I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, November 6, 2018. 0 days until Election Day 2018!!! 728 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at email@example.com.
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Midterms 2018: Election Day viewers guide
For the first time since President Donald Trump was elected in an upset nearly two years ago, voters across the country will cast ballots today in numerous high-stakes contests.
This year's midterm elections are projected to be the most expensive in U.S. history: the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that $5.2 billion will have been spent this cycle, compared to $3.8 billion in 2014. Voter turnout is also expected to shatter records this year: per the Associated Press, 36.4 million have already voted in the midterms, putting turnout on track to reach as high as 45% of eligible voters, higher than any midterm year in decades. And candidates from across the country are poised to make history today, with a record number of women on the ballot (235 House candidates, 22 Senate candidates, and 16 gubernatorial candidates) and others vying to be the first officeholder from their state to hail from various religions or racial minorities.
"You know the midterm elections used to be like boring, didn't they?" President Trump said at a rally in Cleveland on Monday. "Do you even remember what they were? People say midterms, they say, 'What is it, what is it,' right? Now it's like the hottest thing." The midterms are widely seen as a referendum on Trump himself, the first test of the nation's opinion of his job performance halfway through a chaotic and eventful first term. Trump has embraced the idea of the midterms as a referendum on his presidency: "In a certain way, I am on the ballot," he told supporters on a conference call Monday, according to the Washington Post.
435 House seats are up for grabs tonight, plus 35 Senate seats, 36 governorships, 6,066 state legislative races, and 158 ballot measures. The issues at stake in these elections are as varied as the voters and states themselves, but major ones include the future of health care, taxes, the Supreme Court, trade, and immigration. The race for control of Congress will dictate whether Trump will be able to continue to enact his agenda on these issues, or whether the next two years will be spent in divided government, mired in investigations. Most experts agree that Republicans are likely to maintain their Senate majority, while the House is vulnerable to a Democratic takeover --- but the large range of tossup races makes anything possible in either chamber. Here are some of the top races to watch as polls close each hour:
6pm Eastern: Most of Indiana, Parts of Kentucky
- IN-SEN: Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, one of his party's most vulnerable members, faces Republican businessman Mike Braun in a state President Trump won by nearly 20 points. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Donnelly +1.3)
- Kentucky (House): Republican Rep. Andy Barr vies for re-election against Democrat Amy McGrath, a retired Marine pilot, in the state's 6th congressional district. This race will be one of the early indicators of whether a "blue wave" will really materialize tonight.
7pm Eastern: Georgia, Most of Florida, New Hampshire, Rest of Indiana, Rest of Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia
- GA-GOV: In one of the most competitive gubernatorial races of the cycle, Democrat Stacey Abrams is attempting to become the first African-American female governor in U.S. history. She is running against Republican Brian Kemp, the Georgia secretary of state, in a race that has been marked by accusations of voter suppression from both sides. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Kemp +3)
- FL-SEN: Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson defends his seat from the state's sitting governor, Republican Rick Scott, in the nation's most reliable swing state. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Nelson +3.3)
- FL-GOV: To succeed Scott, two candidates who came from behind to win their primaries face off in another highly watched gubernatorial race: Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Trump protégé, and Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee who would be the state's first black governor. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Gillum +4)
- Florida (House): Democrats are looking to a number of pick-up opportunities, including FL-26 and FL-27 in the Miami-Dade region, FL-15 outside Tampa, and FL-16 in Sarasota County.
- Georgia (House): Two competitive races are taking place in the suburbs of Atlanta, including in the 6th District, home of a nationally-watched special eleciton last year.
- Virginia (House): Several House Republicans are vulnerable, including Scott Taylor (2nd District), Dave Brat (7th District), and Barbara Comstock (10th District). Democrats are hoping to do well in these districts, putting them in position to make gains in the House later in the night.
7:30pm Eastern: Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia
- OH-GOV: John Kasich is term-limited; Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray compete to succeed him. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Cordray +4.7)
- WV-SEN: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to support Justice Brett Kavanaugh, is challenged by Republican Patrick Morrisey, the state's attorney general. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Manchin +5)
- Ohio (House): Republican Rep. Troy Balderson faces a rematch from Democrat Danny O'Connor in the 12th District, after beating him in an August special election
8pm Eastern Time: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Rest of Florida, Illinois, Most of Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Most of Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Parts of South Dakota, Tennessee, Most of Texas
- MI-GOV: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer faces Republican state attorney general Bill Schuette; she is expected to flip the statehouse blue. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Whitmer +10)
- MO-SEN: Expected to be one of the closest Senate races of the night, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill faces a steep climb toward re-election against Republican state attorney general Josh Hawley. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Hawley +0.6)
- NJ-SEN: Amid ethics troubles, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is seen as potentially vulnerable to a challenge from Republican businessman Bob Hugin. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Menendez +9.2)
- TN-SEN: Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen fight over the seat opened up by Bob Corker's retirement. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Blackburn +5.2)
- TX-SEN: A race that has received a lot of national attention, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seeks a second term against Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who has shattered congressional fundraising records. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Cruz +6.6)
- New Jersey (House): A moderate Republican congressman, Leonard Lance, who opposed the GOP tax bill and health care legislation, faces Democrat Tom Malinowski, in the 7th District, won by Hillary Clinton by a single point in 2016.
- Pennsylvania (House): One of the most important states for House control, Democrats have four pick-up opportunities in the state; which party fares better in the Keystone State could indicate who holds the gavel come January.
- Texas (House): Republican Reps. Pete Sessions and John Culberson face competitive challenges in Clinton-won districts.
8:30pm Eastern: Arkansas
9pm Eastern Time: Rest of Kansas, Louisiana, Rest of Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rest of South Dakota, Rest of Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming
- WI-GOV: Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has survived three elections as a top target in the past eight years, faces Democratic education official Tony Evers in his bid for another term.
- Minnesota (House): Two of the seats most likely to flip from Democratic to Republican hands, in the First and Eighth Districts.
10pm Eastern Time: Arizona, Colorado, Parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Most of North Dakota, Parts of Oregon
- AZ-SEN: The seat vacated by Jeff Flake is contested by two female candidates: Republican Rep. Martha McSally and Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. (RealClearPolitics polling average: McSally +0.2)
- NV-SEN: The most vulnerable Senate Republican, Dean Heller, seeks re-election against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Tie)
- ND-SEN: The most vulnerable Senate Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp, vies for another term against Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Cramer +9)
- MT-SEN: Republican state auditor Matt Rosendale challenges Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in a deep-red state. (RealClearPolitics polling average: Tester +3.3)
11pm Eastern Time: California, Rest of Idaho, Iowa, Rest of Oregon, Utah, Rest of North Dakota, Washington
- California (House): A key state for Democrats' hopes in the House, as they contest seven GOP-held seats won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- Iowa (House): Republican Rep. Steve King has long been controversial, but his race has gained attention in recent days as some polls suggest his Democratic challenger was gaining momentum.
- UT-SEN: 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is set to easily slide into the Senate.
12am Eastern Time: Most of Alaska, Hawaii
- AK-GOV: The state's sitting Independent governor, Bill Walker, suspended his re-election bid just weeks ago, throwing the race between Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Mike Dunleavy into tossup territory.
1am Eastern Time: Rest of Alaska
Check back in your inbox tomorrow for a full results edition of Wake Up To Politics! It's been a lot of fun covering the midterms these past few months... Happy voting!
*All times Eastern