We’ll just set the scene up front since there won’t be much to discuss until the actual results start rolling in a couple of hours from now. At that point, I’ll add updates at the top and keep this at the bottom of the article for a starting point.
The three states I’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on are in the title. I’ll start with New Jersey since it’s closest to home for me. There are a couple of interesting House races, but the big ticket item is Bob Menendez’s Senate seat. Despite his deadlock corruption trial and persistent rumors of a certain “fondness” for underage “professional women/girls,” it looked like the Senator was a shoo-in for re-election most of the year. Then, in just the past month, the polls started to narrow. At one point in late October, Emerson had Bob’s lead down to only 5. But then Quinnipiac showed him back up to +15 this weekend, so it’s not looking good for his opponent. I’d venture to say that Menendez still gets over the finish line with at least a ten point margin.
In North Dakota, it’s all about Heidi Heitkamp. The Democrat’s numbers have been tanking and many pundits have already written her off, but you never know what a high turnout election might bring. This race is key because it’s one of a handful of Democratic-held seats where the GOP can flip it to red, making the minority party’s climb to control of the Senate all the steeper. And we may have to offset a few losses, so the GOP can’t afford to lose this one.
West Virginia is our other featured Senate race (and possibly a House seat or two) to keep tabs on. Joe Manchin should have been vulnerable. Every political operative playbook would tell you that he’s ripe for the picking. And yet Joe Manchin is still riding a series of polls showing him with a five-point lead. Unless President Trump really brings every last Republican out of the woodwork and drives a few independents in the other direction, Joe may be sticking around for six more long years.
On with the show!
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