What midterm races do you want to know more about? Ask The Fix.

Nov 06, 2018

The U.S. midterm elections are here. Do you have questions about the key races across the country? Ask The Fix's Aaron Blake before the polls close tonight.

Be sure to read Aaron's latest on the midterms: 5 possible scenarios for Election Day, and what they’d mean

Follow the latest news on Election Day here. Want to read more reporting from The Post? Here are some must-reads from The Post:

- ‘What’s one less?’ Nonvoters could have the biggest say of all.

- This midterm election is like no other in a generation

- Democrats hope for House win, Republicans look to hold the Senate in a final day of campaigning — but nobody’s quite sure

You can also follow Aaron on Twitter. Send in your questions below.

And welcome to a special edition of The Fix's Ask Aaron live chat.

I'm here for all your election-related questions -- whether they be about individual races, trends, or big questions about what it all means.

Let's get to it.

Given importance of resdistricting, do you anticipate upsets in any states that would result in trifectas -single part control of legislatures and executive chambers?

Not sure if I see any upset. Most of the key ones are bona fide toss-ups: Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin. Dems seem likely to snag Michigan and Pennsylvania, which will be big by themselves. Those other four are major for the next decade of House control.

I usually think that if a politician loses, they are pretty much done. I think Walker could be the exception. If there is a Democrat in the White House, I think he could make a comeback in 2022. Any thoughts?

I wouldn't rule it out. He would be 3 for 4 at that point, which isn't bad. And he seems to genuinely like being governor. 

It looks like Manchin's a lock to keep his Senate Seat. Any House seats in play?

Not sure if I'd say a "lock." The late polling was pretty close -- 5 points, I think -- but if Democrats lose that one, they could be in for a tough night in Senate races.

So tell us, how will you be following the results tonight? TV? Interwebs? Sitting in the middle of a busy newsroom with people yelling all the time? Watching UEFA matches, and hoping for a scroll at the bottom of the screen?

I've got two monitors at the ready. I try to keep an eye on the networks for big calls, but otherwise I'm writing and tweeting.

Is that hacking allegation moving the needle for or against Stacy Adams? Isn't it pretty set this will go into a Runoff?

It's nearly impossible to say if it will matter. Measuring voter attitudes is tough. If there's a late swing against her, it's likely to be a theory.

I do think it's got a very good shot of going to a runoff. Depends on whether the third-partier can pull 3, 4, 5 percent, which can happen in GA.

Doesn't have to be an upset, but where do you think people will be saying, "wow, I did not see that one coming"?

-Republicans holding eastern/northeastern governorships

-The Rust Belt going pretty strongly Democratic

-Maybe Minnesota is closer than people think it will be?

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that you are chatting today. But it seems as though a 2 pm chat is, like, hours early. I realize you can't really chat tonight, what with the having to write and the showing of your face on various cameras. But I kinda feel as though chatting with you this afternoon is sort of like asking for your opinion on tonight's Wild-Sharks clash.

I need to help you guys get prepared!

What time do you think we'll know about control of the House and Senate?

Impossible to know. We could know GOP will hold Senate pretty early if they knock off Donnell or win Florida.

As for House, I'd imagine we need to wait for the Midwest -- so maybe around 10 or 11?

Who gains the most among potential 2020 Democrats if things go well today?

The establishment candidates -- folks like Biden, Harris, Booker, etc.

If the party fails again, the base will be looking to wreck shop and maybe go more to the left. Maybe they go back to Bernie. Maybe we get a wildcard.

I've heard a few times on MSNBC today that Democrats are getting nervous that Braun may actually win. What have you heard?

1) Expectation-setting should always be viewed accordingly.

2) The RCP average only has Donnelly up 0.7 points, so this would hardly be a shock.

If Barr hangs on what does this tell us for the rest of the night?

Less likely that it's a huge wave; still a good shot at a Democratic majority.

Democrats need to win 7 of 30 toss-ups, if everything else falls as expected. Losing 1 of them means they still only need about a 25 percent.

O'Rourke over Cruz? Or another race? Heitkamp hangs on?

I would be more surprised by Beto beating Cruz, just because polling in North Dakota has been off before, and getting over the hump has been so tough for Democrats in Texas.

Texas might be closer, but it will be more difficult to win.

So what's the general feel at the Fix/WaPo in general? Is this, like, a child's Christmas for political reporters and analysts? Or is like being the Walmart checkout guy at 7 PM on Christmas eve where everything is just crazy and overwhelming?

It's actually pretty clam on Election Day. Not a ton happens before that evening, and we're all saving our strength for what could be a long night.

This is a complaint I always hear on the Democrat side. My question is, and I have not found an answer to, is this a new thing, or when the Dems held the house for 40 years, did they do this as well?

They did it. It was less technologically advanced, and voters were less predictably partisan, so it wasn't as effective.

To be clear: If Democrats had the same redistricting power as Republicans did after 2010, they'd have done the same thing. They did it, in fact, in Illinois and Maryland.

Also, the GOP has an inherent geographic advantage, on top of the redistricting one.

Aaron, please do explain what it all means. ALL of it. An 88 percent chance of something happening. Rain. When bad things happen to good people. Liverpool trailing 2-nil.

I'll explain all of these things at once: Expect the unexpected.

Husband took off work tomorrow so he could stay up late watching returns, and I have a job I can do hungover. Thoughts on election coverage drinking games? I already have bingo cards and we have a list of all the nationwide elections we gave money to, LOL.

Whatever you do, don't drink every time CNN does a "Key Race Alert."

I have a mini spread waiting for me when I get home. Already voted. What's on your menu for tonight? Party food and just another late work night? I'm assuming no adult beverages.

Hopefully DC Taco and not pizza. Whatever they give us in the newsroom.

Which of these groups are most likely to outperform polling in terms of turnout: women, young people, Hispanics, Trump working class whites?

Women, I'd say. Though I'd note young people have more room for growth.

Who will win? Dino or the Doctor?

Dino usually comes close, but he usually loses.

Was this Cantor's old district?

Correct! Though it was drawn a little more friendly for Democrats by the courts in 2016. Not quite as conservative as it used to be.

Is there any chance Marsha Blackburn will lose?

Yes. Some polls have been within the margin of error. I see her as the favorite, but it's hardly out of the question.

Does your presence here mean we won't be getting our Friday chat a la your weird "international" chat a few Wednesday ago?

I should still be doing it -- though it might be pushed back to 1 p.m. I will keep you guys posted on my Twitter account: @aaronblake.

I shudder to think what that might be (especially if it involves me).

Haha. I had the same thought.

Aaron, if Dems take House tonight and Mueller issues indictments later this week, will that spur trump to do something drastic like fire Session/Rosenstein? Or was he planning to do that anyway?

You're asking about things I couldn't possible know. I would guess Trump would be talked out of doing something drastic, because those around him would point out that the GOP Senate would never remove him from office.

What's the expected timeline for 2020 presidential run announcements? When will they start, when will they end? How do tonight's results affect this?

I wouldn't be surprised to see on this week. Definitely some by the end of the year.

I don't think the result will impact much.

Please tell her "Hello" from her Tuesday gang!

I shall!

And therefore, I reside in Tennessee. Which Senate race ends up closer? Will there be a Taylor Swift effect?

I'd say Tennessee winds up closer, and not because of Taylor Swift. (Sorry!)

Couple of nominees A) Heidi Heitkamp B) Mike Braun C) Ron Desantis D) Others

You might have to put Patrick Morrisey on that list if the polls are accurate and he can't close the gap in Trump's best state.

I looked at past races going back to 1980... I was surprised how close Frank Lautenberg came to losing in almost every race he ran. So, this makes me think there is an outside chance Menendez could lose tonight.

He was never that strong. And NJ is notorious for wooing a GOP investment that then winds up coming up short. At least  this time they get a self-funder to spend the money on a long shot.

Your answer didn't really make sense. If the GOP senate is never going to convict trump, then why would he need to be persuaded to do (or not do) anything?

It's why he would be persuaded not to do something rash like fire Rosenstein.

I read her responses to the 2020 question several times and they have that cities tour coming up. Do you think she wants to be drafted?

I think she wants to keep her options open, so she said something coded to make sure people think about the possibility she might get in. I don't view it as likely.

No one should be shocked if Democrats pick up 3 or 4 seats, and no one should be surprised if Republicans pick up 3-5... With turnout this high no one knows what will happen.

Democrats picking up 3 or 4 seats would be shocking. That would mean they win 2 of ND, TX and TN. The most optimistic I've generally seen is they win the 2 they need for a majority.

Time Zones! Thank you profusely for staying on top of this election tonight. Years from now I hope we have good stories to tell the young'uns about how ee spent Election Night 2018. Thanks!

It's my job!

What are the chances it comes out 50-50 and the Veep will decide?

If Democrats sweep the toss-ups -- meaning GOP wins ND and Dems take over AZ and NV -- it will be 50-50. That would be a good night for Dems.

Thanks for doing this bonus chat, Aaron, but I do have to pick a bone with one of your answers: "A: Aaron Blake They did it. It was less technologically advanced, and voters were less predictably partisan, so it wasn't as effective." "To be clear: If Democrats had the same redistricting power as Republicans did after 2010, they'd have done the same thing. They did it, in fact, in Illinois and Maryland." With all due respect, you do not know that's true, and certainly not to the same extent as Republicans have. (For starters, Democrats have NOT done it in other blue states.) But even if you're right, voter suppression is one of the GOP's stocks in trade, and a lot of experts contend that it has had at least as much (and probably more) impact than fiddling with congressional districts.

Democrats have done it in the only states where they had total control and there were enough districts to actually gerrymander: Illinois and Maryland. That's not a coincidence. They didn't have any other states with enough districts to do a big gerrymander.

AZ or Nevada goes blue? Or both?

I'd say Arizona, but just because I think Heller is tough and Sinema has led pretty consistently.

What races should we be keeping an eye if we want to know if the best case scenario for the Democrats is in the offing? Obviously if Beto wins that is a great sign for Democrats. Personally I think if Dan Donovan is sweating out Max Rose's challenge in NY-11 its a sign that Democrats are doing better than already high expectation. (I don't actually think Rose will win, but if he can make it close its not great for Reps.)

I've seen and heard reports about early voters "being Republican" or "being Democratic", and even "on the first 3 days, the Republicans came out but then the Democrats starting voting." How do they know? Are the votes counted as they are submitted? And isn't there a problem with releasing this kind of information early, just as there is a problem releasing early results on election day while the polls are still open?

In some states with party registration, they report how many registered voters come out for either party. That doesn't mean they necessarily voted that way, but we can get a pretty good idea about which side is turning out their voters early.

This. Is there any verified model of what the demographics of the turnout will be with so much unusual stuff in the mix? Not very popular president in the most recent polls, but he motivates his base enormously but his base already has god turnout in midterms. Good economy but no one is running on it. Recent tax cuts, but they are unpopular. Huge early voting turnout, but they may have been mostly people who otherwise would have been voting today. Voter suppression tactics, but people are trying to counter them. They just don't have models for this election. The polls could be right. They could predict the result correctly but not for the reasons they thought. And they could be wrong. I guess we will know most of it either tonight or tomorrow morning.

A fair point. Extremely high turnout presents real problems for polling, and it would suggest Democratic gains might be bigger than we expect.

But enthusiasm has been pretty comparable on both sides, so it's not even clear how much it would accrue to the blue team's benefit.

Does the R have a chance, or is did the Flint Water Crisis disqualifying him (or her)

He's not running again! It's an open seat race that Democrat Gretchen Witmer is expected to win over Republican Bill Schuette.

Can the Democrats or Republicans flip any of them? What about Michelle Bachmann's old seat?

Minnesota is unusual! The GOP could flip both the rural 1st and the 8th -- possibly 2 of only 3 seats they'll flip -- but Democrats have a possibility (if unlikely) of flipping the 2nd and the 3rd in the suburbs.

An enthusiastic vote still counts the same as the voter drug out to the polling place!

Yes, but the latter requires a lot more work, and resources are finite.

I have this theory that people voted for a republican legislature last election because they wanted it to be a check on Hillary, and then everyone was surprised that the Rs got all 3 houses. Do you think people will vote for Ds more this time to help rebalance that?

I do tend to think people like divided government -- or at least enough people who can tilt enough races. And I think you might be on to something about people voting Republicans because they (like all of us) assumed it would be a check on Clinton.

Could be a factor tonight!

Tomorrow there'll be more of us... Are there really enough rabid Trump fans to make up for an energized Democratic base?

Generally speaking, the more voters, the better for Democrats. I think it would be a matter of how big the Democratic edge would be, rather than if it's an edge.

Hey Aaron, I know you received much reader pressure last Friday to do this chat. Thanks for listening!!!

I love to serve!

1) Thanks everyone for coming out.

2) I have a special request: That everyone sign up for the 5-Minute Fix, which is being helmed by Colby Itkowitz now that Amber Phillips is off on leave. It's a great resource, and one of The Post's most popular newsletters: https://wapo.st/5minfix

So you all later,


In This Chat
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake is a senior political reporter for The Washington Post. A Minnesota native, he has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Hill newspaper. He is a Liverpool supporter, dog lover and runner who lives in Northern Virginia.
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