Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

5:30pm: All is not lost for Melissa Bean in IL-8, but it might take a few days to know the final results in a district few people had on their list. (It’s one of three districts I listed as “likely Democratic” in which the GOP is leading.) She has closed the gap to 550 votes and 9000 absentee ballots remain; an extrapolation based on the absentee ballots already counted suggest she could survive. Another Democrat who looked to be in rough shape but could pull it out is Jerry McNerney in CA-11; with all precincts reporting, he is ahead by a small 121 votes so that race will be decided by the remaining absentee ballots.

Things are a bit more clear in other remaining House races: CA-20 has yet to be called, but Democratic Rep. Costa is trailing by 2% so it’s hard to see absentee ballots saving him. Rep. Grijalva has claimed victory in AZ-7. In AZ-8, Rep. Giffords is on top by 2000 votes but there are a lot of provisional ballots to be counted. In KY-6 and VA-11, Democrats Ben Chandler and Gerry Connolly are ahead by 600 votes and 1000 votes with all precincts reporting. And that leaves us with NY-25 and the Washington seats, where we’re just waiting for additional counts.

4:30pm: Let’s continue deciphering through the results. As I have already pointed out several times, the true site of the Democratic bloodbath is at the legislative level. Hundreds of Democratic seats flipped to Republicans, wiping off much of the party’s bench in many states. In New Hampshire, the Senate went from 14-10 Democratic to 19-5 Republican; the Assembly went from 222-176 Democratic to 296-104 Republican - just staggering losses. In the Michigan House, a 23-seat Democratic advantage became a 13-seat Republican advantage. In the Iowa House, a 13-seat Democratic advantage became a 22-seat Republican advantage.

In the Texas House, which Democrats once had some hope of picking-up, they collapsed from 73 seats out of 150 to about 50. In the Montana House, a 50-50 tie has been transformed into a 40-seat Republican advantage. In North Carolina, Republicans not only seized both chambers for the first time in 120-years, but they did so very decisively! In the Tennessee House, a 2-seat Republican edge is now a 31-seat Republican edge. In the Michigan Senate, Republicans now hold 71% of seats; in the Ohio Senate, 69% of seats! And the list goes on, with staggering Democratic losses in places like Minnesota (which I already mentioned), Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

Here again, California bucked the trend; both chambers remained pretty much stable. Democrats also appear to have saved endangered majorities in the Nevada Senate, the Colorado Senate and both chambers of the Washington legislature.

Democrats can also point to strong results in other down-ballot races, none more important than Kamala Harris’s apparent victory in the California Attorney General race. The San Francisco DA appears to have prevailed by about 15,000 votes (the race has yet to be called, but all precincts have reported). This means that California really was golden for Democrats in general, as they swept all statewide offices, but for progressives in particular. Eric Schneiderman clinched his victory last night, but he is another very bright spot for the left.

However, Richard Cordray and Dan Gelber’s defeats in Ohio and Florida’s Attorney General races are tough blows for Democrats; Cordray in particular had launched investigations into foreclosure fraud (he lost to former Senator Mike DeWine). Another victory for conservatives, this one in Iowa: They failed to get one of their own elected Attorney General in a fiercely contested race, but they managed to oust all three of Iowa Justices who were up for retention this year over their vote to legalize gay-marriage.

12:30pm: Dan Malloy will be the next Connecticut Governor, a comforting pick-up for Democrats who have been chasing this governorship since 1991! Malloy was the slight favorite through the fall but Foley mounted a late surge that nearly overtook the Stamford Mayor. Democrats will now have full control of state government, as they held on to their legislative majorities.

However, it’s becoming increasingly clear just how brutal Election Day was for Democrats at the state level. No result is more shocking than Minnesota: Democrats had a 87-47 majority in the state House and a 46-21 majority in the state Senate. They lost control of both, in what amounts to an unbelievable bloodbath of incumbents. (And yet, Democrat Mark Dayton is clinging to a 9,000 vote lead in the Governor’s race.) And it also looks like Democrats will lose control of the New York state Senate after all, which will be rough both in terms of state government and very importantly of redistricting. On the other hand, Democrats can look towards Hawaii, where they picked-up a state Senate to expand their majority to… 24-1!

11am: Good morning everyone! The dust is settling on last night’s bloodbath, but Democrats just got an important call in Colorado: The Denver Post project Senator Michael Bennet has won re-election, yet another remarkable save for the party given how brutal things got down-ballot. This means that some of the Tea Party’s most prized candidates (Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Christine O’Donnell) went down last night; I doubt the GOP would have lost these races had these three candidates lost their primary. This leaves Washington as the sole Democratic-held seat left on the map, and at the moment Democrats look likely to prevail; that would leave the GOP at +6.

But on the gubernatorial front, the GOP just got one of their best results of the night: In what was one of Election Day’s biggest prizes, the Florida governorship went to Rick Scott. Alex Sink substantially outperformed compared to nearly all other Democrats in her state, but FL just sung too far to the right this year - as early voting patterns had already predicted. However, Florida voters also deprived Republicans of their gerrymandering power, which should be huge in 2012: Amendments 5 and 6 both passed with more than 60%, so politicians will now be bound by tight rules in drawing new maps. Florida has some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country, so this should bode well for Democrats improving their current share of 6 House seats out of the state’s 25…

Another gubernatorial pick-up the GOP just secured: Maine, which elected a staunch conservative in a 3-way race (Paul LePage). Democrats do have some good news to celebrate at the Governor’s level, however: Peter Shumlin will be the next Governor of Vermont, while Mark Dayton and Pat Quinn are holding on in Minnesota and Illinois - the latter being one of the night’s most stunning survivors. In Connecticut, Democrat Dan Malloy trailed all night but he has now taken a small lead over Tom Foley; that would be an important pick-up for the party. Oregon remains close.

At the House level, MI-9 has been called for Democrats, and I can’t imagine AZ-7 and AZ-8 won’t be called soon either. Rep. Gerry Connolly held on as the final VA-11 precincts were counted, but this could go to a recount; but Rep. Costa, who led when I went to bed last night, is now trailing in CA-20 by 700 votes. In CA-11, Rep. Jerry McNerney is ahead by 121 votes with all precincts counted; this should go to absentee ballots and probably a recount.

4:50am: This will be my final update for the night. And I don’t need to tell you how brutal this was for Democrats: A House swing of about 60 seats was an unthinkable outcome just a year ago - and as I point out below it is still plausible that the final number approach the 70-seat mark for the GOP!

There are some silver-lining for House Democrats, starting with the fact that the biggest losers seem to be Blue Dog incumbents; also, the many House districts they had grown worried about that they saved (all the Massachusetts, Iowa and Maine districts). And Democrats looking for consolation would do best to look at the Senate, where Harry Reid’s unlikely victory and Michael Bennet and Patty Murray’s competitive showing means that the GOP might be held to a gain of 6 seats - a showing that is at the lower-end of what was the range of realistic outcomes. (Both CO and WA remain too close to call, however.) That said, Democrats will only control 52-53 Senate seats next year, a far tougher proposition than the 111th Congress’s 59. And Joe Sestak and Alexi Giannoulias’s close losses have to depress Democrats.

But it is at the local level that the GOP has the most to celebrate. Here, it really was a bloodbath. Just take a look at the Minnesota House: Democrats had a 87-47 majority going in, but Republicans seized control of the chamber! The same thing happened in Michigan’s House. The GOP also has full control of the North Carolina legislature for the first time in 120 years; they picked-up both chambers of Wisconsin and New Hampshire’s legislature. In Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, they seized the state House to complement their already existing Senate majority. And contrary to what I wrote earlier, it does look like the GOP captured the narrowest of majorities in the New York Senate. This will mean Republicans will have a lot of latitude to implement policies at the state level, not to mention they’ll have control over redistricting in a lot of states.

Also: Longtime Rep. Jim Oberstar has fallen in MN-8, so make that +59 for the GOP and another depressing loss for Democrats.

And one last comment: If Democrats had to pick just one state in which to do uncharacteristically well in (in fact, sweep most everything), they would probably have to choose California. And that’s what has happened.

4:30am: A recap of what’s left uncounted:

  • Senate: Republicans stand at +6. Colorado and Washington are outstanding, and Democrats are at this hour optimistic they will hold both. That said, there is still a long way to go in Washington and Ken Buck is still 9000 votes ahead in Colorado - a margin Democrats are hopeful they can overcome since Denver and Boulder are underreporting. Alaska has also not been called, but Scott McAdams is out of the running so the race will remain in GOP hand; we might not know for weeks whether Lisa Murkowski or Joe Miller win the race.
  • House: Republicans stand at +58. (I shouldn’t have put KY-6 and IL-8 in the Democratic and GOP column, respectively, so I pulled them back.) The following House races are still uncalled: AZ-7, AZ-8, MI-9, VA-11, WA-9, NY-25, and KY-6 (where Democrats are currently ahead); IL-8 and MN-8 (where Republicans are currently ahead); and CA-11, CA-20 and WA-2, where things are pretty much tied. So we’re talking about a wave that could still go as high as +70!
  • Governor: Democrats holding on to an unlikely 9000-vote lead in Illinois and a more expected 9000-vote lead in Minnesota; they are also slightly ahead in Vermont. Republicans, meanwhile, remain ahead in Florida, Connecticut and Oregon. Each of these races could still turn around. Connecticut, for instance: Only 26% of New Haven and none of Bridgeport has reported, which could be enough for Dan Malloy to close the 11,000 vote gap.

4am: California is a bright spot for the left tonight. First, voters elected Democrats in all but one of the statewide races; that one race is the Attorney General contest, which is too close to call. Second, they rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended the state’s law aimed at battling global warming. Third, they passed Proposition 25, which allows the budget to be passed by a majority-vote rather than a 2/3rds-vote. This enhances the powers of state Democrats; and given that the party will also control the Governor’s Mansion thanks to Jerry Brown’s victory, this should change the tenor of California’s fiscal debates over the next few years.

3:55am: Make it +59, as Rep. Walt Minnick has been defeated by Raul Labrador in ID-1. This is just a brutal district for Democrats, but Labrador had been almost entirely abandoned by Republicans so this has to be considered an upset victory for the GOP.

3:50am: Coleen Hanabusa has picked-up Hawaii’s 1st District from GOP Rep. Charles Djou. This is Democrats’ third-pick of the night (really, Dan Seals, really?). And that will be it for them, since CA-3 was just called for GOP Rep. Lungren despite Bera’s surprisingly strong challenge. My count now leaves the GOP at +57 in the House, with 10 Dem-held districts still up in the air.

3:40am: Dan Malloy trails by 25,000 votes in Connecticut’s gubernatorial race after a late surge by Republican Tom Foley that had been picked-up over the past week-end. His hope: Bridgeport hasn’t reported anything, which will close the gap, but he will need more. Can he find it? The situation is similar in Florida, where Alex Sink still trails by 55,000 votes as state officials have apparently decided to stop counting for the night.

3:25am: Of the 11 important House races that have yet to be called. Democrats are at the moment slightly ahead in AZ-7, AZ-8, HI-1, MI-9, VA-11 and WA-9. Republicans are slightly ahead in ID-1 and MN-8. CA-11, CA-20 and WA-2 are just very very close at the moment.

3:25am: Ken Buck’s lead has collapsed to 700 votes in Colorado, and there’s still a long way to go. If Democrats pull off that race and also win Washington, where they’re feeling confident, they’ll have managed to hold their losses in the upper-chamber to just 6 seats - the lower-end of realistic outcomes. That would be a surprisingly good result given that the House landscape was far more brutal.

3:10am: By my count, Republicans have clinched 61 Democratic-held House seats at this point while losing 2, putting them at a net +58. Also by my count, the result in 11 races (one of them held by the GOP) remains up in the air: CA-11, CA-20, AZ-7, AZ-8, HI-1, ID-1, IL-8, MI-9, MN-8, VA-11, WA-2. (KY-6, CA-47, NY-25, WA-9 have not been called yet, but Democratic incumbents look like they’ve hang on.) That means the GOP’s upper-limit at this point is a staggering +68! I might have forgotten districts, however.

2:50am: With all precincts reporting, Rep. Dina Titus is trailing by 2000 votes in NV-3, another tough loss for Democrats. The formidable Harry Reid machine was not enough to pull her across the finish-line… In better news for Democrats, Rep. Jim Matheson held on in UT-2 thanks to the late counting of the Salt Lake votes.

Also: I apologize for dropping the ball on keeping an overall look of the House, I will try to pull that together soon so we know where we stand more clearly.

2:40am: If this holds, it would be an important save for Democrats - one I am surprised they managed given how rough things got for New York’s House incumbents: It appears that the New York state Senate will remain in Democratic hands, as both parties picked-up two seats. Two Democratic-held seats have yet to be called, but one has finished counting and the GOP would have to win both to secure control. For Democrats to take full control of state government would mean the ability to draw the new legislative and congressional maps, which would put freshmen Republican House members on the defensive.

2:30am: I admit I underestimated Pat Quinn’s survival skills, as the Illinois Governor is hanging on by 8000 votes with 93% reporting. Two more very tight Democratic leads in Vermont and Minnesota. And a fourth gubernatorial race that has yet to be called is Florida, where Rick Scott has a 55,000 vote lead; but Democratic counties are underreporting. We’ve stuck at 89% reporting for at least an hour, however.

2:20am: Oregon joins Massachusetts in saving all of its vulnerable Democrats, with OR-5 the last to be called. The gubernatorial race is too close to call: Republican Dudley is leading 50-48, but Multnomah County (Portland) is underreporting.

2:15am: Rep. John Salazar goes down in CO-3. He had picked-up this red-leaning seat in 2004, another tough year for his party, so Democrats were hoping he could outperform yet again. Also in Colorado, Republicans captured a majority of the state House. And yet, Michael Bennet isn’t out of it - far from it: The Senator trails by 9,000 votes with 80% of ballots reporting, but Boulder and Denver are both underreporting.

Democrats can still hope to hold the GOP at a relatively disappointing 6-seat Senate gain, but they’ll have to win both Colorado and Washington.

2:10am: While we weren’t looking, IN-2 was called for Rep. Joe Donnelly and NM-1 was called for Martin Heinrich, both important saves for Democrats. Also, Rep. Carnahan barely survived in MO-5; he wasn’t expected to lose, but given how rough Missouri turned out to be for Democrats, they should be relieved he hang on. In ot

her races we were following early in the night, Rep. Chandler is hanging on by 600 votes in KY-6 (99% reporting) and Rep. Connolly is hanging on by 500 votes in VA-11 (99% reporting). Both races should go into overtime, with a fair amount of absentee ballots to be counted in VA-11.

2am: Note that New York Democrats are now saying that they will keep the New York Senate. I’ll try to look at the race-by-race picture now; if true, it would be an important save for Democrats, who would be able to gerrymander the state map to take out some of the 5 Republicans who were just elected to the House tonight. Speaking of New York, Rep. Tom Bishop has been called the winner in NY-1; Rep. Dan Maffei appears like he’ll survive in NY-25.

1:55am: If you thought the House was brutal for Democrats, the state legislatures are just a bloodbath. The GOP has seized control only of chambers that looked well within its reach (the Ohio House, the Indiana House and the Pennsylvania House, both chambers of the New Hampshire ), but also of chambers that looked like probable Democratic holds: the Michigan House, both chambers of the North Carolina legislature. The GOP will also control both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature, giving them full control of that’s state government given Scott Walker’s election to the Governor’s Mansion.

1:50am: Here’s a nice victory for Democrats: Neil Abercrombie will the next Hawaii Governor. In HI-1, Coleen Hanabusa has the early lead against GOP Rep. Charles Djou in what would be just the third pick-up for Democrats (oh Dan Seals…)

1:40am: Who knew places like Georgia and North Carolina would be so much more kind to Democrats than New York or Pennsylvania? I just noticed that Rep. Bishop has pulled ahead by 2% in GA-2 after trailing for much of the night; Rep. Barrow defended GA-12. That means conservative Rep. Marshall is the night’s only Georgia loser - that’s one loss Democrats can live with. But the GOP can smile in the gubernatorial race. While it was clear Nathan Deal was the favored going into Election Day, it looked like he might miss the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff; he easily cleared it, and he will be the next Georgia Governor. Democrats once were hopeful about this race.

1:25am: Democrats have now lost two seats in Arizona, with Rep. Mitchell losing re-election in AZ-5. However, Democrats are holding on to narrow leads in AZ-7 and AZ-8, which would both be important saves for the party; the night isn’t over there, however. And Democrats can also be relieved for having saved CA-18… though a lot of California races remain on the table: CA-20, CA-11 and CA-47.

1:20am: Democrats are holding on to small leads in Minnesota and Vermont’s gubernatorial races. But a lot of ballots remain to be counted, and Mark Dayton’s Minnesota lead seems particularly tenuous to me as GOP-leaning districts seem to have undercounted their votes. Florida also remains on the table, as Alex Sink has narrowed Rick Scott’s lead to less than 60,000 votes.

1:10am: Rep. Bill Owens saves his seat in NY-23, even though Rep. Scott Murphy loses in NY-20. I would have expected it to be the other way around. I believe this means that the GOP has netted five seats in NY so far (NY-13, NY-19, NY-20, NY-24, NY-29), and they are still in the hunt in NY-1 and NY-25. Democratic incumbents are narrowly in the lead in both. And in IL-8, Rep. Melissa Bean now trails by just 700 votes; the remaining precincts are in Democratic-leaning territory, but there just aren’t a lot left.

1am: Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin loses re-election to Kristi Noem in SD-AL, which is among the most important results of the night. The race had long looked like a toss-up, and Democrats will have to move quickly to find out who they’ll be able to run for Senate in 2014 when Tim Johnson probably retires. Republicans have also picked-up open WV-1 , though Democrats should not too sad about this race since their nominee Oliverio had shown signs that he would consider a party switch.

11:55am: Rep. Steve Kagen has fallen in WI-8 and the GOP picked-up the open WI-7 - these two were expected. But here are a Democratic incumbents who survived tough battles and can go on to fight another day: Rep. Ron Kind in WI-3, Rep. Peterson in MN-3, Rep. Peter DeFazio in OR-4, Rep. David Wu in OR-1, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in NY-4.

11:50am: Reps. Bobby Bright and Mike McMahon lose AL-02 and NY-13, respectively, in what continues to be an unthinkably large GOP tsunami. Note that with Bright’s loss, the Blue Dog Caucus’s most conservative wing has really been decimated; Marshall, Bright, Taylor, Boyd… Who remains besides Dan Boren? In other dismal news for Republicans, Ken Buck has taken a 3% lead in Colorado’s Senate race.

11:47am: Republicans pick-up AZ-1, MI-7 and open NH-02. The latter two races had looked like they were trending Democrats’ way in recent weeks. Democrats are catching very few breaks at the House level, and most of what had looked like toss-ups is going against them.

11:40am: Harry Reid’s victory has been confirmed by the AP and NBC News. It is truly incredible that an incumbent so unpopular was able to win re-election in what has to be one of the most atrocious nights for his party in modern history. And speaking of Democratic survivors, longest-serving congressman Rep. Dingell managed to pull himself across the finish-line in MI-15 and Martin Heinrich is holding on in NM-1.

11:32am: Democrats are scoring victories here and there, but overall it’s hard to know which disaster to highlight. Rep. Melissa Bean is trailing in IL-8; Rep. Solomon Ortiz is trailing in TX-27; Rep. Grijalva is in a tight race in AZ-7. We really shouldn’t be talking about any of these races.

11:30am: Fox calls Harry Reid the victor in Nevada’s Senate race. Wow. Just wow. If this holds, what a save by the Majority Leader. If I had told you a year ago that Democrats would have an atrocious Election Day, who would have imagined Reid would be among the survivors? If Fox’s call holds, this would be as important a save as any for Democrats.

11:25am: Dan Seals has lost IL-10 for the third time in a row. Remind me again why Democrats thought it’d be a good idea to nominate him again? This was as winnable a seat as any Democrats had this year, just brutal that they lost it. Even more brutal: Rep. Melissa Bean is now trailing in IL-8. I had left this race on my chart as “likely Democratic,” and it would be a big big upset.

11:25am: Illinois’s Senate seat has been called for Republican Mark Kirk, yet another brutal loss for Democrats. Republicans have now captured 6 Democratic seats, and all eyes turn to Nevada, Colorado and Washington. While Democratic incumbents are leading in all three at the moment, the same was true in Illinois and Pennsylvania just a few hours ago. This is really a big loss for the party; Joe Sestak might have been the clear underdog, but Democrats had hope Giannoulias would prevail due to Illinois’s clear Democratic leanings.

12:20am: Due to bizarre technical issues, I am no longer able to update my original results thread - so I have moved the party here.

16 Responses to “Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races”


  1. 1 Aris

    Great job tonight. We appreciate the hard work.

  2. 2 Gerard

    Daniel,

    Thanks for the great job. I was out earlier in the evening, and raced home and read your page first, it is always clear and concise. Just a question, any idea what might be causing the underreporting, especially on the East Coast? They have been closed for 5 or more hours. Are they still using pencils and yellow pads to do their tallies? I though Florida updated so much of their voting equipment.

    I am also really curious at how the polling in the Nevada Senate race was so far off base, perhaps we’ll learn more about this in the very near future.

  3. 3 Ron

    Actually, Democrats appear to be headed for a 31-31 tie in the New York State Senate.

  4. 4 sevan (Paris)

    Thanks, Daniel! impressive and usefull job…

  5. 5 as

    Thanks for your work and clarity Daniel.

  6. 6 Nathan

    Congratulations to Florida on dealing a blow to the gerrymander. It should be mentioned that quite a few Republicans appear to have voted against their party’s proximate interests for the benefit of better government structure. Good for them.

    Also, have you guys noticed how far Democrats have sunk in Kansas? Sure, it’s a red state, but two years removed from holding a congressional district and the governorship, Dems have now earned just 23% in an open-seat Senate race. In many west-central counties, their vote was under 10%! This is an epic collapse even in the context of a conservative state.

  7. 7 Panos

    I would love someone to explain me the extent of the Democratic losses.
    Sure, the economy is bad not to THAT extent. And Obama’s approval rating was much better than Bush’s in ‘06 and ‘08 or Reagan’s in 1982.
    And even then I can’t explain the huge legislative losses in states like Texas, Minnesota or Arizona where the Dems weren’t even the party in power.

    I think that Nate Silver might have offered the best explanation a couple of weeks ago: abnormal Republican enthusiasm is the real factor behind Democrats apparent collapse.

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    Thanks for your great work on this Taniel. I hope you will write some post-election analysis once the dust settles on these midterms.

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