At the Races

Black Voters Propelled Blue Wave, Study Finds
African-Americans increasingly associate GOP with Trump, racist rhetoric

Members-elect, front row from left, Kim Schrier, D-Wash., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, Sharice Davids, D-Kan., Haley Stevens, D-Mich., and other members of the incoming freshman class, pose for a photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic wins in the 2018 midterms were driven largely by African American voters — particularly black women — who increasingly associate the GOP with President Trump’s perceived hostility toward people of color and immigrants, according to an analysis released Monday.

The report by the NAACP, the racial justice nonprofit Advancement Project, and the political action group African American Research Collaborative found that across competitive elections 90 percent of black voters supported Democratic House candidates, compared to 53 percent of voters overall. It also found 91 percent of black women, 86 percent of black men and 50 percent of white voters believe Trump and the GOP are using toxic rhetoric to divide the nation.

Democrats Complete Sweep of Orange County, Once a GOP Haven
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Democrats won their fourth Republican-held seat there

Democrat Gil Cisneros’ race in the 39th District was the last Orange County race to be called. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With Democrat Gil Cisneros’ victory in California’s 39th District, Democrats have defeated all four Republicans in Orange County, an area former President Ronald Reagan once referred to as the place “where the good Republicans go before they die.”

Cisneros, a Navy veteran and lottery winner, defeated former GOP state Assemblywoman Young Kim in the increasingly diverse 39th District. He had garnered 50.8 percent of the vote compared to Kim’s 49.2 percent when the Associated Press called the race nearly two weeks after Election Day. He won by roughly 3,500 votes.

The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On
A combination of individual brands and attacks on Democratic challengers helped them win

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., won re-election last week as his fellow Republicans in the suburbs lost. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 were largely washed away in the Democratic wave last week — but three managed to hang on.

GOP Reps. John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and David Valadao all won their races on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (though Valadao’s margin has narrowed with votes still being counted).

Florida Senate Race Advances to Hand Recount
Deadline for recount is Sunday at noon

Florida is undertaking a hand recount in the race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida’s Senate race is proceeding from a machine recount to a hand recount, the Secretary of State announced Thursday.

It’s the latest development in the drawn-out race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, whose margin remains under the 0.25 of a percentage point that automatically triggers a hand recount. 

At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Poliquin Loss Wipes Out New England Republicans in the House
Jared Golden defeated Bruce Poliquin in ranked-choice voting

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, center, lost his re-election on Thursday. He and former New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta, right, who lost in 2016, had been the last two New England Republicans in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s loss under the state’s new ranked-choice voting system on Thursday likely means the end of New England Republicans in the House. 

It’s the first time in over 100 years an incumbent has lost Maine’s 2nd District. Poliquin is still pursuing his legal challenge to the ranked-choice voting system in federal court, but Democrat Jared Golden won more than 50 percent after state election officials tabulated the ranked-choice votes on Thursday afternoon.

Maine’s Bruce Poliquin Loses in Ranked-Choice Voting
Democrat Jared Golden claimed lead after third-party candidates eliminated

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has lost to Democrat Jared Golden. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Jared Golden has defeated Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting for a congressional race, according to state election officials.

The Democrat won just over 50 percent of the vote in the ranked-choice tabulation, meaning he’ll be the next congressman from the 2nd District unless Poliquin’s legal challenges to the voting system prevail. 

Democrats Look for New DCCC Chair to Protect Majority
For the first time, competitive race will decide next head of campaign arm

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is one of four candidates competing to lead the DCCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time, House Democrats are competing in an open race to lead the party’s campaign arm next cycle. And the new leader’s responsibilities will include something no predecessor has faced in a decade: protecting their chamber majority.

The race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently a four-way contest between Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene of Washington. The DCCC chairmanship was an appointed position until 2016, after Democratic losses led to demands for changes at the committee. Current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Could Texas Be a 2020 House Battleground?
Some House races in the Lone Star State were closer than expected

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, lost a Senate bid but came close to defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. ((Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Democrats had their best election in over a decade last week when they flipped at least two Republican-held House seats. But closer margins in other races have boosted party hopes of future gains in the once deep-red Lone Star State.

“What it shows us moving forward is that we have congressional battlegrounds in Texas,” said Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “As we move into the election cycle in 2020, it’s very clear now that Texas is in play.”

How House Majority PAC Helped Deliver a Democratic Majority
Super PAC led coordination efforts among Democratic IE groups

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, oversaw coordination among outside Democratic groups spending on House races this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the dog days of summer, before many Americans were tuning into the midterm elections, the leading Democratic super PAC dedicated to winning the House convened a giant meeting with dozens of outside groups.

That laid the foundation for an unprecedented coordination effort among Democratic independent expenditure groups that spent over $200 million in more than 70 House races, overwhelming Republicans and helping deliver a Democratic majority.

Following GOP Losses, Emmer Poised to be Next NRCC Chairman
Minnesota Republican hasn’t yet laid out specific priorities to win back House

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed in Wednesday's leadership elections to be the next chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Less than a week after losing over 30 seats in the House, the chamber’s Republicans have coalesced around the next person to lead their campaign committee.

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed Wednesday to be the next chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, replacing Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers. Along with California Rep. Mimi Walters, whose race has not yet been called, Emmer was one of two deputy NRCC chairs during the 2018 cycle.

Democrats Pick Up Another California Seat With Denham’s Loss
AP calls Central Valley race for Josh Harder, one week after Election Day

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., has lost his re-election race to Democrat Josh Harder. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jeff Denham has become the 24th House Republican to lose re-election this year, falling to Democrat Josh Harder in California’s 10th District one week after Election Day.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Harder led the four-term incumbent 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Poliquin Sues to Stop Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting
Poliquin could lose his narrow lead under new system

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin is suing to stop the state’s ranked-choice voting system from going forward in his 2nd District re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has sued state Attorney General Matthew Dunlap seeking an injunction to stop the tabulation of ballots under the state’s ranked-choice voting system, which is being used in his race against Democrat Jared Golden in the 2nd District.

Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the state’s ranked-choice voting system kicked in last week. This year is the first time it’s being used at the federal level in Maine, and the 2nd District will likely be the first House race in the country to be decided under this process.

Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Female Senator Elected From Arizona
She’s also the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate election in 30 years

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has won the Arizona Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has made history by becoming the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate. She defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally after several days of ballot counting.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sinema led McSally 50 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the race six days after Election Day.

League of Women Voters, Common Cause File Suit to Remove Scott From Recount Process
Nelson also called on Scott to recuse himself from any role in recount

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is leading by about 12,000 votes in Florida’s Senate race, a margin that has triggered a machine recount. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Common Cause Florida and the League of Women Voters of Florida have filed a lawsuit to keep Republican Gov. Rick Scott from having any involvement in the recount of the Senate race.

Scott is currently leading Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in that race by just over 12,000 votes, a margin that has triggered a statewide recount.