Alright, folks, we’re less than a week out now from Election Day next Tuesday. The month of October seems to have flown by and we’re knocking on November’s door. On this day of ghosts and goblins, there are scary polls for Democrats and Republicans alike. Some races are so close you couldn’t squeeze the hair of a black cat in between the results. Here’s a rundown of the latest news from all around the political world as we careen toward the season finale of Midterms 2018.
Ohio – The race for Governor in Ohio is being watched closely as a bellwether for how other Midwest states may vote. With Republican John Kasich being term-limited, this race became an open seat which set up an opportunity for Democrats to capture the Ohio statehouse, an important prize in relation to the 2020 Presidential election. As it stands today, the race has tightened and Republican Mike DeWine is locked in a dead heat with Democrat Richard Cordray, both receiving around 39% in a recent poll from Baldwin Wallace University. There are still over 15% of voters who remain uncommitted which means they’re are really taking their sweet time in coming to a decision. That might be bad news for DeWine since his party is the incumbent party and if voters haven’t committed to his candidacy, they might just be looking to switch things up and give Cordray the nod. – Read on Clevalend.com
Florida – Once again, as in Ohio, term-limits have created an open seat, and Republican Ron DeSantis is hoping to keep the state in the GOP column. Democrat Andrew Gillum has mounted a very strong campaign and has shown a lead in almost every recent poll, save a few. Politico is reporting that as the race enters the final days, the rhetoric is getting nasty between both sides, and the President is also spending time injecting himself into the race and nationalizing it. The contest has descended into racial politics, with Gillum accusing DeSantis of using “dog-whistle” tactics, especially in regard to Gillum’s ethics investigations where he may have taken financial gifts during his time as the Mayor of Tallahassee. The DeSantis campaign has made some missteps, too, and his campaign acknowledged they were unprepared for how to deal with an African-American opponent. The RCP average has Gillum up by 3 points, meaning the race is still very winnable for either side as many remain uncommitted. There had been a swing toward DeSantis in recent polling, but Gillum still maintains the lead. – Read on Politico
New Jersey / Texas – In Texas, Democrat Beto O’Rourke has given Republicans heartburn by coming to within 5 points of incumbent Ted Cruz in recent days. On the opposite side of the country, and with the roles reversed. Democrats are sweating in New Jersey where incumbent Bob Menendez has been unable to put away Bob Hugin, his Republican challenger. In the end, the most likely result is that both states stay in their lane, so to speak, and stick with the majority party. That result looks more certain for Cruz than it does Menendez, but both incumbents still have the upper hand. The Cook Political Report chose to move New Jersey to the “toss-up” column while leaving Texas as “lean Republican”. – Read at Fox News
Around the Country – In a recent piece on National Review, writer Dan McLaughlin broke down all the Senate races into different tiers based on the likely outcomes. Tier One includes the toss-up races, like Nevada, Arizona, and Indiana. Tier two includes the “leaning” states like Missouri, Florida, and Montana. Tier three consists of the long-shot bids, which are the races in Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota special, and New Jersey. Finally, Tier four is what McLaughlin calls the “forget the polls” tier which includes Texas, North Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. McLaughlin concludes that a “good night” for Democrats in the Senate would be holding Republicans to no new pickups, leaving the GOP majority at a slim 51 to 49. On the flip side, a “good night” for Republicans would be picking up 2 seats which would strengthen their majority up to 53, meaning they’ll have an easier time confirming judges and moving the Senate’s business forward. – Read at National Review
Battleground Districts – The House remains unpredictable, though most analysts still give Democrats a very high chance of capturing the Lower Chamber. They just need to flip 23 Republican seats out of 70+ competitive races around the country. With those odds, the GOP can’t afford any mistakes or miscalculations on Election Day. The Hill is reporting that Democrats are pushing into more districts where Trump won in 2016, spending millions of dollars on eleventh-hour advertising blitzes with the hope of being able to shake loose some Republican voters and make their odds of capturing the House trend further upward. In response, the Republican National Committee has had to start defending some seats which were previously thought to be safe, forcing them to make decisions on how to optimally distribute funds across the country and where to draw the battle lines. According to analysis at FiveThirtyEight, the map has expanded thanks to the Democrat advantage in fundraising this cycle coupled with the number of Republican Congressman retiring and new district maps in Pennsylvania where some GOP seats are friendlier to Democrats this year. – Read at The Hill