Midterms Were a Buffet Election for Democrats, Republicans
Each side can pick what it liked best from the results — and ignore warning signs

When I was a kid in small-town Oregon, my family would occasionally go to King’s Table, and my sister and I would get free rein at the buffet.

I became famous in my own family for my condiment salad — an impressive collection of bacon bits, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and plenty of ranch dressing. Essentially, my strategy involved choosing what looked and tasted good and avoiding anything of nutritional value.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Confessions of an Elections Analyst
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Nathan L. Gonzales knows exactly what’s going to happen on Election Day. Sort of. Maybe. Kinda. Maybe not.

After nearly two years of analyzing data and polling trends from hundreds of races, Roll Call’s elections analyst thinks he has a pretty good sense of where things could go on November 6th and beyond, but after the 2016 election it’s impossible to rule anything out.

25 Race Ratings Changes Less Than a Week Before Midterms
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

After two years of analyzing and prognosticating, it's finally almost here: Nov. 6, Election Day. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales takes you through where the House and Senate battlegrounds have landed with a video debrief on the most recent ratings changes, listed in full here: 

House

Let Beto O’Rourke Keep His Money
Claims that Texas Democrat’s fundraising is robbing from other candidates are exaggerated

I’m old enough to remember when some Democrats and reporters suggested that Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke donate his Senate campaign money to other candidates and causes.

But the latest Quinnipiac University survey found the congressman within 5 points of Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, clearing him, it would seem, to just spend it on his own race. It was ridiculous to suggest he give away his hard-earned cash in the first place.

Explosive Rhetoric Ramping Up, But Do Voters Care?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 42

Praising violence against reporters. Sending pipe bombs to public figures. Threatening political opponents. The fiery rhetoric is in full swing as the nation enters the homestretch of the 2018 midterm election. Is any of it changing voters’ attitudes or behavior? Roll Call Senior Political Writer Simone Pathé and Inside Elections Editor Nathan Gonzales discuss the effect of all the bad vibes on the electorate. 

12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races: 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

With so many close races in the ever-changing 2018 landscape, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales has one big question: how long after Election Day will the nation have to wait before knowing which party will control Congress? Watch the video for Gonzales’ analysis, plus a debrief on a handful of ratings changes less than three weeks out, which are listed in full below.

Senate

Republicans Need a Cold Compress With Less Than One Month to Go
Presidential pain still plagues vulnerable incumbents ahead of the midterms

ANALYSIS — Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

24 House Ratings Change in Favor of Democrats, One Month Out
 

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has two dozen House race ratings shifts — and they’re all positive for Democrats. Nearly one month from Election Day, Gonzales discusses how it’s more a question of Democratic prospects being good or great in the House than anything else. See below for a full list of all the ratings shifts and watch the video for more analysis. ...
Don’t Sweat the Election Night Surprises
From Nancy Boyda to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upsets happen for different reasons

What will be the biggest surprise on election night?

It’s a common and valid question, but I’m always a little amused by it.

12 House Ratings Changes: Democrats Are More Likely Than Not to Win Majority
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has a dozen updates to his House ratings, all in favor of Democrats. Watch the video for more on Republicans' efforts this September to discredit Democrats in key races as the midterm election is now just seven weeks away.

Prepare to Be Disappointed on Election Night
Close races, voting schemes and mail-in ballots could all complicate calling control of Congress on Nov. 6

After two years of campaigning in the latest most consequential election of our lifetimes, election night could be a huge letdown. The disappointment is not about which party prevails Nov. 6, but the reality that a combination of close races and West Coast contests could prevent enough races from being called to determine majorities in Congress until days later.

In the Senate, more than 10 races could finish within single digits, and a handful of those contests look like they’re neck and neck. The close margins could make it difficult for media outlets to project a winner on election night. Since Republicans have just a two-seat majority, every Senate race matters, so anything left uncalled could make it difficult to figure out who will control the chamber next year.

What 39,000 Words in 15 Profiles Didn’t Tell You About Beto O’Rourke
El Paso politician has had a long rise to a position of national prominence

I’m pretty sure three new profiles of Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke have been published in the time it took me to write this lede. Yet the only thing more remarkable than the sheer volume of stories written about the congressman is that none of them put his 2012 House victory in proper context.

I read more than a dozen profiles, and they most often describe a young, sweaty candidate with Kennedy-esque looks and punk sensibilities as an accidental and almost reluctant challenger to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. But O’Rourke was never going to be content with being on the El Paso City Council or playing bass for the band Foss.

12 Ratings Changes: Democrats Could Gain Up to 8 Governor Seats in 2018
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales — an authoritative look at where things stand for 2018

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales has a dozen updates to his ratings for the 36 gubernatorial seats up for election this midterm. Eight of his recent shifts favor Democrats, who are poised to make gains that could be crucial ahead of the 2020 census count and ensuing redistricting fights.

Below are all the ratings changes. You can also explore the map at Roll Call's 2018 Election Guide:

Anti-Trump Fervor Puts Senate in Play
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 119

5 States That Will Decide the House Majority
Watch these states to tell if Democrats are having a good election night

With a growing number of vulnerable House districts, there might be too much to watch for on election night. But by focusing on just a handful of states, you can get a pretty good idea of whether Democrats are having a good enough night to gain the 23 seats necessary to win back the majority.

Competitive races: 5

A Congressional Candidate Plays Softball in an Ad, and I Have Lots of Questions
For starters, why is Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval wearing jeans?

When I saw Ohio Democrat Aftab Pureval playing softball in a campaign ad, I felt like my years of election analysis and beer-league softball were finally coming together.

Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts, is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st District. He’s running a competitive race (which we’ve rated Leans Republican) and outraised the congressman through June 30 ($1.6 million to $959,000).

30 House Ratings Shift in Favor of Democrats, 2 Move Toward GOP
This doesn’t mean the majority is lost for Republicans, but they have a lot of fires to put out

Labor Day is supposed to be the official start of general election season, but many of the top House and Senate races are well underway.

In fact, the campaign trail has been so busy that Inside Elections recently issued 32 race ratings changes, most in favor of the Democrat in the race.

House Ratings Change in Favor of Democrats
 

Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales is changing the House ratings on more than 30 races, most of them in Democrats' favor. He breaks down which races have changed and why....
Why We’re Not Changing the Rating for Duncan Hunter’s Seat, Yet
It’s already a competitive seat, for one

Whenever a member of Congress is indicted, it’s a good idea to take a long, hard look at their re-election chances. It’s also reasonable to believe their prospects for another term would be diminished and political handicappers would immediately downgrade their race. But it’s not so simple with GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter and California’s 50th District.

When New York Republican Chris Collins was indicted a couple weeks ago, we shifted New York’s 27th District from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. It was an acknowledgment that an indictment at least warrants a district be on the list of competitive races.