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WASHINGTON — In the wee hours of election night, the consensus was that Democrats had a good — though far from a great — showing. They netted the 23 seats needed to win the House, but they hadn’t hit a number much larger than that. It was pretty clear they were going to fall short in the marquee gubernatorial races in Florida and Georgia, even though they picked up seven governors’ mansions. And they looked destined to lose as many as four Senate seats to Republicans.
Since then, however, the Democrats’ performance in the midterms has looked much, much better. They appear on their way to picking up close to 40 House seats — the party’s best showing since the post-Watergate midterms (their haul in 2006 was about 30 seats).
Regarding the Senate contests, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., eked out a victory; Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is ahead of Republican Martha McSally by more than 30,000 votes in Arizona; and the Florida Senate race is headed to a manual recount, with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., trailing Republican Rick Scott by just 12,000 votes. If you assume Sinema wins and Nelson loses, the GOP’s net Senate gain will be just two seats — when the 2018 map had 10 Democratic incumbents running for re-election in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016.
And according to the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, Democrats are ahead in the national House vote by nearly 7 points, 52.5 percent to 45.8 percent. And that margin will only grow after all of California’s ballots get counted.
What were the national House vote margins in the midterm wave years of 1994, 2006 and 2010? Try R+7 points, D+6.4 points and R+6.6 points, respectively.
So yeah, what happened in the 2018 midterms was not only a realignment; it also was a wave.
The uncalled Senate races (2)
AZ-SEN (Sinema leads McSally by 32,169 votes)
FL-SEN (Scott leads Nelson by 12,562 votes as the contest heads to a manual recount)
(MS-SEN goes to runoff)
The uncalled GOV races (1)
GA-GOV (GOPer Brian Kemp remains at 50.3 percent)
The uncalled House races (11)
CA-10 (Dem Josh Harder leads Republican Jeff Denham, 51 percent to 49 percent)
CA-39 (GOPer Young Kim leads Dem Gil Cisernos, 51 percent to 49 percent)
CA-45 (GOPer Mimi Walters leads Dem Katie Porter, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent)
CA-48 (Dem Harley Rouda has declared victory; he leads, 52 percent to 48 percent)
CA-49 (Dem Mike Levin is ahead 55 percent to 45 percent)
GA-7 (GOPer Rob Woodall is ahead, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent)
ME-2 (it appears the race is headed to ranked choice to determine the winner)
NM-2 (NBC News retracted its earlier call in favor of the Republicans; Dem Xochitl Torres Small is ahead, 51 percent to 49 percent)
NC-9 (GOPer Mark Harris is ahead, 49.4 percent to 48.8 percent)
NJ-3 (Dem Andy Kim is ahead, 49.9 percent to 48.8 percent)
UT-4 (Dem Ben McAdams is ahead, 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent)
Sen. Hyde-Smith: 'If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row'
As for this month’s upcoming Senate runoff in Mississippi, there’s this news, via NBC’s Phil McCausland: “A video of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., who faces a runoff against an African-American opponent, joking about attending ‘a public hanging’ went viral Sunday as she insisted there was nothing negative about her remark. ‘If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row,’ Hyde-Smith said during a campaign stop in Tupelo, Mississippi. The man she was referring to was identified as a local rancher. Hyde-Smith's opponent in the runoff is former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.”
“The video was posted by Lamar White Jr., the publisher of The Bayou Brief, a nonprofit news site in Louisiana. White told Mississippi Today that he did not take the video, and it was recorded on Nov. 2, before the election. Mississippi has a difficult racial history that includes 581 lynchings between 1882 and 1968, the most of any state in that period, according to the NAACP.”
“Hyde-Smith, who's running to complete the final two years of the Senate term she assumed when she was appointed to replace Thad Cochran in March, disregarded the comment in a statement Sunday night. ‘In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement,’ Hyde-Smith said. ‘In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.’”
In rebuke of Trump, Macron warns against nationalism
NBC’s Carol Lee, Kristen Welker and Kelly O’Donnell: “French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ approach to international affairs at a ceremony on Sunday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. ‘Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,’ Macron said. ‘By saying, “Our interests first, who cares about the others,” we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.’”
“Macron’s remarks, which he delivered just steps from Trump and more than 80 other world leaders, come on the heels of the U.S. president proudly declaring himself a ‘nationalist.’”
In less than a week, Trump attacked three U.S. institutions — the judicial system, the press and the election process
“In the three days after the Democrats captured the House, President Trump fired his attorney general and replaced him with a loyalist critical of both the courts and the Russia investigation. He banned a CNN correspondent from the White House, while threatening he would do the same to other journalists. And he accused election officials in Florida and Arizona of rigging the vote against candidates he had campaigned for,” the New York Times said on Friday.
And this morning, Trump fired off this tweet: “The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”
NBC News, as mentioned above, hasn’t called Florida’s Senate race.
Schiff: If Whitaker doesn’t recuse himself in the Russia probe, Democrats will demand answers from him
NBC’s Ben Kamisar recaps Rep. Adam Schiff’s appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday: “Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., warned acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker that he should recuse himself from oversight over special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe amid concerns about his view of the investigation.”
“‘If he doesn't recuse himself, if he has any involvement whatsoever in this Russia probe, we are going to find out whether he made commitments to the president about the probe, whether he is serving as a back channel to the president or his lawyers about the probe, whether he's doing anything to interfere with the probe,’ Schiff said Sunday on NBC's ‘Meet the Press.’”
“‘Mr. Whitaker needs to understand that he will be called to answer, and any role that he plays will be exposed to the public. We don't want there to be any ambiguity about that.’”
Democrats face a choice for 2020: Progressive inspiration (Beto?) or midwest/rural America (Klobuchar?)
“For Democrats, the victories, near wins and stinging losses on Tuesday have intensified a debate in the party about how to retake the White House, with moderates arguing they must find a candidate who can appeal to President Trump’s supporters and historically Republican suburbanites, and progressives claiming they need someone with the raw authenticity to electrify the grass roots,” the New York Times wrote over the weekend.
But we have a (slightly) different take on the 2020 choice that Democratic voters have: It’s between an Obama 2.0 hope/inspiration model (Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren), and a no-nonsense experience politician who might be able to over-perform in the midwest and rural America (Amy Klobuchar, Steve Bullock, Joe Biden)
By the way, NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports that Democrat Richard Ojeda, who lost his WV-3 campaign, has formed a presidential campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission.
So yeah, if someone like Ojeda is running, we need to brace ourselves for 20 to 30 Democrats running in 2020.