Nevada Historian and political junkie Stanley Paher sent me his political prognostications last night with permission to reprint them here. Stanley is a Nevada Author and Historian with Dozens of books to his credit. His book Nevada Ghost Towns and Desert Atlas are standard fare of desert rats across the fruited plain.
In election eve for the 2018 mid-terms, it looks like both parties will come away with something unlike 2006, 2010 and 2014 when one party dominated. At the end of this essay I have a twist on which party will claim 218+ House of Representative seats.
State of Nevada
For Nevada Governor Sisolak (D) should win, though he has never been able to shake off Laxalt, who keeps hanging around, continually nipping at Sisolak’s heels. Yes, responsible polls have shown Laxalt with a lead, but if the early voting is any indication the D’s have polled 12% more than the R, 191,000 to 144,000 in Clark Co. and by a much lesser extent in Washoe Co. Certainly Laxalt can score an upset, in my opinion a 40% chance for that.
Nevada Senator Heller (R) should win by about 35,000 votes statewide. As incumbent, name recognition, proven lawmaker and unbeaten in a Nevada general election, are all plusses. He has always received a splendid vote in Washoe County. Even now perhaps one-third of the Nevada electorate do not know who Jacky Rosen is. She is under-qualified, brings little to the table, so “one and done” for her.
Lt. Gov. should go to Kate Marshall (D) easily. She may get the high vote among all statewide constitutional office candidates.
Attorney-General race will go very likely to the R. Its candidate Wesley Duncan is pouring it on in the last days with responsible, effective negative ads exposing the D candidate Aaron Ford’s carelessness and neglect with filing federal tax returns and his brushes with the law. In contrast, Duncan is whistle-clean, has remained unscathed. Of significance, 17,900 voters preferred “none of these candidates” rather than Ford in the D primary.
In Cogressional-4 Horsford (D) will prevail. There is no incumbent. In CD-3 (R) Danny Tarkanian certainly has name identification over Susie Lee (D), but also heavy political and business baggage. Lee outpolled Tark by more than 10,000 votes out of 72,000 cast in the primary last June. Edge to Lee (D).
Both parties nationwide are fired up, initially brought about by the Kavanaugh hearings, though this has subsided to a trickle. The migrant caravan of 12,000 Central Americans toward the border is not good news for the D. The news covers this daily, reminding voters that the D’s lack of any kind of responsible legal immigration policy, plus abolishing ICE. These are negatives for the party.
The D’s have a point about health care, and it is plus for the D. Further, the R has never been able to reform top-down the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] as promised, but to their credit the (R) has expanded insurance choices and wishes not to expand Medicaid into single-payer.
Nationwide in at least 75% of the states, especially Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Texas, and Ohio, as well as in most other key battle ground states, the R’s have outpolled the D’s often by wide margins, like 46 to 35 in Arizona. (Don‘t forget there are more than a dozen states which do not have early voting.)
Second, the Trump factor is immense, and a Trump appearance is worthwhile for the R candidate. Quietly behind the scene,VP Pence is rounding up stray GOP officials as he did in 2016 to create a Trump win. The same thing is happening this year.
Of significance, on election day the R consistently do better than the D. It’s like gift shopping before Christmas, with women buying presents weeks before Dec. 25. The Ds generally speaking are like these early shopping women, voting early whereas most men wait until a day or two before Christmas to buy presents, corresponding to the R voters (especially middle age +) who wait until the longstanding traditional election day to vote.
The R should come away with a net +3, taking North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana. The second tier of competitive races are Montana, (Tester) W. Va. (Manchin), and Florida (Nelson). Incumbent D’s in these states are well liked by their voters and should win. The third tier are Michigan, one Minnesota Senate seat (two are running this year from that state), New Jersey and Ohio. In all of these the D’s are currently ahead beyond the margin of polling error. Yet amid these second and third tier states, I predict that one of these D Senator candidates will lose.
The D’s insists that they can take Nevada and Arizona. Nevada is analyzed above, but Arizona the D candidate, Sinema, is part of the Democratic progressive revolution and a Taliban sympathizer. The (R) McSally is a 28- year military veteran and a well-rounded moderate candidate. Though polls show a near tie, McSally should prevail by a goodly margin, preserving this seat for the (R). Thus I think the R will walk away this election cycle with a +4 gain. Sinema is one of so many left-left candidates which the D’s are putting up in US Senate and House races. Certainly in a safe D district or safe state senate race a left-left candidate can win easily.
The chances that the R can do better than +4 are greater than the D picking up more than one R US Senate seat.
However there are many incumbent R House seats which are being challenged by left-left D’s and in several instances in various sites the races are called even. However I think the R will retain most of these seats.
Thus in the US Senate it is R +4 gain.
In the House for the D it is a 16 to 19 seat gain (23 needed to take control).
Hang with me here in respect to the House. There are perhaps 15 to 20 R incumbents which are thought to be tossups, according to the polls. The D has outraised most of them in money. However, accurate polling is getting scarce. The big reason the R will retain most of these seats are twofold (1) they are the incumbents and (2) the districts are R leaning anyway. With Trump out there in 2018 campaigning like he did in 2016, he does move the needle slightly to the right, about 1% to 2% when he campaigns for these R politicians.
Polling this year as in 2016 is elusive, less than reliable than even 6 years ago. In 2016 the respected Rasmussen polling organization said that in the House it would be a 30-40 seat gain for the D (it was only 6 when the dust settled), a Hillary win, and a 5 to 7 US Senate seat gain for the D (t was only 2). Larry Sabato of the Univ. of Virginia missed just as bad. These were all far off the mark.
Raising more money, as the D candidates have done, does not necessarily translate into electoral victories. Just ask that guy who last year ran in that special election in a Georgia Congressional district won by (R) Karen Hendel by 6 points, spending far, far less. He raised $24 million easily outdistancing Hendel in fundraising. Indeed the D have far outpaced the R in money raising in scores of instances in this electoral season, but in many instances the “cash on hand” is more important toward the close of a campaign as with Laxalt and Heller in Nevada. With that there can be a final push.
Further, in 2018 Rick Scott, R, of Florida has spent more than twice as much as Bill Nelson, D, in the US Senate race but he has not been able to shake off Nelson.
And so, if voters have a bed and a lunch and a mate, they are happy. The Trump economy with high quarterly GDP’S, astounding prosperity, high optimism especially in the business-industrial community, revival of the middle class, and a strong military, voters tend to vote their pocketbooks. Inventories are rising and new businesses are opening. These are the best of times.
The D has at least indirectly has been associated with destruction of physical property, violence, assault and suppression of speech and access to businesses. These are noted by responsible voters. Certainly the R (especially Trump) has engaged in verbal abuse but it did not lead to actions which led to law breaking. (Certainly the D can find a few instances of R physical actions, but the D in this election year has engaged in scores of unlawful actions.)
The entire D spectacle of trying to stop Kavanaugh from confirming him to Supreme Court was entirely uncalled for. In contrast the R went along with Ruth Ginsburg by a 95-3 vote to conform back in about 1996, and Stephen Breyer was confirmed with more than 80 votes. Kavanaugh at confirmation is more qualified than most Court nominees.
So why vote against the R in this booming economy? (Unfortunately, Obama is taking undue credit, but it is he in eight years who loaded the business-industrial sector with more than 700 executive orders unduly restricting their development, most of which Trump has reversed, rescinded.) Indeed, Obama may have shifted into first gear, but the real action is to get to second and third gear, and this is precisely what Trump has done in a remarkable short time. He has outstanding executive abilities and business know-how, and a community organizer cannot match this. In handling the economy the R is superior over and above the D.
State Constitutional Offices and Legislative seats
Some say that the D will take 10 net governorships. These will be mostly from the Midwest. That it will be 6 or more is apparent, but even Larry Sabato (from Univ. of VA) today rates Incumbent D seats in Oregon and Connecticut as tossup. I see the Florida and Georgia, R incumbent Republican seats will remain with the R. Each of the D candidates in those two states are left-left, a bad place to be in purple to red states. This means that Floridians would retain a popular D Senator but the Governorship would be retained by the R.
Insofar as state assemblymen and state senators, the D will win scores of them, perhaps nationwide as many as 200+. There is no national blue or red wave this year, but this development at the legislative level approaches a blue wave. There were 34 special elections throughout this year among state legislators, and the D won 33 of them.
In contrast the R won 8 of 9 Congressional House special elections in 2018 losing only in a western Pennsylvania race by only 600 votes. The R had an inferior candidate, where a younger, attractive D squeaked by. This congressional seat will disappear when the next Congress convenes in January.
See you at the polling booth. –Stanley Paher 10:00 p.m. election eve.