— Republican Targets: The Nevada Senate’s one-seat Democratic majority is all but gone. The Colorado Senate may not be far behind. Strong early vote numbers may even put the Colorado House in play, which would be apocalyptic for Democrats.
The party is also worried about narrow majorities in the Iowa Senate, the Kentucky House, the New Hampshire House and the West Virginia House. The New Mexico House is a longer shot, and things are really going bad for Democrats if they lose either the Minnesota House or the Oregon Senate.
— Democratic Targets: Republicans have to hold on to slim majorities in the Arkansas House, the Pennsylvania Senate and the New Hampshire Senate. They’ll try to consolidate control of the Washington Senate, which was governed by the Republican caucus and a few centrist Democrats last year.
But Democrats feel much less confident of their ability to pick up seats in a midterm; in 26 of the 28 midterms since 1900, the party that controls the White House loses legislative seats.
— Big Ballot Initiatives: Voters in 42 states will decide about 150 ballot measures this year, from bear baiting in Maine to changing the name of a state office in Utah. We’ve written about what’s on the ballot here and talked about it here. Here’s what will make headlines the morning after the election:
— Minimum Wage: Measures to raise the minimum wage are on the ballot in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, and Illinois has a non-binding advisory question. GMO: Voters in Oregon and Colorado will vote on whether to label genetically modified food. Expect litigation if either measure passes. Marijuana: Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., are considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Voters in Florida are considering a medical marijuana bill, but that state has a 60 percent threshold for ballot measures, and polls show it’s losing support.
— Guns: Washington State voters are likely to expand background checks, through Initiative 594. Voting Rights: Montana voters will decide whether to end same-day voter registration. Oregon voters will vote on a top-two primary, like the ones Washington and California adopted. Missouri and Connecticut will vote to establish early voting for the first time. Gambling: Voters in California, Colorado, Rhode Island and South Dakota will vote on proposed gambling expansions, either through new casinos or new games. Massachusetts voters are likely to reject a bid to ban resort-style casinos. Kansas, Tennessee and South Carolina will vote on allowing nonprofits to raise money through lotteries.
— California: Hiram Johnson would be spinning in his grave if he saw what the initiative process has become. California voters are likely to pass two propositions backed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) — a multi-billion dollar water bond and a measure to increase the state’s rainy day fund. Trial lawyers and the insurance industry have spent millions on Proposition 45, which would regulate insurance rate increases, and Proposition 46, which would raise the cap on medical malpractice insurance damages. In San Francisco, the soda industry has spent millions against a sugary drink tax, and in Santa Barbara County, oil and gas companies are spending millions against a proposed fracking ban.