2018 United States elections

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2018 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 6
Incumbent presidentDonald Trump (Republican)
Next Congress116th
Senate elections
Overall controlRepublican Hold
Seats contested35 of 100 seats
(33 seats of Class I +2 special elections)
Net seat changeR+2
2018 United States Senate elections.svg
2018 Senate results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold
  Independent hold

House elections
Overall controlDemocratic Gain
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats
+5 of 6 non-voting seats
Net seat changeD+40 to D+41
US House 2018.svg
2018 House of Representatives results
(territorial delegate races not shown)

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested39 (36 states, 3 territories)
Net seat changeD+7
Alabama gubernatorial election, 2018Alaska gubernatorial election, 2018Arizona gubernatorial election, 2018Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2018California gubernatorial election, 2018Colorado gubernatorial election, 2018Connecticut gubernatorial election, 2018Washington, D.C. mayoral election, 2018Florida gubernatorial election, 2018Georgia gubernatorial election, 2018Hawaii gubernatorial election, 2018Idaho gubernatorial election, 2018Illinois gubernatorial election, 2018Iowa gubernatorial election, 2018Kansas gubernatorial election, 2018Maine gubernatorial election, 2018Maryland gubernatorial election, 2018Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2018Michigan gubernatorial election, 2018Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2018Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2018Nevada gubernatorial election, 2018New Hampshire gubernatorial election, 2018New Mexico gubernatorial election, 2018New York gubernatorial election, 2018Ohio gubernatorial election, 2018Oklahoma gubernatorial election, 2018Oregon gubernatorial election, 2018Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2018Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2018South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2018South Dakota gubernatorial election, 2018Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2018Texas gubernatorial election, 2018Vermont gubernatorial election, 2018Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2018Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2018Guam gubernatorial election, 2018Northern Mariana Islands gubernatorial election, 2018United States Virgin Islands gubernatorial election, 20182018 United States gubernatorial election results.svg
About this image
2018 gubernatorial election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold
  Republican gain   Republican hold

The 2018 United States elections were held in the United States on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.[a] These midterm elections took place in the middle of Republican President Donald Trump's term. Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the United States Senate and all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were contested. Thirty-nine state and territorial governorships as well as numerous other state and local elections were also contested. In the elections, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives and made gains at the state level while the Republican Party expanded its majority in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives elections, Democrats made a net gain of at least 40 seats.[b] Democratic victory in the House of Representatives ended the unified control of Congress and the presidency that the Republican Party had established in the 2016 elections. In the Senate elections, Republicans expanded their majority by two seats. In both chambers, many of the defeated incumbents represented districts that had voted for the presidential candidate of the opposing party in the 2016 presidential election. As a result of the 2018 elections, the 116th United States Congress will be the first Congress since the 99th United States Congress in which the Democrats control the House and the Republicans control the Senate. This also marks the fourth consecutive midterm election in which at least one chamber of Congress switched to the party that did not control the presidency.

In the gubernatorial elections, Democrats won control of seven state governorships. 87 of the 99 state legislative chambers held regularly-scheduled elections in 2018 and the Democratic Party gained control of at least 350 state legislative seats and seven state legislative chambers. As a result of these elections, Democrats gained unified control of seven state governments and broke unified Republican control of four state governments. Republicans established unified control in Alaska by winning a majority in the Alaska House of Representatives and winning the Alaska gubernatorial race. In referenda, different states voted to expand Medicaid coverage, establish independent redistricting commissions, legalize marijuana, end the practice of permanent felony disenfranchisement, and enact various other proposals.

The election was characterized by relatively high voter participation, as turnout reached the highest level seen in a mid-term election since 1914. The elections saw several firsts for women, racial minorities, and LGBT candidates, including the election of the first openly gay governor, the first female Muslim members of Congress, and the first female Native American members of Congress. Major issues debated during the campaign include immigration, abortion, the American Health Care Act of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Trump administration, gun control, energy policy and alleged Russian interference in these elections. Pundits, journalists and political leaders differed in their assessment of the 2018 elections—some saw the elections as a major victory for Democrats, as it resulted in their largest one-time gain of House seats since the 1974 elections. Others pointed to mixed results in the state elections and Republican gains in the Senate, as the 2018 elections represented the first net gain of Senate seats for the party holding the presidency since the 2002 elections.


Advertisements and issues[edit]

The 2018 mid-term elections featured a wider range and larger number of campaign advertisements than past mid-term elections.[1] Nearly half of all advertisements by Democrats focused on health care, in particular on defending the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and keeping in place protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.[2] Almost a third of Republicans ads focused on taxes, in particular the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[2] According to a report by CNN: "So far in House, Senate and governor races this year, more than $124 million has been spent on more than 280,000 immigration-related TV ad spots [...] that's more than five times the amount spent during the 2014 midterms, when about $23 million was spent on less than 44,000 spots".[3]

In October 2018, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that the chief focus of Republican messaging was on fear-mongering over immigration and race. According to The Washington Post, Trump "has settled on a strategy of fear – laced with falsehoods and racially tinged rhetoric – to help lift his party to victory in the coming midterms, part of a broader effort to energize Republican voters".[4] The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Trump and other Republicans are insistently seeking to tie Democrats to unfettered immigration and violent crime, and in some instances this summer and fall they have attacked minority candidates in nakedly racial terms".[5] Toronto Star reported that as the mid-term elections approached, Trump resorted to "a blizzard of fear-mongering and lies, many of them about darker-skinned foreigners".[6]

Vulnerable Republican candidates who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017—which repealed portions of the Affordable Care Act—sought to defend their votes with what CNN described as "falsehoods and obfuscations".[7] A number of those Republican candidates claimed to support provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as protections for preexisting conditions, even though they voted for efforts that either weakened or eliminated those provisions.[7]

President Trump and officials campaigning[edit]

In May 2018, President Trump began to emphasize his effort to overcome the traditional strength of the non-presidential party in midterm elections, with "top priority for the White House [being to hold] the Republican majority in the Senate". He was already at that time well into his own 2020 reelection campaign, having launched it on inauguration day, 2017. In May, on a trip to Texas for a Houston fundraiser targeting the midterms, he also held a fundraising dinner in Dallas for the 2020 campaign.[8] By early August, the President's midterm efforts had included rallies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana and elsewhere "reprising the style and rhetoric of his 2016 campaign". Democrats "need to flip 23 seats to capture the speaker's gavel", USA Today put it. The President was addressing the economy, the border wall, the "trade war", "don't believe anything" and the space force in the rallies, per the report.[9]

In late August 2018, controversy surfaced about the degree of campaigning being done on what were termed "official" visits around the country. One report said, traditionally, partisan attacks and endorsements were kept out of official events but that President Trump was not observing that norm. Beyond the norm, one commentator was quoted referring to "laws designed to prevent taxpayer resources from being used for self-serving purposes – in this case, for campaign purposes". White House-recognized individuals "familiar with the president's thinking" spoke without attribution on a conference call and in another call about the campaigning. The individuals identified 35 events by Cabinet and senior staff members "with or affecting House districts in August already [...] [all] targeted districts" and described a July 26 presidential trip, presented as "official", as having been "for" Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa and Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois. The White House (via deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters) responded to the report: "It is unfortunate but ultimately unsurprising that a liberal publication like Huffington Post would make these misleading accusations and misconstrue the intent of the response".[10]

Federal elections[edit]


Control of Senate seats by class after the 2018 elections
Class Democratic Republican Independent Next
1 21 10 2 2024
2 12 21 0 2020
3 12 22 0 2022
Total 45 53 2 N/A

In the 2018 elections, Republicans sought to defend the Senate majority that they had maintained since the 2014 Senate elections. Thirty-five of the 100 Senate seats were up for election, including all 33 Class 1 Senate seats. Class 2 Senate seats in Minnesota and Mississippi each held special elections to fill vacancies. The Class 1 Senate elections were for terms lasting from January 2019 to January 2025, while the Class 2 special elections were for terms ending in January 2021. 24 of the seats up for election were held by Democrats, two of the seats up for election were held by independents caucusing with the Democrats, and eight of the seats up for election were held by Republicans.[11] Three Republican incumbents did not seek election in 2018, while all Democratic and independent incumbents sought another term. 42 Republican senators and 23 Democratic senators were not up for election.

Assuming that the two independents won re-election and continued to caucus with them, Senate Democrats needed to win a net gain of two Senate seats to win a majority.[c] Including the two independents, Democrats held approximately 74 percent of the seats up for election, the highest proportion held by one party in a midterm election since at least 1914.[11] Prior to the 2018 elections, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight wrote that Democrats faced one of the most unfavorable Senate maps that any party had ever faced in any Senate election. Silver noted that ten of the seats Democrats defended were in states won by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.[12][13] Meanwhile, the Class I Senate seat in Nevada was the lone Republican-held seat up for election in a state that had been won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.[14] Silver predicted that even a nine-point victory in the nationwide popular vote for Congress would not be enough to give Democrats a majority in the Senate.[12] Some observers speculated that Republicans might be able to pick up a net of nine seats, which would give them the 60-seat super-majority necessary to break filibusters on legislation.[15]

Republicans won a net gain of two seats in the Senate. The 2018 elections were the first midterm elections since 2002 in which the party holding the presidency gained Senate seats.[11] Republicans defeated Democratic incumbents in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida. Democrats defeated the Republican incumbent in Nevada and picked up an open seat in Arizona. All four defeated Democratic incumbents represented states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election, while the lone defeated Republican incumbent represented a state won by Clinton.[14] Democratic incumbents tallied victories in the competitive Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as the key Northeastern swing state of Pennsylvania.[16] Montana and West Virginia, each of which voted for Trump by a margin of at least 20 points, also re-elected Democratic incumbents.[17] After the election, Chris Cillizza of CNN noted that by limiting their Senate losses in 2018, Democrats put themselves in position to potentially take control of the Senate in the 2020 or 2022 Senate elections.[15]

House of Representatives[edit]

Historical mid-term seat gains in the House of Representatives for the party not holding the presidency (the 2018 figure is a projection)

In the 2018 elections, Democrats sought to take control of the United States House of Representatives for the first time since the 2010 elections. All 435 voting seats in the House of Representatives were up for election to serve two-year terms. Additionally, elections were held to select five of the six non-voting delegates for the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.[d]

The 2018 House elections saw the largest number of retirements by incumbents of any election cycle since at least 1992.[18] By June 2018, 20 House Democrats and 44 House Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, had announced their retirement.[19] The disproportionate number of Republican retirements may have harmed Republican prospects in the 2018 mid-term elections due to the loss of incumbency advantage.[20][21][22]

Democrats had 193 seats immediately prior to the November elections, and needed to net at least 25 seats to win a majority in the House of Representatives. In the November elections, Democrats won a net gain of 40 seats. As the elections also saw Democrats fill a couple of vacant seats that had previously been controlled by the party, the Democrats won control of a total of 235 seats, while Republicans won control of at least 199 seats.[b] The net gain of 40 seats represented the Democratic Party's largest gain in the House since the 1974 elections.[23] Democrats won the nationwide popular vote for the House of Representatives by at least seven points, one of the highest margins won by either party since 1992.[24] Due in part to the surge in turnout, the total number of votes won by Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives nearly equaled the number of votes Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.[25] The 2018 elections were the third midterm elections since 2005 in which the president's party lost control of the House of Representatives.

Democrats defeated 29 Republican incumbents and picked up 14 open seats. Republicans did not defeat a single Democratic incumbent, though the party did pick up two open seats in Minnesota and one in Pennsylvania. Republicans defended the vast majority of their rural seats, but several urban and suburban seats flipped to the Democrats.[26] Many of the districts picked up by Democrats had given a majority or a plurality of their vote to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.[27] Of the 447 individuals who served in the House during the 115th Congress, at least 104 did not win re-election in 2018—this represents the third-highest turnover rate of any election cycle since 1974.[28]

Special elections[edit]

There were a total of eight special elections to the United States House of Representatives. These elections were held to fill vacancies for the remainder of the 115th Congress. As a result of the special elections held prior to November 6, Democrats won a net gain of one seat.

Four special elections were held prior to November 6, 2018:

Four special elections were held on November 6, 2018, coinciding with the regularly-scheduled elections:

State elections[edit]

Partisan control of states in the 2018 elections
  Democrats retained trifecta
  Democrats gained trifecta
  Republicans retained trifecta
  Republicans gained trifecta
  Divided government maintained
  Divided government established
  Officially non-partisan legislature

The vast majority of states held gubernatorial or state legislative elections in 2018. The 2018 state elections will impact the redistricting that will follow the 2020 United States Census as many states task governors and state legislators with drawing new boundaries for state legislative and Congressional districts.

Gubernatorial elections[edit]

Elections were held for the governorships of 36 U.S. states and three U.S. territories as well as for the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Democrats defended every seat they had controlled prior to the election and picked up seven governorships. They won open seats in Michigan, Nevada, Kansas, New Mexico and Maine and defeated Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin. They also picked up the independent-held seat in the U.S. Virgin Islands in a runoff election held November 20, 2018.[29] Most of the Democratic victories were in Democratic-leaning states or swing states. Democratic candidates ran well ahead of Hillary Clinton in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Carolina and other "red states" that had given large margins to Trump in the 2016 presidential. All of those candidates fell short, however, and Kansas was the lone red state to elect a Democratic governor in 2018.[30]

Republicans picked up the independent-held seat in Alaska, and Republican incumbents won election in competitive and Democratic-leaning states such as Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maryland. The party also won a competitive open seat elections held in Florida, Georgia and Ohio.[31] Democrats picked up the governorship of Guam, but the incumbent Republican governor of the Northern Marianas Islands won re-election.[e]

Legislative elections[edit]

Partisan control of congressional redistricting after the 2018 elections (note that most states will hold elections in 2019 or 2020 that could affect partisan control of the decennial redistricting that will occur prior to the 2022 elections)
  Democratic control
  Republican control
  Split or bipartisan control
  Independent redistricting commission
  No redistricting necessary[f]

Eighty-seven of the 99 state legislative chambers, in 46 states—6,069 seats out of the nation's 7,383 legislative seats (82%)—held regularly-scheduled elections.[33] Every territorial legislature except for the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico held elections for at least one chamber.[e] In some legislative chambers, all seats were up for election—some chambers with staggered terms held elections only for a portion of the seats in the chamber.[33][g]

Democrats flipped at least 350 state legislative seats,[34] picking up most of those seats in states where President Trump's approval rating was relatively low.[35] Six chambers—the Colorado Senate, New Hampshire House, New Hampshire Senate, Minnesota House, Maine Senate and New York State Senate—flipped from Republican to Democratic control.[36] Additionally the Connecticut Senate went from being evenly divided to a Democratic majority.[36] Democrats also broke Republican legislative supermajorities in North Carolina,[37] Michigan and Pennsylvania[35] and gained a legislative supermajority in both houses of the California and Oregon legislatures.[38][39] Republicans gained control of one chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives.[36]

Democrats gained a trifecta (control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers) in Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, New York and Nevada as well as in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.[40][34] Republicans lost trifectas in Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, but gained a trifecta in Alaska.[34][41] After the election, Democrats have 14 trifectas, Republicans have 23 trifectas and 13 states have a divided government (including Nebraska, which has a non-partisan legislature).[34]

Despite these Democratic gains, the party controlled a total of just 37 state legislative chambers after the election, far fewer chambers than it had controlled prior to the 2010 elections. Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures attributed the continuing Republican dominance of state legislatures in part to Republican control of redistricting in many states following 2010.[42] In at least three states (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan), Republicans retained control of the lower house even though a majority of voters voted for a Democratic candidate for the lower house.[43]

Following the 2018 elections, only a single state (Minnesota) had a legislature with divided control among the parties (Republicans maintained control of the state Senate while the House flipped to Democratic control). This was the first time in 104 years that only a single state had a divided legislature.[36]

Other state elections[edit]

Many states have statewide elected officials other than the governor. Such positions include secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and auditor. These officials can play important roles in setting policy and overseeing state functions. In 2018, Democrats won attorneys general races in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado; each position had previously been held by a Republican. After the elections, Democrats held 27 of the 50 attorneys general positions in the country.[44] Democrats also won control of the office of secretary of state in Michigan, Arizona, and Colorado, although Republicans still held a majority of the elected secretary of state positions nationwide.[45] Other offices that Democrats won control of in 2018 include the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction,[46] the Maine State Treasurer,[47] the Iowa State Auditor,[48] and the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.[49]

Ballot measures[edit]

  Medicaid expansion proposal passed
  Medicaid expansion previously implemented or passed
  No Medicaid expansion

A total of 157 ballot measures were voted on in 34 states. These include initiatives on redistricting reform, voting rights, marijuana, infrastructure, health care and taxes.[50]

As a result of successful ballot measures, Colorado, Michigan and Utah[51] established independent redistricting commissions while Nebraska, Utah and Idaho expanded access to Medicaid. Florida voters approved Florida Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to some felons who have served out their sentence.[52] Nevada and Michigan approved automatic voter registration, and Michigan expanded absentee voting. Also, Maryland approved same-day voter registration, allowing voters to register as late as on Election Day. In Arkansas and North Carolina, voter ID ballot measures were approved.[53] Michigan, Missouri and Utah voters approved marijuana proposals, with Michigan approving recreational marijuana and Missouri approving medical marijuana. Utah voters also approved medical marijuana, although Utah lawmakers later rolled back some of the provisions of the measure.[54] North Dakota voters voted down a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana.[55][56] In California, voters declined to repeal the 2017 Road Repair and Accountability Act, which increased fuel taxes and vehicle license fees to fund infrastructure improvements.[57] Nationwide, 96 transportation ballot measures worth about $30.68 billion passed at the state and local levels on Election Day—41 transportation-related ballot measures failed.[58]

Local elections[edit]

Mayoral elections[edit]

Incumbent candidates won in mayoral elections held in major cities, including Austin, Texas (Steve Adler); Providence, Rhode Island (Jorge Elorza); Washington, D.C. (Muriel Bowser); and Oakland, California (Libby Schaaf).[59] The District of Columbia and Oakland, in reelecting Bowser and Schaaf respectively, each re-elected mayors for the first time since 2002.[59][60]

Incumbent mayors were also re-elected in Chesapeake, Virginia (Richard West); Chula Vista, California (Mary Salas); Irvine, California (Donald P. Wagner); Long Beach, California (Robert Garcia); Louisville, Kentucky (Greg Fischer); Lubbock, Texas (Dan Pope); Newark, New Jersey (Ras J. Baraka); Reno, Nevada (Hillary Schieve); San Jose, California (Sam Liccardo); and Santa Ana, California (Miguel Pulido). In San Bernardino, California, John Valdivia defeated incumbent Mayor R. Carey Davis. Open seats were won in Anaheim, California (Harry Sidhu); Chandler, Arizona (Kevin Hartke); Garland, Texas (Lori Barnett-Dodson); and Trenton, New Jersey (Reed Gusciora).[61][62]

Mayoral elections in November 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, and Corpus Christi and Laredo, Texas, as well as Little Rock, Arkansas, resulted in no single candidate carrying a majority of the vote.[59][61] Frank Scott Jr. won the December 2018 runoff to become Little Rock's first elected African-American mayor.[63] The runoffs in Texas are scheduled for December 2018, and the Phoenix mayoral runoff is scheduled for March 2019.[61][59]

Although most local offices are nonpartisan, when looking at party identification of the officeholders, registered Republicans gained two mayorships during 2018. Linda Gorton won a seat previously held by a Democrat in Lexington, Kentucky and Bob Dyer won a seat previously held by an independent in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Following the November elections, registered Democrats hold 60 mayorships (−1) in the 100 largest cities in the United States, registered Republicans hold 28 (+2), and Independents hold 7 (−1).[64]

Special elections[edit]

Two nonpartisan mayoral special elections were held in 2018:

Other elections and referenda[edit]

Table of state, territorial and federal results[edit]

This table shows the partisan results of Congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative races held in each state and territories in 2018. Note that not all states and territories held gubernatorial, state legislative, and United States Senate elections in 2018—the territories and Washington, D.C. do not elect members of the United States Senate. Washington, D.C. and the five inhabited territories each elect one non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives. Nebraska's unicameral legislature and the governorship and legislature of American Samoa are officially non-partisan. Several seats in the House of Representatives were vacant at the time of the election.

Subdivision and PVI Before 2018 elections[67] After 2018 elections[68][69]
Subdivision PVI[70] Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
Alabama R+14 Rep Rep Split Rep 6–1 Rep Rep Split Rep 6–1
Alaska R+9 Ind Split Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
Arizona R+5 Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–4 Rep Rep Split Dem 5–4
Arkansas R+15 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0
California D+12 Dem Dem Dem Dem 39–14 Dem Dem Dem Dem 46–7
Colorado D+1 Dem Split Split Rep 4–3 Dem Dem Split Dem 4–3
Connecticut D+6 Dem Split Dem Dem 5–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem 5–0
Delaware D+6 Dem Dem Dem Dem 1–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem 1–0
Florida R+2 Rep Rep Split Rep 15–11 Rep Rep Rep Rep 14–13
Georgia R+5 Rep Rep Rep Rep 10–4 Rep Rep Rep Rep 9–5
Hawaii D+18 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0
Idaho R+19 Rep Rep Rep Rep 2–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 2–0
Illinois D+7 Rep Dem Dem Dem 11–7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 13–5
Indiana R+9 Rep Rep Split Rep 7–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2
Iowa R+3 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1 Rep Rep Rep Dem 3–1
Kansas R+13 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0 Dem Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Kentucky R+15 Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–1
Louisiana R+11 Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1 Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1
Maine D+3 Rep Split Split R/I[h] Split 1–1 Dem Dem Split R/I[h] Dem 2–0
Maryland D+12 Rep Dem Dem Dem 7–1 Rep Dem Dem Dem 7–1
Massachusetts D+12 Rep Dem Dem Dem 9–0 Rep Dem Dem Dem 9–0
Michigan D+1 Rep Rep Dem Rep 9–4 Dem Rep Dem Split 7–7
Minnesota D+1 Dem Rep Dem Dem 5–3 Dem Split Dem Dem 5–3
Mississippi R+9 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Missouri R+9 Rep Rep Split Rep 6–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–2
Montana R+11 Dem Rep Split Rep 1–0 Dem Rep Split Rep 1–0
Nebraska R+14 Rep NP Rep Rep 3–0 Rep NP Rep Rep 3–0
Nevada D+1 Rep Dem Split Dem 3–1 Dem Dem Dem Dem 3–1
New Hampshire Even Rep Rep Dem Dem 2–0 Rep Dem Dem Dem 2–0
New Jersey D+7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–5 Dem Dem Dem Dem 11–1
New Mexico D+3 Rep Dem Dem Dem 2–1 Dem Dem Dem Dem 3–0
New York D+11 Dem Split Dem Dem 17–9 Dem Dem Dem Dem 21–6
North Carolina R+3 Dem Rep Rep Rep 10–3 Dem Rep Rep Rep 9–3[i]
North Dakota R+17 Rep Rep Split Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
Ohio R+3 Rep Rep Split Rep 12–4 Rep Rep Split Rep 12–4
Oklahoma R+20 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–1
Oregon D+5 Dem Dem Dem Dem 4–1 Dem Dem Dem Dem 4–1
Pennsylvania Even Dem Rep Split Rep 10–6 Dem Rep Split Split 9–9
Rhode Island D+10 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0
South Carolina R+8 Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–2
South Dakota R+14 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
Tennessee R+14 Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2
Texas R+8 Rep Rep Rep Rep 25–11 Rep Rep Rep Rep 23–13
Utah R+20 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Vermont D+15 Rep Dem Split D/I[j] Dem 1–0 Rep Dem Split D/I[j] Dem 1–0
Virginia D+1 Dem Rep Dem Rep 7–4 Dem Rep Dem Dem 7–4
Washington D+7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 6–4 Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–3
West Virginia R+20 Rep Rep Split Rep 2–0 Rep Rep Split Rep 3–0
Wisconsin Even Rep Rep Split Rep 5–3 Dem Rep Split Rep 5–3
Wyoming R+25 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
United States Even Rep 33–16–1 Rep 31–13 Rep 51–49[k] Rep 235–193 Rep 27–23 Rep 30–18 Rep 53–47[k] Dem 235–199[i]
Washington, D.C. D+43 Dem[l] Dem[l] N/A Dem Dem Dem N/A Dem
American Samoa N/A NP NP Rep NP NP Rep
Guam Rep Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem
N. Mariana Islands Rep Rep Ind[m] Rep Rep Ind[m]
Puerto Rico PNP/D[n] PNP PNP/R[o] PNP/D[n] PNP PNP/R[o]
U.S. Virgin Islands Ind Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem
Subdivision PVI Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
Subdivision and PVI Before 2018 elections After 2018 elections

Ballot issues and recounts[edit]


In Arizona, a court settlement was reached on November 9 between Democrats and Republicans after Republicans filled a lawsuit on November 7 to attempt to prevent Maricopa and Pima counties from using procedures that permit mail-in ballot fixes to occur beyond election day.[71] The settlement gave all counties until November 14 to address problems with the ballots for the state's Senate race.


Recounts of ballots were ordered for Florida's Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races on November 10 after the tallies from 67 counties were deemed too close to call.[72] Due to the recount ordered, Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum withdrew his earlier concession to Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.[73] On November 9, Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott filed two lawsuits against election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties that alleged officials were hiding critical information about the number of votes cast and counted. While the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced on November 9 they would not be investigating election officials,[74] a state judge ruled for the Republican candidate, that Republicans be granted "immediate" access to requested information.[75]

In total there were 8 lawsuits that were filed in the days after November 7. In Broward County, there was Rick Scott for Senate v Brenda Snipes (November 11), Rick Scott for Senate v Brenda Snipes (November 10), Matt Caldwell v Brenda Snipes (November 9), and Rick Scott for Senate v Brenda Snipes (November 8). In Palm Beach County, there was Rick Scott for Senate v Susan Bucher (November 11) and Rick Scott for Senate v Susan Bucher (November 8), along with 2 federal lawsuits; Democratic National Committee et al. v Ken Detzner (November 11) and Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate v Ken Detzner (November 8).[76] On November 19, the Supervisor of Elections for Broward County, Florida, Brenda Snipes, announced her resignation from her post, effective January 4, 2019, after national scrutiny led to widespread condemnation by Republicans.[77]


In Georgia, a judge placed a temporary restraining order on Doughterty county results on November 9, as some of the 14,000 requested absentee ballots were allegedly re-routed through Tallahassee due to Hurricane Michael and the county cannot certify its results as all the ballots have not been counted.[78] Before the election there were allegations of voter suppression raised in Georgia, as well as outcry that candidate Brian Kemp did not resign from his position as Secretary of State, which oversaw the election.[79] On November 12, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams filed a lawsuit to prevent two counties from rejecting absentee ballots with minor mistakes, such as if a voter moved and had not changed their address.[80]

During her concession speech on November 16, Abrams announced her plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging the way the state elections were run. She alleged that Kemp used his position of Secretary of State and its office, to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforce an "exact match" policy for checking voters identities that left many voters in limbo and other measures to tip the election in his favor.[81]

North Carolina[edit]

The North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously on December 4 to not certify the congressional race in North Carolina's 9th district after allegations of potential wide spread election fraud in the district.[82] The board has declared a public hearing would be held by December 21 to ensure that the election can be declared without fraud or corruption.[83] At least one news source has reported that the board had already collected, as evidence of election fraud, 6 sworn statements from voters in Bladen County alleging that individuals called on them to pick up their absentee ballots.[82]

Historic turnout[edit]

Turnout of the voting eligible population in midterm elections since 1945, with the 2018 figure being an estimate and the highest since the 1914 midterm election which had a 50.4% turnout

On November 3, it was reported that the number of early voters was 31.5 million, which broke the 2014 record.[84] The number was raised to about 40 million ballots on November 6.[85] Some states, such as Texas and Nevada, reported that officials had received more early ballots already processed than those who voted at all in the 2014 midterm election.[85]

A professor from the University of Florida, Michael McDonald, documented the ballot numbers as they were reported, and reported that the percentage turnout of eligible voters surpassed the 1966 midterm election percentage of 48.7% and that it is the largest midterm turnout since the 1914 midterm election, which had a 50.4% turnout.[86][87][88][89] McDonald estimated the voter turnout to be around 49.3%, almost 13 percentage points higher than the previous midterm elections in 2014.

Twenty-three states had double-digit percentage-point increases compared to average turnout in midterm elections held between 1982 and 2014. Among the states that saw the highest growth in turnout were Georgia, whose 55% turnout was 21 points higher than previous elections, and Texas, whose turnout of 46% was 14 points higher than the state's average between 1982 and 2014.[90]

Records and firsts[edit]

The Center for Responsive Politics projected that a total of more than $5.2 billion was spent by campaigns leading up to the elections and 2018 is projected to be the most expensive elections in United States history, breaking the previous record from 2016 of $4.4 billion.[91]

The level of minority candidates was substantially higher and more diverse in 2018 than in previous elections. Jared Polis was elected the first openly gay Governor of Colorado, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, of Minnesota and Michigan, became the first female Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives,[92] Ayanna Pressley became the first female African-American woman elected to the House from Massachusetts,[93] Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, from Kansas and New Mexico, became the first Native American women elected to Congress[94] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York became the youngest ever female member of the House, at age 29. CNN wrote that "the 2018 midterm elections brought a series of history-making votes that marked major accomplishments for women and LGBT candidates."[95]

Minnesota became the only state in which each party controlled one chamber of the state legislature. Prior to the 2018 election, 1914 was the most recent year in which there was only one state with a divided legislature.[34]

Alleged foreign interference[edit]

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated during congressional testimony that "the United States is under attack" from Russian efforts to impact the results of the elections.[96] As of February 13, 2018, six U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously reported their conclusion[97] that Russian personnel are monitoring American electoral systems and promoting partisan causes on social media.[98]

On May 23, 2018, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in a committee hearing that the Federal government of the United States was not adequately protected from Russian interference in the 2018 midterms elections, saying, "No responsible government official would ever state that they have done enough to forestall any attack on the United States of America".[99]

On July 26, 2018, Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri alleged that Russian hackers unsuccessfully attempted to break into her Senate email account,[100] confirming a report in The Daily Beast.[101]

On August 2, 2018, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats announced along with FBI Director Christopher Wray at a White House press conference that Russia is actively interfering in the 2018 elections, saying "It is real. It is ongoing".[102]

Also on August 2, 2018, NPR reported that Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire reported to the FBI several attempts to compromise her campaign[103] including both spearphishing attempts on her staff and a disturbing incident where someone called her offices "impersonating a Latvian official, trying to set up a meeting to talk to me about Russian sanctions and about Ukraine". Her opposition to Russian aggression and support of sanctions has placed her on an official Russian blacklist.[104]

On August 8, 2018, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida told the Tampa Bay Times that Russian operatives have penetrated some of Florida's election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. "They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about," Nelson told the newspaper. He also stated that more detailed information is classified.[105] The Russian hackers may be able to prevent some voters from casting votes by removing people from the voter rolls.[106] Nelson provided no evidence of Russian hacking and was criticized by The Washington Post's Fact Checker who gave Nelson's claim four Pinocchios denoting it as an outright lie.[107]

On July 16, 2018 at a summit in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed the conclusions of the United States Intelligence Community, stating that he believed Putin's repeated denials of interference in American elections. Later, President Trump answered "no" in response to questions asking if he believed Russia would be targeting the midterm elections, but later claimed he was refusing to answer the question, not responding to it. In late July, the President said in a tweet that he's "very concerned" about allegations of Russian meddling, but adding that he believed interference would only benefit Democrats.[108]

In a September 2018 speech at the United Nations Security Council and Twitter posts, Trump made no mention of Russian interference, but accused China of meddling in the U.S. midterm elections, asserting that "they don't want me or us to win" because of his imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods.[109] China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi responded by stating that "we did not and will not interfere in any countries' domestic affairs. We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China".[110] While the Chinese government has used its cyber-warfare capacities for espionage and to monitor Chinese dissidents overseas, there is no evidence that China used its cybercapabilities to interfere in the 2018 U.S. elections.[109]

Aftermath and reactions[edit]

Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each declared victory for their respective parties in the 2018 elections

Democratic control of the House of Representatives ensures that they can prevent the passage of conservative legislation in the 116th United States Congress, which will meet from January 2019 to January 2021. The party will also gain control of congressional committees with the power to issue subpoenas and investigate various issues. However, by keeping control of the Senate, Republicans will be able to confirm President Trump's nominees without Democratic support.[111]

After the election, despite the clear Democratic takeover of the House, President Trump stated that he had won a "Big Victory." He indicated that he looked forward to "a beautiful bipartisan-type situation," but promised to assume a "warlike posture" if House Democrats launched investigations into his administration. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that her party won gains because of voter desire to "[restore] the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration".[112] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Senate Democrats performed "much better than expected" in a difficult election cycle.[113] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that election day was "a very good day" for his party.[114]

Analysts, journalist and pundits differed in their assessments of Democratic gains in the election. It was considered a blue (Democratic) tsunami by a Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, and a blue wave by Republican pollster, Glen Bolger.[115] The editorial board of The Washington Examiner argued that Republicans had suffered smaller-than-average losses for a mid-term election and Damon Young of The Root stated his belief that the election "should have been a disaster for [the Republican Party] [...] but it wasn't". John Cassidy of The New Yorker argued that the election "represented a significant rebuke to Trump". James Pinkerton of The American Conservative wrote that the election showed that voters prefer divided control of the federal government.[116] Tara Golshan of Vox argued that the election constituted a "massive victory" for Democrats, but argued that gerrymandering and voter suppression prevented larger gains for the party.[117] Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post wrote that the election may have constituted a "blue wave", but added that "the massive repudiation of Trump that Democrats hoped for simply didn’t happen".[118] Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight stated that the election was "by any historical standard, a blue wave".[24] Chris Cillizza of CNN wrote: "Was it an A+ for [the Democratic Party]? No. But it was a hell of a lot better than a C".[119]



  1. ^ Some special elections as well as the regularly-scheduled elections in the Northern Mariana Islands were held on other dates.
  2. ^ a b Democrats won a net gain of 40 seats on election day, but gained one more seat in a special election held earlier in 2018. One House race in North Carolina has not been certified due to allegations of election fraud.
  3. ^ Democrats needed to win 51 seats to acquire a Senate majority. In a hypothetical tied Senate where each caucus had 50 senators, the vote of Republican Vice President Mike Pence would have given Senate Republicans the majority.
  4. ^ One non-voting member of the House of Representatives, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, serves a four-year term and was not up for election in 2018.
  5. ^ a b The 2018 general election in the Northern Marianas Islands were delayed until November 13 due to Typhoon Yutu, which struck the territory shortly before the scheduled November 6 election date.
  6. ^ States labeled as "no redistricting necessary" currently only have one congressional district, and thus do not need to redistrict. However, some projections show that, prior to the next round of redistricting, Rhode Island could lose its second district and Montana could gain a second district.[32]
  7. ^ There were no legislative elections in the four states (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia) which hold state elections in odd-numbered years. There were also no elections to the Kansas Senate, Minnesota Senate, New Mexico Senate and South Carolina Senate since all seats in those chambers are elected in presidential-election years.[33]
  8. ^ a b One of Maine's senators, Susan Collins, is a Republican. The other senator from Maine, Angus King, is an independent who has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2013.
  9. ^ a b The House of Representatives election for North Carolina's 9th congressional district has not yet been called
  10. ^ a b One of Vermont's senators, Patrick Leahy, is a Democrat. The other senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, was elected as an independent and has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2007.
  11. ^ a b The Democratic Senate caucus consisted of 47 Democrats and 2 independents prior to the 2018 elections and 45 Democrats and two independents after the elections.
  12. ^ a b Washington, D.C. does not elect a governor or state legislature, but it does elect a mayor and a city council.
  13. ^ a b Delegate Gregorio Sablan was elected as an independent, but he has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2009.
  14. ^ a b Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló was elected as a member of the New Progressive Party and affiliates with the Democratic Party at the national level.
  15. ^ a b Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer González, was elected as a member of the New Progressive Party and has caucused with the Republicans since taking office in 2017.


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Further reading[edit]