Saturday, November 05, 2016

Election Night Guide, Part 5: North Dakota-Texas

(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-ArkansasPt. 2: California-Georgia, Pt. 3: Hawaii-Louisiana, Pt. 4: Maine-North Carolina)

North Dakota

President: Trump’s backing of the oil industry probably sealed the deal here-easy win for the businessman.
Governor: When Heidi Heitkamp decided against running here, it likely meant the end of the Democrats chances of converting this seat.  Businessman Doug Burgum will win this for the GOP handily.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

President: With the presidential race tightening in the last few days, something’s going to give for Clinton-if Trump improves at all, you have to see a few swing states fall his direction.  My hunch is that one of them will be the Buckeye State.  Though long a bellwether for the nation, the dynamics of this race mean that a state like Pennsylvania is more likely to pick the winner (considering its combination of blue-collar workers but a more diverse urban population) than its neighbor.  That’s why I think it’ll be Trump winning here, making every Democrat watching that much more uncomfortable.  Clinton should not be discounted-if the FBI reveals don’t mean anything this could still happen, but I just don’t have the confidence here and think that Florida and even Iowa would flip back to her before Ohio, whose days as a bellwether might soon be over.
Senate: The Ohio Democratic Party needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror.  Two years after an embarrassing and ridiculously bad performance in the governor’s race, it now appears likely that a former governor is going to fall to Sen. Rob Portman by 15-points, despite not being involved in even a hint of a scandal.  The state is still competitive on a presidential level, but the state party desperately needs to find a way to crack the code on how to win here before Sherrod Brown becomes Mark Pryor.


President: Tailor-made state for Trump, potentially his biggest margin of victory (give or take West Virginia).
Senate: James Lankford, the Senate’s resident redhead, will win an easy reelection.  Also, Jim Inhofe is still a senator and that’s just unforgivable.


President: While it’s always the least Democratic of the three West Coast states, there’s absolutely no sign of Trump making inroads here.  Clinton takes the seven electoral votes.
Governor: Gov. Kate Brown, who took over for scandal-plagued incumbent John Kitzhaber, should have no trouble winning a full-term in office after taking over suddenly in 2015.
Senate: Ron Wyden’s running for reelection-who knew?  He’ll get a fifth term with ease.

Katie McGinty (D-PA)

President: You know that butterfly feeling I had with the North Carolina race-it goes over tenfold with Pennsylvania.  That’s because it’s nearly impossible to imagine the next president of the United States winning the White House without the Keystone State (if you live here and don’t vote, I don’t know what to do with you).  Hillary Clinton has led in literally every single major poll here since July, and so it would be foolhardy to assume that this won’t go to her, though it’s worth noting that this wasn’t the best of President Obama’s states and there are portions of the state that aren’t going to be thrilled with her energy policy stances.  That being said, Philadelphia and its suburbs seem like enough for Clinton to win the state’s 20 electoral votes, which could well mean Clinton becomes the first female president.
Senate: No politician in the country outside of perhaps Tim Kaine and Clinton herself is cheering harder for a big night for the former First Lady than Katie McGinty, who in fact worked in the Clinton White House.  McGinty is running against Sen. Pat Toomey who has run the better campaign of the two (McGinty fell prey to a few unforced errors and is not a natural at retail politicking), but that might not matter if Clinton wins by enough.  It is starting to look more and more likely that McGinty is the rare candidate who can match Clinton in terms of coattails (their numbers have pulled even, and they’re both about five points up).  It could go either way (like I said, McGinty isn’t a particularly strong candidate and hasn’t made a firm connection with the electorate), but the fundamentals favor McGinty, so I’m going with her. Democrats +1
House: Perhaps rivaling only Michigan-1 in terms of lack of polling is Pennsylvania’s 8th district, an open swing seat that Mitt Romney won by literally .1% of the vote.  Literally, I cannot find any recent polling in this race, one that everyone (including I) consider a tossup.  My gut says that when there’s no polling to give it to the incumbent party (in this case Brian Fitzpatrick, brother of the incumbent which probably will help if people don’t look at the ballot very closely), but man do I wish I had something to base that on, particularly considering it’s possible Clinton wins the district herself.  The 16th is a pet project of mine, as Christina Hartman (D) has fast-emerged as a talent versus State Sen. Lloyd Smucker.  Hartman has closed the race fast, and has momentum (and suddenly a lot of money), and seems to be a dynamite campaigner (if she wins, expect her to be a candidate for statewide office not far into the future), but this race inherently favors the Republicans.  This is another race that could be a harbinger of a good night for the Democrats, but I’m sticking with Smucker for now.

Rhode Island

President: Arguably the most liberal of all of the New England states, Rhode Island will be an easy victory for Hillary Clinton.

South Carolina

President: There has been talk for weeks that Clinton could be able to break through here, and polling has agreed.  However, I think as things return to normal, only 1-2 states that aren’t traditional “swing” states will remain in play, and South Carolina won’t be one of them.  Trump, but by a small enough margin that he should be embarrassed.
Senate: Incumbent Tim Scott has only a nominal opponent and should win another term quite handily.

South Dakota

President: My gut says that we’ll soon see South Dakota become more liberal than North Dakota (with a burgeoning population in the eastern half of the state that is more liberal than the remainder of the state), but it won’t be by enough to best Trump.
Senate: The best I can say here is that the Democrats actually put up a challenger to Thune this cycle.
House: State Rep. Paula Hawks put up a fine campaign, and actually managed to get some national press, but Rep. Kristi Noem seems pretty set to win this seat again.


President: Remember in 2000 when Al Gore nearly won his home state?  Yeah, the Volunteer State has become next to impossible in the years since-not even Andrew Jackson could win now as a Democrat.


President: Oh, the squeals of glee from Democrats as they look at Texas, the Lone Star State, potentially unable to be called immediately on election night.  Yes, while I don’t quite think she’ll get there, Hillary Clinton will likely get closer to winning Texas than any Democratic candidate since 1992, and in the process add hundreds of thousands of popular votes to her count that Barack Obama never had.  While that technically doesn’t count for anything, as long as she hits 270, it’s sure as hell going to help her mandate.

House: The big thing that Clinton’s win could do is help Texas’s 23rd congressional district.  Here we have a genuine tossup race, with Rep. Will Hurd (R) running against former Rep. Pete Gallego in a rematch.  As the only swing district in Texas, it constantly gains attention (and has changed hands every two years for the past eight), but a surge in Hispanic voters in the district, particularly in reaction to Trump, should help the popular Gallego.  My guess is that Clinton’s consolation prize from losing Texas by a short margin will be getting her party this seat in the process. Democrats +1

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