Around 114 million Americans voted in the 2018 midterms, marking the first time in American history that a midterm election garnered over 100 million votes. Turnout for America will be around 49% once results are finalized which completely dwarfs 2014's 36.4% turnout. In Missouri, over 2.4 million votes were cast with a turnout of around 57.9%. A whole lot of things happened around the country and in our state. Did we see a blue wave at any level of government? Are there still some races that haven't been called? What actually happened on Election Day - here in Missouri and in the rest of the country?
Read below to get the latest on everything that happened on Election Day 2018.
Missouri had a very interesting Election Day. Whereas progressive ballot issues like raising the minimum wage, legalizing medicinal marijuana and rejecting the legislature's attempt to force the state to become Right-To-Work were all passed by popular margins, Missourians overwhelmingly voted in candidates that do not necessarily believe in the same in progressive values. Let's take a look at the Senate race first
McCaskill v Hawley
In one of the most hotly contested races for one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, Tuesday's election made it seem fairly clear that Democrats have a tough time winning state-wide races in Missouri. With 1,245,732 votes, Attorney General Josh Hawley won Missouri's 2nd Senate seat by a margin of 6 percentage points. All the polls leading up to the election had put the race within the margin of error, at a dead heat or too close to call. Hawley's commanding victory once again proves that the polls don't always predict accurately.
Taking a look at the map, it seems as if McCaskill's strategy of visiting rural counties that she was not popular in did not work. McCaskill needed to win by large margins in urban areas, win competitive races in suburban areas and remain competitive in rural areas. She was able to accomplish only one of these things. Hawley won by an an average of 50% in rural counties that Trump won in 2016 and McCaskill was unable to mount enough support in urban areas to make up that deficit. As is clear on the map, she did do well in places like St. Louis County and City, Kansas City and Columbia. However, this was simply not enough to overcome the increasingly more conservative rural and exurban counties.
With Hawley going to the Senate starting in January of next year, Governor Mike Parson must now select a replacement for Attorney General. Signs are pointing towards current State Treasurer Eric Schmitt. If this is the case, then Governor Parson would then have to fill Schmitt's Treasurer spot. If it ends up working out this way, that would mean that the majority of Missouri's statewide offices would be held by people who were not elected to their position. (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer).
Wagner v VanOstran
Voters in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District saw the closest race since the district was created in 2012. And the margin was still Ann Wagner +4. Since 2012, Wagner has enjoyed 20 percentage point margins against her opponents. Wagner employed the strategy that she had been using since she first took office after 2012. She ran on her record and acted like her opponent did not exist. VanOstran was hoping that suburban women would have been turned off from the Republican party (as they were thought to be elsewhere in the Country), but Wagner was able to capture enough votes to win. She beat VanOstran 51.3% to 47.1%.
As it stands, Republicans hold 6 out of Missouri's 8 Congressional districts and Democrats hold 2 (St. Louis City and Kansas City).
Missouri State Legislature
Republican leadership believed that a good election for them would have been only losing 2 or 3 seats. In fact, they were able to prevent any net losses. 3 Republican incumbents did lose but 3 Republican challengers also won, with 2 of those seats being in Jefferson County. 8-10 years ago, Jefferson County was the swing county in the swing state. Almost all of their legislative seats were Democratic. As of this election, all State House and State Senate seats in Jefferson County are Republican. The State Senate had really only 4 competitive elections and Republicans won all 4 of those.
Missouri State Auditor - Galloway v McDowell
State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the last remaining statewide Democrat elected to office in Missouri. She won with just over 50% of the vote. Many believe that Galloway ran a very efficient and effective campaign, raising over $1.3 million. However, her opponent, Saunda McDowell, was only able to raise about $50,000 throughout her entire campaign. Galloway won by just 5.4% of the vote.
Galloway is now in a strong position with Amendment 1 passing. The redistricting portion of that amendment tasks the State Auditor was submitting a pool of applicants for the non-partisan state demographer position that will determine how Missouri's legislative map will be drawn.
Statewide Ballot Measures
Amendment 1 (Clean Missouri) passed by a wide margin, 62% for and 38% against. This amendment will now place a $5 total lobbyst gift cap on the state legislature and also reduce their individual campaign contribution limits. The biggest thing Amendment 1 does, however, is to change the process of redistricting. Now, State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) will be required to provide a pool of applicants for the non partisan state demographer position who would be in control of how Missouri's legislative map is drawn.
Out of the 3 marijuana issues, only 1 passed: Amendment 2. This amendment legalizes marijuana for medicinal purposes for 9 qualifying reasons and taxes it at a 4% rate estimated to bring in over $24 million in revenue for the state. The Department of Health and Senior Services will now have to come up with a process of accepting applications from qualifying patients and also from entities that wish to obtain a marijuana dispensary license. This process will begin next month. Missouri patients can expect to actually buy medical marijuana around 2020.
Missourians voted overwhelmingly to increase the minimum wage by voting in Proposition B by a 25% margin. Barring changes from the legislature (because, remember this is a proposition which gives the legislature the opportunity to simply change the policy as much as they want), the minimum wage will jump to $8.60 in January and increase incrementally each year until it hits $12 in 2023.
St. Louis County
St. Louis County will be headed by incumbent Steve Stenger for 4 more years. Stenger easily beat his Republican challenger Paul Berry III by 20% with 57% of the vote to remain St. Louis County Executive. In the only competitive County Council race, former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch (R) won the 3rd district defeating Paul Ward (D) by 9 points.
Voters in St. Louis County also passed changes to the County's charter that place limits on the County Executive. Any time the County Executive wants to move funds around between County departments, his office will now have to first gain approval by the County Council. Additionally, voters passed a campaign contribution limit on County candidates with the limit now being $2600 per election. The County will now also be required to publish a website where they release documents relating to the County budget, expenditures and pension balances.
Voters also approved the Zoo tax. All sales made within the County will see an extra 1/8 of 1 cent increase. 61% of County voters approved the measure and it is expected to generate $20 million a year for the St. Louis Zoo Subdistrict. The governing body of the Zoo will use the money to work on maintenance of its Forest Park Campus, which already receives about $20 million in property taxes (paid for by 5 different entities). The majority of the revenue will be used to construct the North County Safari Experience expansion site. Earlier this year, 425 acres worth $7.1 million was donated to the Zoo for such a project. Residents of St. Louis County will be able to enter the North County Safari free of charge, but it is not expected to be fully operational for another 5 years. The Zoo Subdistrict has said that it will be approaching the state legislature next session to get surrounding Counties in on the pay structure for the Safari project.
Before Election Day, 51 out of the 100 total seats in the Senate were held by Republicans. Democrats held 47 but would always caucus with the 2 Independent Senators. This election, there were 35 Senate seats up for grabs. Democrats were defending 26 of them. Out of those 26, 10 of those states went for President Trump in 2016. All of these factors made it extremely difficult for Democrats to mount enough of a push to take over the majority in the Senate by gaining 2 seats.
Republicans have had a net gain of 1 seat so far. There are still 2 undecided Senate races in Arizona and Mississippi which are both Republican-held. Only one Republican incumbent up for election lost while 4 Democratic incumbents did. Out of the 10 states Democrats were defending that went for Donald Trump in 2016, they were able to hold onto 6 of them this year.
After the results of yesterday's election, 52 Republicans are currently slated to be in the Senate next year. If the 2 undecided races keep their current margins, then the Republican majority could be 54 to Democrat's 46.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott, who was term-limited, won the state's Senate seat from Senator Bill Nelson by .4%. Per state law, there is an automatic recount if a margin is within .5%. Nelson has called for a recount.
- Incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D) lost by a 6% margin to Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) in Missouri.
- All 4 Democratic Senators who lost their races voted against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Joe Manchin, who voted for confirmation, kept his seat.
All 435 seats in the US House were up for election. Heading into the election, Republicans held a 235 - 193 advantage over the Democrats. Since the President's party has historically lost around 29 seats in the House during the midterms, the Democrats were poised to pick up some seats. Adding to that, 23 of the open House districts were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrats needed to win 23 to gain a majority.
Democrats were able to pick up more than enough to reach the 218 threshold to take back the majority. So far, they have a net gain of 27 seats with 16 races still not yet decided. Democrats had a much easier time getting votes in suburban districts, which was a major key to their success in the House. As of now, the balance has shifted to favor the Democrats with 222 compared to the Republican's 197.
- Over 100 women will be heading to DC next year to be sworn in as US Representatives. This is a record shattering number.
- 2 American-Muslim women, Rashida Tlaib (Michigan 17th Congressional District) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota 5th Congressional District) will be going to DC as US Representatives next year for the first time in American history.
There were 36 gubernatorial races on Election Day. Republicans held 26 out of the 36; 9 were held by Democrats; and Alaska's governor was an Independent. These midterms returned the balance between the two parties. Democrats were able to flip 7 of the 26 Republican-held seats.
Out of the 50 governorships, Republicans held 33 and Democrats held 16. Now, Republicans hold 26 (currently) and the Democrats hold 23.
- Georgia's gubernatorial race has yet to be called because Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams has not conceded to Brian Kemp. In Georgia, if no candidate gets above a 50%, there is an automatic run-off between the top 2. Kemp currently has 50.3% of the votes but Abrams' camp contends there are enough absentee and provisional ballots left to count that would make up the difference.
- Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lost his 3rd attempt at reelection to Tony Evers, the state's school superintendent by 1.1%. A law passed by Walker during his administration prevents him from calling a recount.
There are 99 state legislative chambers in the US. Going into the 2018 midterms, Republicans held 67 of them. Democrats were able to flip 6 chambers during these midterms. With these 6 pickups from the Democrats and one chamber that flipped to red, Republicans now control 62 chambers (32 senate, 30 house) and Democrats now control 37 (18 senate and 19 house).
A trifecta occurs when one party holds the majority in a State's Senate, House and also it's governorship. Before Election Day, there were 34 trifectas. Democrats had 8 of them and Republicans had 26. 16 were divided between the two parties.
After Election Day, Democrats were able to gain 6 trifectas while the Republicans had a net lost of 4. As it stands now, Republicans still hold a substantial lead in trifectas at 22 states to the Democrats' 14. 13 are still considered divided, and the governorship in Georgia has yet to be decided. If Kemp wins that race, then the Republicans will gain an extra trifecta.
Ballot Measures Across the Country
4 states passed some form of redistricting measures on their November ballot. Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah passed ballot measures that took the drawing of different legislative maps out of the hands of their respective legislatures and into the hands of a nonpartisan person or entity.
Marijuana was on the ballot in some form in 5 states. It passed in Colorado (relating to the definition of hemp); medicinal marijuana was legalized in Missouri and Utah; Marijuana for recreational use was legalized completely in Michigan. This now means that 23 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and 10 states plus DC have legalized it for recreational purposes.
5 states had some form of medicaid expansion on the ballot. 4 of those measures passed in Idaho, Nebraska, Utah and Oregon which expanded coverage of medicare to those living above 100% of the federal poverty line. Montana rejected their medicaid expansion proposal because it was supposed to be paid for by an increase in the state's tobacco text.
Missouri and Arkansas voters passed measures to increase their minimum wage. In Missouri, the current minimum wage of $7.85 will be increased to $12 by 2023. In Arkansas, the minimum wage will increase to $11 by 2021.