Democrats had a good shot at winning the House majority Tuesday night and a considerably less good shot at winning control of the Senate. And neither outcome will wind up being surprising.
Democrats are well on their way to a clear win in the House, with the only question being how big their majority will be. Meanwhile, a tough map in the Senate wound up being too much to overcome, with Republicans set to gain seats there.
(We’ll regularly update this post with the results and scenarios that suggest where things stand.)
The House: Majority, achieved
The majority math in the House ran through approximately 30 races regarded as “toss-ups” by the Cook Political Report — almost all of them seats held by Republicans. As long as everything else broke the way we expected, Democrats needed to win just seven of these 30 races to gain the 23 seats they needed. Pretty doable.
Then the math became easier pretty rapidly Tuesday night — doubly so after Democrats pulled some upsets in races they weren’t supposed to win (the clearest sign of a “wave” election) in New York’s 11th District and Oklahoma’s 5th. That meant they needed just 5 of the 30 toss-ups.
And they’ve now got that, too. Even if Republicans somehow won the remainder of the toss-ups, Democrats would have a House majority. If Democrats start winning more, we could be talking about a 40-seat gain. If the rest of the toss-ups just split as the first 12 have, that would be a 36-seat gain — and a 231-204 majority.
Here’s how the toss-ups have broken down thus far:
|Seats||Democratic wins||Republican wins||Undecided|
If we broaden it out to include districts that are considered likely to flip and ones that “lean” toward one party or another, we get a universe of 75 vulnerable Republican seats and just six vulnerable Democratic ones. Democrats needed to win 29 of those 81 total seats to win the majority.
Here’s how that looks. Just remember you needed to see 29 total blue dots in the “Vulnerable D” and “Vulnerable R” categories combined. As long as three-eighths of them are blue as the night goes on, Democrats are on-pace.
The Senate: GOP gains dash Democratic dreams
A quartet of losses to start the night in Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and North Dakota quickly foreclosed any hopes of Democrats winning the Senate. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) win over Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) effectively sealed the deal — in painful fashion for Democrats with such high hopes in Texas.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also fell to Republican Josh Hawley in Missouri, leaving the only question how much the GOP’s majority will grow. Democrats also trail with almost all of the vote in Florida.
Here’s a good scenario for Republicans, which would also include a win in Nevada — a three-seat gain. And that’s not the ceiling.