Midterm Election Results Broken Down
November 8, 2018
The 2018 National Midterm Elections have come and gone, leaving behind a shaken-up political map and resulting in gains for both parties. Below is a breakdown of facts and a bit of analysis regarding the elections for the U.S. and Alabama specifically.
In Alabama’s 5th district, Mo Brooks maintained his seat against Democratic challenger, former Huntsville City Attorney Peter Joffrion. Despite receiving nearly 25 percent fewer votes than in 2016 and a strong Democratic shift, the incumbent cruised to a 22-point victory to secure a fifth term in the House of Representatives. Across the rest of the state districts, the incumbent parties remained in power.
Alabama voted to ratify all four amendments on the ballot. Amendment 1 allowed the display of the Ten Commandments on public property and passed with a 43 percent margin. Amendment 2 made it state policy to “recognized the sanctity of unborn life,” officially declaring the state’s position against abortion rights. Amendment 3 revised the membership of UA board of trustees and Amendment 4 allowed for vacancies in state legislative seats.
Kay Ivey unsurprisingly won her first election since stepping in for Robert Bentley after his resignation in April of last year. She defeated Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox by 19 percentage points. Around a half million more votes were cast than in 2014, and they were fairly evenly distributed between the two candidates. Maddox lost his home county, Tuscaloosa, by only 25 out of 68,500 votes. Will Ainsworth won the race for Lieutenant Governor, as did Steve Marshall and John Merrill for Attorney General and Secretary of State, respectively. Also, Tom Parker beat Bob Vance, Jr. for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Republicans Mac McCutcheon and Andy Whitt won their uncontested State House elections. Tom Butler defeated Amy Wasyluka for District 2 Senator in a relatively contested race by a 54-46 margin.
Overall, there were sizable Democratic shifts in some areas and less severe shifts in others, but none were large enough to make a notable difference. The big takeaway is the increase in voting numbers, helped by a hyper-engaged electorate and volatile election cycle.
In the period leading up to Election Day, analysts and pundits spoke of a so-called “blue wave” of Democrats winning races across the country. The results of Tuesday proved this to be true in many places, particularly in the Northwest, but not everywhere.
At the time of this article, the Democrats managed to flip 26 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them control of that house. The GOP, however, made gains in the Senate, winning a net two seats.
A lot of high-profile races involving Democrats attempting to unseat Republican power ended without change. Notably, Beto O’Rourke lost to incumbent Ted Cruz in Texas even after a wave of support and fundraising from across the nation. Andrew Gillum was defeated by Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race and Brian Kemp beat Stacey Abrams to secure the Georgia governorship (she has yet to officially concede). All of these races were extremely close but ended in defeats for the Democratic challengers.
There were a few prominent races in which Democrats won. For example, Tony Evers defeated Scott Walker for governor of Wisconsin and Laura Kelly beat Kris Kobach for Kansas governor. But still, the majority of democratic victories occurred on a smaller, more local scale. However, the sheer amount of success these candidates had ensured that the Democrats would win back control of the House and, ultimately, they came out of this cycle as the victors.
It was also a night of firsts for many minority groups long awaiting representation in government. Colorado elected America’s first openly gay governor Jared Polis. In Michigan, Democrat Rashida Tlaib, and in Minnesota, Democratic Socialist Ilhan Omar were elected and are set to become the first Muslim women in Congress. Fellow Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also became the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will also become the first Native American women elected to Congress.
One big story coming out of this cycle is the broad increase in the number of people who voted. According to estimates by the New York Times, turnout increased over 27 percent this midterm election, as compared to 2014. Despite this massive wave of active participants, the U.S. voter turnout remains one of the lowest in the developed world.
The blue wave may not have been a tsunami, but it was powerful enough to take control of a chamber of Congress, setting the stage for an even more divided legislature.