Gonzales

Election analysis from Nathan L. Gonzales

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

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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

Midterm turnout was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century. Above, voters stand in line to cast their ballots on Nov. 6 at the Old Stone School polling location in Hillsboro, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., won the special election runoff Tuesday night, becoming the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., faces former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy in the Nov. 27 special election runoff in Mississippi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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

Sen.-elect Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Sen.-elect Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., pose for a group photo in McConnell’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

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

Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate is helping Democrats in many indirect ways, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

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

President Donald Trump may turn out Democrats better than any Democrat could. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Don’t Sweat the Election Night Surprises
From Nancy Boyda to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upsets happen for different reasons

New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, upset House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley in a June primary. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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.

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

The race for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Mississippi seat lists among the complicating factors that might impede calling control of the Senate on Nov. 6, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, is getting a lot of press as he takes on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. But much of the coverage misses some key points about his political rise. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

5 States That Will Decide the House Majority
Watch these states to tell if Democrats are having a good election night

California Democrat Harley Rouda, here with a supporter at a rally in Laguna Beach in May, is challenging GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a growing number of vulnerable House districts, there might be too much to watch for on election night. But by focusing on just a handful of states, you can get a pretty good idea of whether Democrats are having a good enough night to gain the 23 seats necessary to win back the majority.

Competitive races: 5

A Congressional Candidate Plays Softball in an Ad, and I Have Lots of Questions
For starters, why is Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval wearing jeans?

Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval’s latest ad “Slugger” raises more than a few questions for Nathan L. Gonzales. (Screenshot/Aftab for Congress/YouTube)

When I saw Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval playing softball in a campaign ad, I felt like my years of election analysis and beer-league softball were finally coming together.

Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts, is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st District. He’s running a competitive race (which we’ve rated Leans Republican) and outraised the congressman through June 30 ($1.6 million to $959,000).

30 House Ratings Shift in Favor of Democrats, 2 Move Toward GOP
This doesn’t mean the majority is lost for Republicans, but they have a lot of fires to put out

Labor Day is supposed to be the official start of general election season, but many of the top House and Senate races are well underway.

In fact, the campaign trail has been so busy that Inside Elections recently issued 32 race ratings changes, most in favor of the Democrat in the race.

Why We’re Not Changing the Rating for Duncan Hunter’s Seat, Yet
It’s already a competitive seat, for one

Rep. Duncan Hunter R-Calif., lines up his shot during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday June 25, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whenever a member of Congress is indicted, it’s a good idea to take a long, hard look at their re-election chances. It’s also reasonable to believe their prospects for another term would be diminished and political handicappers would immediately downgrade their race. But it’s not so simple with GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter and California’s 50th District.

When New York Republican Chris Collins was indicted a couple weeks ago, we shifted New York’s 27th District from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. It was an acknowledgment that an indictment at least warrants a district be on the list of competitive races.