Why We’re Not Releasing 2020 Race Ratings Yet
Relax people, enjoy the holidays

I love elections, particularly congressional races, but I’m just not in a hurry to jump to 2020. And I’m completely fine with holding off on releasing our race ratings until next year.

House Primaries on the Horizon for Democrats in 2020
Illinois’ Dan Lipinski is most likely to face intraparty challenge

We already know the Democratic presidential primary is going to be crowded and crazy as a few dozen candidates battle for the right to take on President Donald Trump.

But at least a handful of 2020 House primaries are also on the horizon for Democrats as the party fights over ideology and loyalty. And there’s still plenty of time for more intraparty races to take shape.

Are White Evangelicals the Saviors of the GOP?
Key voting group has remained virtually unchanged in its political preferences

Amid all the talk about shifting demographics and political changes over the last decade, one key voting group has remained virtually unchanged: white evangelicals.

According to one evangelical leader, a record number of white evangelicals voted in the 2018 midterms after an inspired turnout effort.

Expect Record Turnout in 2020
No reason to think Trump won’t continue to drive voters to the polls on both sides

With the 2018 elections coming to an end, it’s clear that voters set a modern record for turnout in a midterm. And there’s no reason to believe voters won’t set another record two years from now.

According to the United States Election Project, turnout this year was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century.

Five Thoughts After the Mississippi Senate Race
Lots of fighting and money spent, little change

Even though it looks like California will be counting votes until Christmas, I’m ready to close the book on the 2018 midterm elections now that the Mississippi special Senate election is over. Yes, I know there are runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana for state races, but the marquee matchups are complete.

Here are some thoughts before we turn all our attention to 2020.

Rating Change: Mississippi Senate Race No Longer Solid Republican
Hyde-Smith remains the favorite but some uncertainty has crept into the contest

Democrats are not on the cusp of winning a Senate seat in Mississippi. But if we learned anything over the last two years, it’s that Republicans find new ways to make special elections more close and exciting than they should be.

First of all, go read Stu Rothenberg’s column on the race and the dynamic. He does a good job of laying out the electoral challenge in front of former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy, even if appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is not a stellar candidate.

Midterms Were a Buffet Election for Democrats, Republicans
Each side can pick what it liked best from the results — and ignore warning signs

When I was a kid in small-town Oregon, my family would occasionally go to King’s Table, and my sister and I would get free rein at the buffet.

I became famous in my own family for my condiment salad — an impressive collection of bacon bits, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and plenty of ranch dressing. Essentially, my strategy involved choosing what looked and tasted good and avoiding anything of nutritional value.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Confessions of an Elections Analyst
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Nathan L. Gonzales knows exactly what’s going to happen on Election Day. Sort of. Maybe. Kinda. Maybe not.

After nearly two years of analyzing data and polling trends from hundreds of races, Roll Call’s elections analyst thinks he has a pretty good sense of where things could go on November 6th and beyond, but after the 2016 election it’s impossible to rule anything out.

25 Race Ratings Changes Less Than a Week Before Midterms
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

After two years of analyzing and prognosticating, it's finally almost here: Nov. 6, Election Day. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales takes you through where the House and Senate battlegrounds have landed with a video debrief on the most recent ratings changes, listed in full here: 

House

Let Beto O’Rourke Keep His Money
Claims that Texas Democrat’s fundraising is robbing from other candidates are exaggerated

I’m old enough to remember when some Democrats and reporters suggested that Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke donate his Senate campaign money to other candidates and causes.

But the latest Quinnipiac University survey found the congressman within 5 points of Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, clearing him, it would seem, to just spend it on his own race. It was ridiculous to suggest he give away his hard-earned cash in the first place.

Explosive Rhetoric Ramping Up, But Do Voters Care?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 42

Praising violence against reporters. Sending pipe bombs to public figures. Threatening political opponents. The fiery rhetoric is in full swing as the nation enters the homestretch of the 2018 midterm election. Is any of it changing voters’ attitudes or behavior? Roll Call Senior Political Writer Simone Pathé and Inside Elections Editor Nathan Gonzales discuss the effect of all the bad vibes on the electorate. 

12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races: 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

With so many close races in the ever-changing 2018 landscape, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales has one big question: how long after Election Day will the nation have to wait before knowing which party will control Congress? Watch the video for Gonzales’ analysis, plus a debrief on a handful of ratings changes less than three weeks out, which are listed in full below.

Senate

Republicans Need a Cold Compress With Less Than One Month to Go
Presidential pain still plagues vulnerable incumbents ahead of the midterms

ANALYSIS — Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

24 House Ratings Change in Favor of Democrats, One Month Out
 

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has two dozen House race ratings shifts — and they’re all positive for Democrats. Nearly one month from Election Day, Gonzales discusses how it’s more a question of Democratic prospects being good or great in the House than anything else. See below for a full list of all the ratings shifts and watch the video for more analysis. ...
Don’t Sweat the Election Night Surprises
From Nancy Boyda to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upsets happen for different reasons

What will be the biggest surprise on election night?

It’s a common and valid question, but I’m always a little amused by it.

12 House Ratings Changes: Democrats Are More Likely Than Not to Win Majority
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has a dozen updates to his House ratings, all in favor of Democrats. Watch the video for more on Republicans' efforts this September to discredit Democrats in key races as the midterm election is now just seven weeks away.

Prepare to Be Disappointed on Election Night
Close races, voting schemes and mail-in ballots could all complicate calling control of Congress on Nov. 6

After two years of campaigning in the latest most consequential election of our lifetimes, election night could be a huge letdown. The disappointment is not about which party prevails Nov. 6, but the reality that a combination of close races and West Coast contests could prevent enough races from being called to determine majorities in Congress until days later.

In the Senate, more than 10 races could finish within single digits, and a handful of those contests look like they’re neck and neck. The close margins could make it difficult for media outlets to project a winner on election night. Since Republicans have just a two-seat majority, every Senate race matters, so anything left uncalled could make it difficult to figure out who will control the chamber next year.

What 39,000 Words in 15 Profiles Didn’t Tell You About Beto O’Rourke
El Paso politician has had a long rise to a position of national prominence

I’m pretty sure three new profiles of Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke have been published in the time it took me to write this lede. Yet the only thing more remarkable than the sheer volume of stories written about the congressman is that none of them put his 2012 House victory in proper context.

I read more than a dozen profiles, and they most often describe a young, sweaty candidate with Kennedy-esque looks and punk sensibilities as an accidental and almost reluctant challenger to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. But O’Rourke was never going to be content with being on the El Paso City Council or playing bass for the band Foss.

12 Ratings Changes: Democrats Could Gain Up to 8 Governor Seats in 2018
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has a dozen updates to his ratings for the 36 gubernatorial seats up for election this midterm. Eight of his recent shifts favor Democrats, who are poised to make gains that could be crucial ahead of the 2020 census count and ensuing redistricting fights.

Below are all the ratings changes. You can also explore the map at Roll Call's 2018 Election Guide: