout in Northern Virginia areas (particularly Fairfax). That would obviously be good news for Northam. However, take ten deep breaths before letting it soak in. News of “record turnout” are made virtually every year, and it often evens out by the end.


11am:  Why is there such variation between polls? For one, statistically, there is always a margin of error. Methodologically, most of it triggers on what samples the pollster is using. They could be pulling in “registered” voters (many of whom don’t vote) or  “likely” voters. Likely voters are obviously a better pool, but determining who is a likely voter is not an exact science. Each pollster looks at different data and makes different choices to decide who is likely to vote. They then only call those people. When calling, they also ask the person directly how likely they are to vote. It’s all combined into some secret sauce to yield the final results.

Here is a good analysis of it…

This suggests that Northam’s supporters are more motivated to vote.

But among voters who say they voted in the last election for governor in 2013, Northam’s margin is just plus-two on the telephone poll, plus-four on the online survey. This suggests that Gillespie has an edge among habitual voters who are likely to vote in a low-turnout contest.

In other words, Northam have more supporters who say that they will vote today. BUT, when looking only at past voting history, Gillespie draws to almost a tie. It all may hinge on whether the people who claim to support for Northam actually get to the polls. 


10:25am: Probably more important than primary figures (but much harder to analyze) are the early/absentee votes. Here’s what we know:

  1. There was a surge in early voting in Virginia this election. For example, Fairfax County (by far the most populous in the state) had 41,751 early votes this year. Four years ago they only had 25,659. That is a huge jump. There are similar increases in counties throughout the state.
  2. We don’t know who those early votes are for. But, we can get an idea of who is being helped most by them depending on which parts of the state are seeing the largest early voting jump. Northam is expected to do well in all urban and suburban areas: NoVa, Richmond, etc.
  3. It seems like those suburban and urban areas (like Fairfax) are showing the biggest jump in early voting.  That would suggest that Northam is benefiting most. The idea is that the enthusiasm for early voting will also carry over into more enthusiasm in those same areas for voting on election day itself.

In short, if you wanted to read any tea leaves from the total absentee votes, then it bodes well for Northam. HOWEVER, this sort of early voting analysis is often wrong, and it definitely should not be taken as a strong predictor.

10:10am: Early on election day, most prognostication is based on random old numbers. Polls are obviously the big one. But there are other things to look at. Consider the primary election figures. This can be a gauge for the enthusiasm for each side. The takeaway from the June primary was that Democrats were significantly more enthused than Republicans.

Democratic turnout in that primary was 170% higher than in the previous election. Also, many more Democrats turned out versus Republicans — 543,000 vs. 366,000. Both races were contested, and the Republican race was actually much closer (which should have increased turnout). In other words, coming out of June, it seemed like the Democratic base was much more eager to cast ballots. If that carries over today, then Northam should clearly win.

9:25am: Yesterday, 538 released the best article yet summarizing the numbers side of the VA race. It includes a county by county analysis to follow along as results come in to see how Gillespie is performing as compared to previous candidates. That will be the best indicator of the state of things as the night goes on.

9:05am: The state of the VA Governor’s race on election day. Five final polls were released yesterday, here are the results:


Virginia Governor – Gillespie vs. Northam Monmouth* Northam 47, Gillespie 45 Northam +2
Virginia Governor – Gillespie vs. Northam FOX News* Northam 48, Gillespie 43 Northam +5
Virginia Governor – Gillespie vs. Northam Quinnipiac* Northam 51, Gillespie 42 Northam +9
Virginia Governor – Gillespie vs. Northam The Polling Company (R) Northam 47, Gillespie 46 Northam +1
Virginia Governor – Gillespie vs. Northam Christopher Newport Univ.* Northam 51, Gillespie 45 Northam +6


8:30am: Most of this live-blog will be about the horse-race…who seems to be winning and losing at any given moment. I admit that is kind of grotesque, because there are very real issues and ideas that will affect actual lives depending on the results. That is what matters, not the adrenaline rush of your side being up or down. But with that disclaimer aside, I’ll be ranting about whose up or down.

7:55am: Most talk has been about the Virginia Governor’s race. Yet, there’s a lot more for political nerds to pay attention to. They all matter locally, but the trends tonight will impact the entire country:

  1. New Jersey Governor – The Democrat is expected to win, but by how much?
  2. Virginia General Assembly – The Republicans are one seat away from a veto-proof majority in Senate, and have a stranglehold on House. Can the Democrats flip some seats? Will that be mirrored in other states in 2018?
  3. Utah Special Senate Election – Can a third party gain momentum? Unhappy moderates in Utah formed a 3rd party “United Utah,” and are running a candidate to replace retiring Republican Jason Chaffetz. The Republican will win the seat, but how much support will this new group have? Remember, a shocking 23% of Utah residents voted for 3rd party candidate Evan McMullin in the presidential election.
  4. Maine Healthcare Expansion Ballot Initiative – Maine’s governor has vetoed Medicaid expansion five times. But now the people have a chance to vote to override him. No state has
    taken advantage of the Medicaid expansion option in the Affordable Care Act via ballot initiative. This is the first test.  In other words, when the public has the option to vote directly on ACA expansion, how does it go?
  5. Control of Washington State Senate – State governments typically make more decisions that affect people’s lives than the federal government. In Washington state, a single special election today will decide which party controls the Senate. Like all of today’s races, it will also be used as an omen to determine which party has the advantage going into the 2018 election.

7:15am: Rick Gates–recently arrested in the Mueller probe for, among other things, Conspiracy Against the United States–was granted temporary release from house arrest so that he could go vote….for Republican Ed Gillespie.  There is really no excuse to sit this out. Just do it. 

7am: Voted. Whew. That is a load off. My work for the day is mostly done. Fellow Virginians, please do the same. I promise, you’ll feel like a stack of bricks has been lifted from your straining back and the clouds will begin to part as a ray of sunny warmth bathes your face. Reminder: You must present an ID to vote. Many different IDs work, AND you can still use them a year after they are expired. Curious about your polling place? Look HERE.



Dear Virginia, The Nation is Counting on Us. Let’s Not Blow It.

Dear Virginia-

It’s almost here: election day. On Tuesday we’ll be picking city officials and all state officers. Most eyes, however, are on a single race: Governor. Democrat Ralph Northam v. Republican Ed Gillespie. The last polls have the race tied. But this election is about more than Virginia.

Ralph Northam is the best candidate to lead the state. He is a soft-spoken pediatric neurologist, Army veteran, and supremely decent human being. He will act fairly and hold the high tide of crazy at bay.

But the results will ripple beyond state borders. They’ll echo across the country and may affect every aspect of policy and politics in the United States.

Here’s why:

  1. This VA governor’s race is the first major election in a “purple” place where a moderate is facing a candidate who has gone full-on Trump.
  2. It will be considered the barometer of the political value of embracing the president’s rhetoric. Will following along with Trump help you or hurt you politically as a Republican?
  3. The group of people who can stop the current national madness are reasonable Republican members of Congress. (We can’t do anything about the lunatics right now).
  4. Those moderate Rs will decide the fate of the tax bill, healthcare, court appointments, and responses to anything that the Mueller investigation uncovers.
  5. When casting votes, they won’t make their decision with brave, moral clarity. They will base it on how it affects their prospect at re-election.
  6. If the political winds suggest that you can embrace Trumpism and win, even in a balanced place like Virginia…then they will be far more likely to embrace it. They will avoid rocking the boat and let the madness play on.
  7. BUT, if the winds suggest otherwise—that the fever is beginning to break and moderate fairness is back in style—then they may find stiffness in their spines to say NO to the crazier developments that are undoubtedly down the pike.

This is a very long way of saying: For the Love of God, if You Live in Virginia, Please Please Please Vote on Tuesday.  

The two sides are not persuading each other right now, they are simply trying to out-hustle each other. It is all about turnout. We cannot let crazy out-maneuver reasonableness.

Tell yourself, tell your spouse, tell your roommate, your co-workers, your parents, and anyone else who is not under the spell. Please tell them that this is not a time to sit out and see what happens. It’s a time to push back.

Photo Credit: Ania Mendrek Flickr via Compfight cc