Measuring the Down Ballot Election: Part 1

Democratic Party BaseBesides the glamor of the Presidential Race we had the House races and Senate races. There the news was okay but not great. The Democrats picked up four seats in the Senate and six in the House. Mobility has been down due to the lackluster recovery from 2008. As a result, my belief that redistricting doesn’t matter six years later has taken a bit of a hit. Maybe though it means that we can manage in 2018 but we have to be ready as a national party to take advantage. More on that later.

Arizona 01 and 02 Races

AZ-01 was a keeper for the Democrats. Tom O’Halloran managed to destroy Paul Babeu throughout the district, winning by an impressive seven points. He got 117,048 to Babeu’s 100,236. The independent wasn’t a factor so this might stay in the Democratic column in 2018.

AZ-02 was not a pick up, but then I didn’t think it would be. As I said earlier, Martha McSally had been doing everything right by literally going to every neighborhood event she could get her hands on. That kind of careful working of the district really helps keep you in office. She won 157,677 to 120,572. So unless Gabby comes out of retirement (I saw her election night. She isn’t.) the seat will probably stay in the Republican hands absent someone who is even more well-known and liked.

Arizona did have some upsets as Sheriff Joe Arpaio finally lost as did embattled Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell. I expect that these will flip back to Republicans unless Maricopa County goes more blue. If it does, because shenanigans aren’t going on with the Recorder, we might actually see the state go blue. Arizona will be a minority majority state

Nevada Races

This is about the vaunted Reid machine and it turned out. Both of these seats were two of our six pick ups.

In NV-03, Jacky Rosen’s understated style of campaigning worked. However that doesn’t mean that 2018 won’t be a real fight since she only won by a small percentage. Her win was 146,653 to 142,726 so if she pulls a Martha McSally, that will make her seat safe for the Democrats. Also, of course, it depends on what else is going on at the national level in a year.

In NV-04, Ruben Kikuen reminds me of another Ruben I know getting some attention for the fiery style he has (my congressman Ruben Gallego who is going to have his first baby soon; may Kate have the easiest pregnancy ever!) And he organized relentlessly, so he won by four points. Kihuen got 123,782 to 113,429. I think this will be a keeper.

The Senate Race was a bit closer, but Cortez Masto pulled off a heck of a job (sorry not sorry) and beat Heck by just under four points. She made history as being the first Latina to make it to the Senate. That means that the new class of Senators is very lady-filled since four of the new Senators from our side are women.

Minnesota 02

I was hoping for this to be a pick up but it wasn’t. Angie Craig lost by a small percentage 167,071 to 174,030. However, that said, it is possible Lewis will alienate voters and if we are ready for 2018, it can be picked up because 2 points is winnable. Remember, I lost by less than 20 points in 2004 but in 2006 we won that race with a candidate who was well known, kindly, and drove his opponent nuts. It also would help if we didn’t have an independent spoiler (Paula Overby got 28K votes and that is why the district didn’t go blue).

I am pretty down on third parties — this is not a nation that allows for parties to be coalitions. So I don’t think they should be in close races on our side if we want to get the progress we want.

Pennsylvania 08

I wasn’t sure this would be enough of a wave year for a pick up. And it wasn’t, so Fitzgerald won his brother’s seat by just over 11 points: 173,871 to 144,772. This is unlikely to be a pick up in 2018, lest something very odd happens.

This also might be one of the very few Republicans who will stand up to Trump’s massive corruption and conflict of interest problems. I don’t have much faith but hey, there has to be at least one honorable Republican still left. Stop laughing! It could happen!

New York 03, 19, and 22

We kept NY-03 as the Democrat won there fairly decisively. Suozzi won with 146,457 to 131,718 so the seat stayed in our column.

In NY-19 the exact same thing happened but in the negative direction. Zephyr Teachout, whose left wing history allowed her opponent to bring back the Russian communism thing to attack her on. Unfortunately it may have worked. Teachout lost 100,499 to 113,093. It may be a pick up at a later time, I don’t know.

NY-22 was a bigger loss for the Democrats. Kim Myers lost by six points: 100,549 to 115,557. It really wasn’t much of a surprise to me, but I do think it isn’t going to be a pick up any time soon. Five point range is usually good.

Wisconsin 01 and 08

There was no surprises in WI-01. Paul Ryan may have annoyed his base for a few days, but he never really rejected Trump and it didn’t hurt him. So he won with 68%. It will take a great deal of effort to beat him and I don’t think the Democrats, even with Howard Dean at the helm, will seriously contest this district any time soon. So while I wanted people to pick the better Ryan, they didn’t. Ryan Solen lost handily.

WI-08 hurt. Tom Nelson is a good campaigner and a solid Democrat, and he got slaughtered as the district went all in on the Republican 208,982 to 126,613. I am not sure why. It might have to do with the fact he keeps running for a bunch of different offices. I really don’t know. Not sure if this will be something that we can pick up in 2018 since Gallagher doesn’t have much in the way of scandalous behavior.

To Be Continued

There are several more I have to talk about but I just realized this has already hit over a thousand words so I am going to split it up into two and then talk more about the selection of the next Democratic National Committee Chairperson.