Thursday, November 03, 2016

Election Night Guide, Part 2: California-Georgia

(I am checking through every state and my political predictions for Election Night 2016: If you have missed any of the other pieces, please click here: Pt. 1: Alabama-Arkansas)

Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-CA)

President: Here’s where Hillary Clinton starts winning something.  California has shown Trump at historic lows in the polls, perhaps giving Clinton the greatest victory margin for a Democrat in a generation.  Easy win for her, and potentially costly for Republicans down-ballot.
Senate: Compounding that turnout issue for the GOP is that the Republicans don’t have a Senate candidate thanks to a bit of luck on the Democrats’ side and the fact that they have the top-two system here that advanced Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, to the November 8th election.  Harris has had a dominating lead, winning over most Democrats, as well as white and African-American voters, while Sanchez holds a small lead with Hispanic voters.  Harris will win, holding this seat for the Democrats, but Sanchez may have an effect down-ballot if there’s enough excitement for her candidacy.  Most polls show Republicans are skipping the contest rather than vote for the more moderate Sanchez.
House: If the Democrats are going to win the House, it will almost assuredly require them to run a clean sweep of the California seats.  The top of the ballot being so unfavorable to Republicans makes me think that their two shots at a pickup here (Rep. Ami Bera in the 7th and the open 24th district) are probably gone-the Democrats lucked out there, particularly Bera who picked the exact right cycle to cross organized labor.  The bigger question is the four GOP seats: CA-10, CA-21, CA-25, and CA-49.  All four of these seats have increasingly looked like they will go to the Democrats in recent days, delivering a big cut to the GOP in a state that, despite its blue roots, has their third largest House delegation.  My gut tells me that CA-10 and CA-25 are the two most vulnerable; the 10th has a robust Latino population, and the 25th is an open seat this cycle with a pretty decent Democratic challenger.  The 21st is the one that delivered President Obama his biggest margin of victory of the four, and could be swept away in a wave but David Valadao has represented this seat well and the Democrats got a B-list candidate.  In the 49th, it’s hard for me to put into words as a Democrat what a joy it could be for Darrell Issa, a longtime thorn in the side of the Obama administration, to be ejected from his House seat, and it would almost entirely happen as a result of his tight hug on Donald Trump (though he’s countered that with a kitchen sink strategy that included comments about him siding with President Obama, something POTUS himself even scoffed).  I’m going to say, though, that while all of these need to go blue to win back the House (spoiler alert: I don’t think the Democrats can take the House), I’m going to guess only the 10th and 25th go to the Democrats, with Valadao and Issa dodging a coattails loss. Democrats +2


President: Though her support has occasionally been a bit soft, Hillary Clinton has led in every major poll coming out of Colorado.  Part of why I have been so confident in Clinton is that she has had a bit of a stranglehold on Virginia and Colorado; combined with New Mexico, New Hampshire, and all of the states won by Democrats the past four elections, that’s the White House.  The fact that the rug hasn’t fallen out here is a crucial reminder of how difficult Trump has had it since he couldn’t replicate the success of George W. Bush here or in the Old Dominion.
Senate: Sen. Michael Bennet surprised a lot of people (me included) six years ago when he pulled off a surprise victory while many of his peers were losing six years ago.  As a result of that, some of us thought this might be competitive, but Republican Darryl Glenn has been an embarrassment for the party and greatly underperformed expectations.  This will be a much easier ride for Bennet into a third term.
House: Democrats should be commended for landing a strong candidate in the third district, but State Sen. Gail Schwartz needed a bigger margin that Clinton will likely get nationally in order to take on Scott Tipton in the conservative 3rd district.  A much more achievable option is the 6th, where Rep. Mike Coffman (R) is in the fight for his political life against State Sen. Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.  When I was talking about coattails that Clinton could have up-top, this is one of the races I was thinking of, as if there is any sort of Democratic wave it’s difficult to see Coffman winning, but in a neutral environment I think he takes it.  If Hillary even wins by five I think this is over with, and I do, so (against what I was planning on doing when I started writing this article), I’m betting ever-so-slightly on Carroll.  I’m not confident, but the fundamentals seem to favor her ever-so-slightly Democrats +1


President: It may be one of the more conservative states in New England, but as college-educated white voters seem to be Trump’s Achilles heel, this will be an easy victory for Clinton.
Senate: Remember when Linda McMahon ran for the Senate and spent like $100 million only to lose by staggering margins?  Yeah, that was hilarious.  Also, Richard Blumenthal will be winning a second term.


President: The home of Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t failed for the Democrats in decades, and it won’t this year.  Easy win for HRC.
Governor: Since the death of Attorney General Beau Biden, the Democrats’ second choice for the vacant governor’s seat, Rep. John Carney, has been the frontrunner and eight years after he initially wanted the job, will win the governor’s mansion.
House: With Carney moving into his new digs in Dover, Delaware is near-certain to end its long, long streak of having never sent a woman to Congress as Lisa Blunt Rochester will succeed him.  Only Mississippi and Vermont now have never sent a woman to Congress.

District of Columbia

President: It’s only three votes and it’s so blue it becomes a footnote in most elections, but it’s worth noting that DC will deliver its three electoral votes to Hillary Clinton.  As it could get close nationally, every bit matters. 

Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)

President: A chill still sits in my spine every time I think about Florida and the presidential race, and calling it.  Even 16 years later, I suspect every Democrat looks to Florida with a sense of foreboding, thinking of what will happen.  Since I’ve called a couple of races that were going either way for the Democrats so far, I am headed a different direction here.  I could make a very strong case for Hillary Clinton winning in Florida, but early voting numbers here are not as strong as they should be (African-American turnout in particular is down), and as a result I think I’m going to predict a major victory for Trump in the Sunshine State.  This isn’t the end of the road for Democrats (thanks to advances in the map since 2000, it’s more a must-win for the GOP than both sides), but this would be a huge victory for Trump.
Senate: This races infuriates me, so we’re going to make this brief.  The DSCC and particularly Sen. Chuck Schumer, for whatever reason have decided that they want to abandon Rep. Patrick Murphy, despite polls showing a close election and Sen. Marco Rubio being a likely Republican nominee for president in 2020 if he wins.  I keep having nightmares of Nevada in 2012, where Shelley Berkley’s close margin of defeat probably could have been erased with more effort from national Democrats.  If Murphy loses by a similar margin, you’ll hear the profanity coming from my apartment.  Either way, though, Rubio is likely to avoid the end of his career this year thanks in part to Democratic incompetence.
House: Like California, this race is going to be a major player in whether the Democrats win big gains in the House.  It’s worth noting that, thanks to mid-decade redistricting, Democrats and Republicans have likely swapped the 2nd and 10th districts, as Rep. Gwen Graham retired, giving the GOP her seat and Rep. Dan Webster abandoned the 10th so Democrats will take that.  I am so reluctant to say this (though not based on polls), but it does appear like Charlie Crist will finally deliver a victory for the Democrats, this time in the 13th district, defeating Rep. David Jolly.  The other three competitive seats could go a variety of ways.  Florida’s 26th is the Florida Democratic Party proving that they are arguably the most incompetent state party in the country (after the Ohio Democrats, of course), as they nominated controversial former Rep. Joe Garcia, who I don’t think will be able to overcome the Trump hate in his district to win.  The 18th district, left open by Rep. Patrick Murphy, is the opposite of AZ-1, as the Democrats here nominated the controversial candidate (Randy Perkins has been called the Democratic Donald Trump, and no, that’s not a compliment), and so I think that we’ll see Brian Mast do something very rare in 2016-pick up a Democratic seat.  And finally, there’s the 7th, and here’s the seat I think could genuinely turn the tables for the Democrats-in what has been a bizarre race, a last minute candidacy (almost always a recipe for defeat) has resulted in Stephanie Murphy coming close to defeating one of the longest-serving Republicans in Congress, John Mica.  Mica has never had a competitive race, but he’s got a lot of new voters as a result of redistricting, and I think could be ripe for defeat.  Slight Murphy, but Mica’s long-time in Congress should help somewhat. All told that, leaves us with: Democrats +1


President: Unlike Arizona, I’m not quite as torn here over who will win.  Hillary Clinton has seen some solid poll numbers in the state, but not so many that she’s willing to make the trip herself, and I think if this were truly on the table, she’d have gone to Atlanta or something.  Trump gets an embarrassingly low number of votes and the Democrats get a path to victory in 2020 or 2024, but this stays red.

Senate: I suspect that this will go to a runoff thanks to a third party candidate and unexpected strength from Hillary Clinton atop the ballot, but that’s not going to change the end result: Sen. Johnny Isakson will win a third term.

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