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The Morning After: Notes on the OH-12 special election, WA and KS primaries.

Welcome! I’m G. Elliott Morris. Here's a special edition of my typically weekly newsletter to brief y
August 8 · Issue #1 · View online
The Crosstab Weekly Newsletter
Welcome! I’m G. Elliott Morris. Here’s a special edition of my typically weekly newsletter to brief you on and breakdown the results in some key US elections last night. Without further ado!

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Results from last nights primaries and special elections across the country:
OH-12: Republican Troy Balderson bested opponent Democrat Danny O'Connor last night in this R+14 district, but by just a razor thin 0.9 point margin. Some takeaways from this closer-than-it-should-have-been special election:
  • In the Democratic counties that make up the seat, voters surged to the polls, maybe even more so than in PA-18.
  • As a rough guide, Republicans in R+15 or more Democratic districts should be panicking about reelection prospects. Of course, this is more true in open seats than for incumbents who receive a boost in vote margin because they receive access to resources from holding office that other candidates do not
  • Suburban voters are going to be a key demographic that (probably, but not guaranteed) propel Democrats to the House in November. But they have not demonstrated an ability overcome a movement right among rural whites who don’t have ancestral ties to the Democratic party.
  • WWC voters who switched from Obama to Trump are able to be persuaded by Dem positions (health care for all, a less regressive tax plan, etc) but they probably aren’t going to be the coalition member that saves Dems in 2020. Nonvoting minority voters hold the baton.
  • Overall, the good news for Ds in #OH12 tonight is the same good news they’ve been getting from special elections and the generic ballot for months. I go to bed not changing my priors much about the House midterms, though I maybe would have if Ds had 1 more seat heading into Nov.
  • There are about 50 Republican-held House seats that are more competitive than OH-12, and nearly 75 that are more competitive than the average swing in special elections so far. This number is not based on seat partisanship alone and is adjusted for things like incumbency status and candidate quality, where polls are available.

WA primaries: Washington Republicans, including the most senior woman congressional legislator Cathy McMorris Rodgers, performed below expectations Tuesday night.
  • WA-05: Republicans hold a slim lead in the share of total ballots cast here, a sign of a tough election day for incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers. WA-05 is an R+15 seat.
  • WA-03: A smaller lead for Republicans in this GOP-held R+9 seat
  • WA-08: With some ballots left to be counted, Democrats have the lead in share of ballots cast here. WA-08 is a very competitive seat, forecast to be a key Democratic pickup in the fall midterms.
Figure via UC Irvine PhD candidate Carlos Algara (@algaraca)

KS governor primaries: Republican Secretary of State of Kansas Kris Kobach will face off against Democrat Laura Kelly in the November gubernatorial election. Kobach won a slim 0.1 point victory over Republican Incumbent governor Jeff Colyer. Two things:
  • Republicans have elected extreme candidates over incumbents in many elections in the past, especially since the Tea Party churn in 2010 and 2012. However, GOP voters opting for Kobach over Colyer is a 2017/18 special case of this that we’ve seen several times since the 2016 election: An endorsement from Trump can be a blessing from the election gods, especially to underdog candidates who otherwise hurt the party’s chances of victory in November.
  • Kobach’s nomination could make it probable that Democrats win the Kansas governors’ mansion in November. Kobach had a net favorability rating of -17 percentage points in a spring poll from Fort Hays State University. In the only poll of the November contest so far, Kelly (D) has a lead over Kobach ®, though the margin is within the poll’s margin of error and the GOP-aligned pollster uses substandard methods. Also, hey, we’re 3 months away so maybe take these numbers with a grain of salt?
Thanks for reading!
That’s it for today’s edition of my newsletter. Tune in later this week for the regularly-scheduled newsletter covering all things data in(/and) politics!
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