Today is the “Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November,” and it is time again for Americans to cast their ballots.
Across the nation we are voting to select members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In about two-thirds of states, but not in Virginia this year, we will be selecting members of the U.S. Senate. Many states are also selecting governors, and there are countless local races and ballot issues.
These races may lack the pomp-and-circumstance of presidential elections, but the “midterms” are just as important in charting our national course. They are an opportunity for the public to either endorse how things are going, or demand a change.
If you are an eligible voter, go vote today.
But first, do some research. Read my endorsements, which explain why I voted the way I did. Read other peoples’ too. Read the candidates’ websites. Read opinion articles and editorials. Talk to your friends. And don’t pay too much attention to party lines and hyperbolic ads. Use your head and make your own choices.
Predicting the outcomes of elections is a dangerous game. It is much easier to be wrong than to be right. I guess I am a glutton for punishment (and my predictions last year were pretty good). So after reading the political winds and measuring the reticulating splines, here’s where I think we land. . . .
My home district, Virginia’s 10th, is regarded by most of the pundits as “Likely Democratic,” although some have recently moved it into the less-sure “Leans Democratic” column. Incumbent Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA 10th) had been expected to defeat challenger Hung Cao (R) by a comfortable margin, but as the national tide turned more in the Republicans’ favor there are signs that it may be a closer race than expected.
There is virtually no reliable polling in the district, but, tellingly, both candidates have gone on an advertising spree over the last two weeks. There seems to have been an influx of money and attention. Wexton won her races in both 2018 and 2020 by about a 12-point margin. I expect her to win again this year, but the margin should be much narrower.
If I were to guess, I’d say it comes out something like a 4-point margin (52-48) for Wexton. But that is really just a guess. A Cao win is not impossible, but I think it’s very unlikely unless he rides in on an unexpectedly large national wave of Republican wins.
Virginia has two conventionally competitive districts this year: the 2nd and the 7th. Both have Democratic incumbents. It’s unlikely that the Democrats hold both; the 2nd in particular is likely to switch. Currently, the Virginia delegation to the House is a 7-4 Democratic majority. It is likely to end up at 6-5 . . . for one party or the other. If I had to guess I’d say I’m leaning 6-5 for the Republicans (i.e., they win both the 2nd and 7th district races) . . . but this is a very low-confidence guess.
Loudoun Ballot Issues
Bond referendums pretty much always pass. They probably will this year too.
Based on past performance, with some adjustment for this election’s trend direction, I expect the school bond referendum to pass with around 65% of the vote. The public facilities and transportation bond referendums will probably both pass with 75% or more of the vote.
National Balance of Power
The U.S. House of Representatives currently stands with a 220-212 majority for the Democratic Party. There are three vacancies. It is almost certain that the Republican Party will win enough seats to gain a majority. I’m expecting it to land somewhere around 230-205 for the Republicans.
The U.S. Senate currently stands tied at 50-50 (48 Democrats, 2 independents who both caucus with the Democrats, and 50 Republicans). Vice President Kamala Harris (D) serves as the tie-breaker, so this is effectively a Democratic majority.
The Senate is ranked as a “toss-up” by most pundits and analysts; Republicans were poised for an easy majority, but they chose stunningly bad candidates in key races in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The winds are at Republicans’ backs though. The mostly likely outcome is a narrow Republican majority in the Senate. I’m expecting it to end up around 51-49 for the Republicans, but this is a low-confidence guess. Another 50-50 tie would not surprise me; nor would a stronger 52-49 showing.
As always, you can find live coverage of the election here on Off on a Tangent. I will be reporting results for Virginia’s 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives and the three Loudoun County bond referendums, as well as liveblogging about notable races across the country and the balance of power.
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET and continues at least until all of the races I’m following are called, or 1:00 a.m., whichever comes first. Updates will continue as time permits until the results are certified.