United States elections, 2018

Last updated

Partisan control of Congress
Previous party
Incoming party
House Republican Democratic
Senate Republican Republican
2018 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 6
Senate elections
Seats contested33 seats of Class I (+2 special elections for Class II)
Net changeR+1 to R+2 (1 undetermined election)
2018 Senate results
House elections
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats (+5 of 6 non-voting seats)
Net changeD+37 to D+44 (7 undetermined elections)
2018 House of Representatives results
(territorial delegate races not shown)

  Democratic Gain   Democratic Hold
  Republican Gain   Republican Hold

Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested39 (36 states, 3 territories)
Net changeD+7
2018 gubernatorial election results

  Democratic Gain   Democratic Hold
  Republican Gain   Republican Hold

The 2018 United States elections were held in the United States on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. [lower-alpha 1] These midterm elections took place in the middle of Republican President Donald Trump's term. 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate and all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were contested. 39 state and territorial governorships, as well as numerous other state and local elections, were also contested. In the elections, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives and made gains at the state level, while the Republican Party expanded its majority in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives elections, Democrats made a net gain of at least 36 seats; 6 House races have not yet been called. Democratic victory in the House of Representatives ended the unified control of Congress and the presidency that the Republican Party had established in the 2016 elections. In the Senate elections, Republicans maintained their majority; two races have not yet been called. In both chambers, many of the defeated incumbents represented districts that had voted for the presidential candidate of the opposing party in the 2016 presidential election. As a result of the 2018 elections, the 116th United States Congress will be the first since the end of the 99th United States Congress in 1987 in which the Democrats control the House and the Republicans control the Senate. This also marks the fourth consecutive midterm election that at least one chamber of Congress switched to the party that does not control the presidency.

In the gubernatorial elections, Democrats won control of seven governorships. 87 of the 99 state legislative chambers held regularly-scheduled elections in 2018, and the Democratic Party gained control of at least 350 state legislative seats and seven state legislative chambers. As a result of these elections, Democrats gained unified control of seven state governments and broke unified Republican control of four state governments. Republicans won control of the Alaska House of Representatives, won the governorship of Alaska, and established unified control in that state. In referenda, various states voted to expand Medicaid coverage, establish independent redistricting commissions, or end the practice of permanent felony disenfranchisement.

The election was characterized by relatively high voter participation, as turnout reached the highest level seen in a mid-term election since 1914. Major issues debated during the campaign include immigration, abortion, the American Health Care Act of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Trump administration, gun control, energy policy and alleged Russian interference in the election. Pundits, journalists, and political leaders differed in their assessment of the 2018 elections; some saw the elections as a major victory for Democrats, but others argued that the party's gains were somewhat underwhelming for a midterm, as Republicans defeated several Democratic Senate incumbents.


Advertisements and issues

The 2018 mid-term elections featured a wider range and larger number of campaign advertisements than past mid-term elections. [1] Nearly half of all advertisements by Democrats focused on health care, in particular on defending the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and keeping in place protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. [2] Almost a third of Republicans ads focused on taxes, in particular the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. [2] According to a report by CNN, "So far in House, Senate and governor races this year, more than $124 million has been spent on more than 280,000 immigration-related TV ad spots... that's more than five times the amount spent during the 2014 midterms, when about $23 million was spent on less than 44,000 spots." [3]

In October 2018, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that the chief focus of Republican messaging was on fear-mongering over immigration and race. According to The Washington Post, Trump "has settled on a strategy of fear laced with falsehoods and racially tinged rhetoric to help lift his party to victory in the coming midterms, part of a broader effort to energize Republican voters." [4] The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Trump and other Republicans are insistently seeking to tie Democrats to unfettered immigration and violent crime, and in some instances this summer and fall they have attacked minority candidates in nakedly racial terms." [5] The Toronto Star reported that as the mid-term elections approached, Trump resorted to "a blizzard of fear-mongering and lies, many of them about darker-skinned foreigners." [6]

Vulnerable Republican candidates who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017  which repealed portions of the Affordable Care Act sought to defend their votes with what CNN described as "falsehoods and obfuscations." [7] A number of those Republican candidates claimed to support provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as protections for preexisting conditions, even though they voted for efforts that either weakened or eliminated those provisions. [7]

President Trump and officials campaigning

In May 2018, President Trump began to emphasize his effort to overcome the traditional strength of the non-presidential party in midterm elections, with "top priority for the White House [being to hold] the Republican majority in the Senate". He was already at that time well into his own 2020 reelection campaign, having launched it on inauguration day, 2017. In May, on a trip to Texas for a Houston fundraiser targeting the midterms, he also held a fundraising dinner in Dallas for the 2020 campaign. [8] By early August, the president's midterm efforts had included rallies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana and elsewhere "reprising the style and rhetoric of his 2016 campaign". Democrats "need to flip 23 seats to capture the speaker's gavel", USA Today put it. The President was addressing the economy, the border wall, the "trade war", "don't believe anything" and the space force in the rallies, per the report. [9]

In late August 2018, controversy surfaced about the degree of campaigning being done on what were termed "official" visits around the country. One report said, traditionally, partisan attacks and endorsements were kept out of official events but that President Trump was not observing that norm. Beyond the norm, one commentator was quoted referring to "laws designed to prevent taxpayer resources from being used for self-serving purposes in this case, for campaign purposes." White House-recognized individuals "familiar with the president's thinking" spoke without attribution on a conference call and in another call about the campaigning. The individuals identified 35 events by Cabinet and senior staff members "with or affecting House districts in August already ... [all] targeted districts" and described a July 26 Presidential trip, presented as "official", as having been "for" Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa and Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois. The White House (via deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters) responded to the report: "It is unfortunate but ultimately unsurprising that a liberal publication like Huffington Post would make these misleading accusations and misconstrue the intent of the response". [10]

Federal elections


Control of Senate seats by class after the 2018 elections
1 [lower-alpha 2] 2192 2024
2 [lower-alpha 2] 12200 2020
312220 2022

In the 2018 elections, Republicans sought to defend the Senate majority that they had maintained since the 2014 Senate elections. 35 of the 100 Senate seats were up for election, including all 33 Class 1 Senate seats. Class 2 Senate seats in Minnesota and Mississippi each held special elections to fill vacancies. The Class 1 Senate elections were for terms lasting from January 2019 to January 2025, while the Class 2 special elections were for terms ending in January 2021. 24 of the seats up for election were held by Democrats, two of the seats up for election were held by independents caucusing with the Democrats, and eight of the seats up for election were held by Republicans. [11] Three Republican incumbents did not seek election in 2018, while all Democratic and independent incumbents sought another term. 42 Republican senators and 23 Democratic senators were not up for election.

Assuming that the two independents won re-election and continued to caucus with them, Senate Democrats needed to win a net gain of two Senate seats to win a majority. [lower-alpha 3] Including the two independents, Democrats held approximately 74 percent of the seats up for election, the highest proportion held by one party in a midterm election since at least 1914. [11] Prior to the 2018 elections, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight wrote that Democrats faced one of the most unfavorable Senate maps that any party had ever faced in any Senate election. Silver noted that ten of the seats Democrats defended were in states won by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. [12] [13] Meanwhile, the Class I Senate seat in Nevada was the lone Republican-held seat up for election in a state that had been won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. [14] Silver predicted that even a nine-point victory in the nationwide popular vote for Congress would not be enough to give Democrats a majority in the Senate. [12] Some observers speculated that Republicans might be able to pick up a net of nine seats, which would give them the 60-seat super-majority necessary to break filibusters on legislation. [15]

Depending on the outcome of two uncalled races, the election saw either no net change or a small Republican gain in the Senate. The 2018 elections were the first midterm elections since 2002 in which the party holding the presidency did not lose Senate seats. [11] Republicans defeated Democratic incumbents in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Democrats defeated the Republican incumbent in Nevada and won an open seat in Arizona whose Republican incumbent declined to seek re-election. The Senate elections in Mississippi and Florida have not yet been resolved. All four defeated Democratic incumbents represented states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election, while the lone defeated Republican incumbent represented a state won by Clinton. [14] Democratic incumbents tallied victories in the competitive Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as the key Northeastern swing state of Pennsylvania. [16] Montana and West Virginia, each of which voted for Trump by a margin of at least 20 points, also re-elected Democratic incumbents. [17] After the election, Chris Cillizza of CNN noted that, by limiting their Senate losses in 2018, Democrats put themselves in position to potentially take control of the Senate in the 2020 or 2022 Senate elections. [15]

House of Representatives

Historical mid-term seat gains in the House of Representatives for the party not holding the presidency. The 2018 figure is a projection.

In the 2018 elections, Democrats sought to take control of the United States House of Representatives for the first time since the 2010 elections. All 435 voting seats in the House of Representatives were up for election to serve two-year terms. Additionally, elections were held to select five of the six non-voting delegates for the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. [lower-alpha 4]

The 2018 House elections saw the largest number of retirements by incumbents of any election cycle since at least 1992. [18] By June 2018, 20 House Democrats and 44 House Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, had announced their retirement. [19] The disproportionate number of Republican retirements may have harmed Republican prospects in the 2018 mid-term elections due to the loss of incumbency advantage. [20] [21] [22]

Democrats had 193 seats immediately prior to the election, and needed to win a net of 25 seats to take control of the chamber. They are expected to win control of at least 38 seats and potentially 40. [23] This represented the Democratic Party's largest gain since the 1974 elections. [24] Democrats won the nationwide popular vote for the House of Representatives by approximately seven points, the third-highest margin won by either party since 1992. [25] The 2018 elections were the third midterm elections since 2005 in which the president's party lost control of the House of Representatives, but they represented the first time since 1954 that Republicans lost the House in the middle of a Republican president's first term.

Democrats defeated at least 23 Republican incumbents and picked up at least 12 open seats. Republicans did not defeat a single Democratic incumbent, though the party did pick up open seats in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Republicans defended the vast majority of their rural seats, but several urban and suburban seats flipped to the Democrats. [26] Many of the districts picked up by Democrats had given a majority or a plurality of their vote to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. [27] Of the 447 individuals who served in the House during the 115th Congress, 104 did not win re-election in 2018; this represents the third-highest turnover rate of any election cycle since 1974. [28] A record-breaking 35 women were elected to Congress for the first time. [29]

Special elections

There were a total of eight special elections to the United States House of Representatives. These elections were held to fill vacancies for the remainder of the 115th Congress.

Four special elections were held prior to November 6, 2018:

Four special elections were held on November 6, 2018, coinciding with the regularly-scheduled elections:

State elections

Partisan control of states in the 2018 elections.
  Democrats retained trifecta
  Democrats gained trifecta
  Republicans retained trifecta
  Republicans gained trifecta
  Divided government maintained
  Divided government established
  Officially non-partisan legislature

The vast majority of states held gubernatorial or state legislative elections in 2018. The 2018 state elections will impact the redistricting that will follow the 2020 United States Census, as many states task governors and state legislators with drawing new boundaries for state legislative and Congressional districts.

Gubernatorial elections

Elections were held for the governorships of 36 U.S. states and three U.S. territories, as well as for the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Democrats defended every seat they had controlled prior to the election and picked up eight governorships. They won open seats in Michigan, Nevada, Kansas, New Mexico, and Maine, and defeated Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin. Most of the Democratic victories were in Democratic-leaning states or swing states. Democratic candidates ran well ahead of Hillary Clinton in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Carolina, and other "red states" that had given large margins to Trump in the 2016 presidential. All of those candidates fell short, however, and Kansas was the lone red state to elect a Democratic governor in 2018. [30]

Republicans picked up the independent-held seat in Alaska, and Republican incumbents won election in competitive and Democratic-leaning states such as Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maryland. The party also won a competitive open seat election held in Ohio. [31] Democrats picked up the governorship of Guam, but the incumbent Republican governor of the Northern Marianas Islands won re-election. [lower-alpha 5] The winners of the Georgia, Florida, and U.S. Virgin Islands gubernatorial elections have not yet been determined.

Legislative elections

Partisan control of congressional redistricting after the 2018 elections. Note that most states will hold elections in 2019 or 2020 that could affect partisan control of the decennial redistricting that will occur prior to the 2022 elections.
  Democratic control
  Republican control
  Split or bipartisan control
  Independent redistricting commission
  No redistricting necessary [lower-alpha 6]

87 of the 99 state legislative chambers, in 46 states6,069 seats out of the nation's 7,383 legislative seats (82%)held regularly-scheduled elections. [33] Every territorial legislature except for the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico held elections for at least one chamber. [lower-alpha 5] In some legislative chambers, all seats were up for election; some chambers with staggered terms held elections only for a portion of the seats in the chamber. [33] [lower-alpha 7]

Democrats flipped at least 350 state legislative seats, [34] picking up most of those seats in states where President Trump's approval rating was relatively low. [35] Five chambersthe Colorado Senate, New Hampshire House, New Hampshire Senate, Minnesota House, Maine Senate, and New York State Senate flipped from Republican to Democratic control. [36] The Connecticut Senate went from being evenly divided to a Democratic majority. [36] Democrats also broke Republican legislative supermajorities in North Carolina, [37] Michigan, and Pennsylvania, [35] and gained a legislative supermajority in both houses of the California and Oregon legislatures. [38] [39] Republicans gained control of one chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives. [36]

Democrats gained a "trifecta" (control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers) in Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, New York, and Nevada. [40] [34] Republicans lost trifectas in Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, but gained a trifecta in Alaska. [34] [41] After the election, Democrats have 14 trifectas, Republicans have 21 trifectas, and 13 states have a divided government (including Nebraska, which has a non-partisan legislature). [34] Depending on the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial elections, Georgia and Florida will either have a divided government or a Republican trifecta.

Despite these Democratic gains, the party controlled a total of just 37 state legislative chambers after the election, far fewer chambers than it had controlled prior to the 2010 elections. Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures attributed the continuing Republican dominance of state legislatures in part to Republican control of redistricting in many states following 2010. [42] In at least three states (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan), Republicans retained control of the lower house even though a majority of voters voted for a Democratic candidate for the lower house. [43]

Following the 2018 elections, only a single state (Minnesota) had a legislature with divided control among the parties (Republicans maintained control of the state Senate, while the House flipped to Democratic control). This was the first time in 104 years that only a single state had a divided legislature. [36]

Ballot measures

  Medicaid expansion proposal passed
  Medicaid expansion previously implemented or passed
  No Medicaid expansion

157 ballot measures were voted on in 34 states. These include initiatives on redistricting reform, voting rights, marijuana, health care, and taxes. [44]

As a result of successful ballot measures, Colorado and Michigan established independent redistricting commissions, while Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho expanded access to Medicaid. Florida voters approved Florida Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to some felons who have served out their sentence. [45] Michigan, Missouri, and Utah voters approved marijuana proposals, with Michigan approving recreational marijuana and Missouri and Utah approving medical marijuana. North Dakota voters voted down a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. [46] [47]

Local elections

Mayoral elections

Incumbent candidates won in mayoral elections held in major cities, including Austin, Texas (Steve Adler); Providence, Rhode Island (Jorge Elorza), Washington, D.C. (Muriel Bowser), and Oakland, California (Libby Schaaf). [48] The District of Columbia and Oakland, in reelecting Bowser and Schaaf respectively, each re-elected mayors for the first time since 2002. [48] [49]

Mayoral elections in November 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona and Little Rock, Arkansas resulted in no single candidate carrying a majority of the vote; those races will be resolved in runoff elections in March 2019 (in Phoenix) and December 2018 (in Little Rock). [48]

Other elections and referenda

Table of state, territorial, and federal results

This table shows the partisan results of Congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative races held in each state and territories in 2018. Note that not all states and territories held gubernatorial, state legislative, and United States Senate elections in 2018; the territories and Washington, D.C. do not elect members of the United States Senate. Washington, D.C. and the five inhabited territories each elect one non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives. Nebraska's unicameral legislature and the governorship and legislature of American Samoa are officially non-partisan. Several seats in the House of Representatives were vacant at the time of the election.

Subdivision and PVIBefore 2018 elections [50] After 2018 elections [51] [52]
Subdivision PVI [53] GovernorState leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
Alabama R+14RepRepSplitRep 6–1RepRepSplitRep 6–1
Alaska R+9IndSplitRepRep 1–0RepRepRepRep 1–0
Arizona R+5RepRepRepRep 5–4RepRepSplitDem 5–4
Arkansas R+15RepRepRepRep 4–0RepRepRepRep 4–0
California D+12DemDemDemDem 39–14DemDemDemDem
Colorado D+1DemSplitSplitRep 4–3DemDemSplitDem 4–3
Connecticut D+6DemSplitDemDem 5–0DemDemDemDem 5–0
Delaware D+6DemDemDemDem 1–0DemDemDemDem 1–0
Florida R+2RepRepSplitRep 15–11RepRepRepRep 14–13
Georgia R+5RepRepRepRep 10–4RepRepRepRep
Hawaii D+18DemDemDemDem 2–0DemDemDemDem 2–0
Idaho R+19RepRepRepRep 2–0RepRepRepRep 2–0
Illinois D+7RepDemDemDem 11–7DemDemDemDem 13–5
Indiana R+9RepRepSplitRep 7–2RepRepRepRep 7–2
Iowa R+3RepRepRepRep 3–1RepRepRepDem 3–1
Kansas R+13RepRepRepRep 4–0DemRepRepRep 3–1
Kentucky R+15RepRepRepRep 5–1RepRepRepRep 5–1
Louisiana R+11DemRepRepRep 5–1DemRepRepRep 5–1
Maine D+3RepSplitSplit R/I [lower-alpha 8] Split 1–1DemDemSplit R/I [lower-alpha 8] Dem 2–0
Maryland D+12RepDemDemDem 7–1RepDemDemDem 7–1
Massachusetts D+12RepDemDemDem 9–0RepDemDemDem 9–0
Michigan D+1RepRepDemRep 9–4DemRepDemSplit 7–7
Minnesota D+1DemRepDemDem 5–3DemSplitDemDem 5–3
Mississippi R+9RepRepRepRep 3–1RepRepRep 3–1
Missouri R+9RepRepSplitRep 6–2RepRepRepRep 6–2
Montana R+11DemRepSplitRep 1–0DemRepSplitRep 1–0
Nebraska R+14RepNPRepRep 3–0RepNPRepRep 3–0
Nevada D+1RepDemSplitDem 3–1DemDemDemDem 3–1
New Hampshire EvenRepRepDemDem 2–0RepDemDemDem 2–0
New Jersey D+7DemDemDemDem 7–5DemDemDemDem 11-1
New Mexico D+3RepDemDemDem 2–1DemDemDemDem 3–0
New York D+11DemSplitDemDem 17–9DemDemDemDem
North Carolina R+3DemRepRepRep 10–3DemRepRepRep 10-3
North Dakota R+17RepRepSplitRep 1–0RepRepRepRep 1–0
Ohio R+3RepRepSplitRep 12–4RepRepSplitRep 12–4
Oklahoma R+20RepRepRepRep 4–0RepRepRepRep 4–1
Oregon D+5DemDemDemDem 4–1DemDemDemDem 4–1
Pennsylvania EvenDemRepSplitRep 10–6DemRepSplitSplit 9–9
Rhode Island D+10DemDemDemDem 2–0DemDemDemDem 2–0
South Carolina R+8RepRepRepRep 6–1RepRepRepRep 5–2
South Dakota R+14RepRepRepRep 1–0RepRepRepRep 1–0
Tennessee R+14RepRepRepRep 7–2RepRepRepRep 7–2
Texas R+8RepRepRepRep 25–11RepRepRepRep
Utah R+20RepRepRepRep 4–0RepRepRepRep
Vermont D+15RepDemSplit D/I [lower-alpha 9] Dem 1–0RepDemSplit D/I [lower-alpha 9] Dem 1–0
Virginia D+1DemRepDemRep 7–4DemRepDemDem 7–4
Washington D+7DemDemDemDem 6–4DemDemDemDem 7–3
West Virginia R+20RepRepSplitRep 2–0RepRepSplitRep 3–0
Wisconsin EvenRepRepSplitRep 5–3DemRepSplitRep 5–3
Wyoming R+25RepRepRepRep 1–0RepRepRepRep 1–0
United StatesEvenRep 33-16-1Rep 67-32Rep 51–49 [lower-alpha 10] Rep 235–193Rep 27-23Rep 62-37RepDem
Washington, D.C. D+43Dem [lower-alpha 11] Dem [lower-alpha 11] N/ADemDemDemN/ADem
American Samoa N/ANPNPRepNPNPRep
Guam RepDemDemDemDemDem
N. Mariana Islands RepRepInd [lower-alpha 12] RepRepInd [lower-alpha 12]
U.S. Virgin Islands IndDemDemDemDem
SubdivisionPVIGovernorState leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
Subdivision and PVIBefore 2018 electionsAfter 2018 elections

Ballot issues and recounts

In Arizona, a court settlement was reached on November 9 between Democrats and Republicans after Republicans filled a lawsuit on November 7 to attempt to prevent Maricopa and Pima counties from using procedures that permit mail-in ballot fixes to occur beyond election day. [54] The settlement gave all counties until November 14 to address problems with the ballots for the states Senate race.

Recounts of ballots were ordered for Florida's Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races on November 10 after the tallies from 67 counties were deemed too close to call. [55] Due to the recount ordered, Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum withdrew his earlier concession to Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. [56] On November 9, Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott filed two lawsuits against election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties that alleged officials were hiding critical information about the number of votes cast and counted. While the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced on November 9 they would not be investigating election officials, [57] a state judge ruled for the Republican candidate, that Republicans be granted "immediate" access to requested information. [58]

In Georgia, a judge placed a temporary restraining order on Doughterty county results on November 9, as some of the 14,000 requested absentee ballots were allegedly re-routed through Tallahassee due to Hurricane Michael, and the county cannot certify its results as all the ballots have not been counted. [59] Before the election there was allegations of voter suppression raised in Georgia, as well as outcry that candidate Brian Kemp did not resign from his position as Secretary of State, which oversaw the election. [60]

Historic turnout

Turnout of the voting eligible population in midterm elections since 1945. The 2018 figure is an estimate. Highest midterm turnout since 1914 midterm election which had a 50.4% turnout.

On November 3, it was reported that the number of early voters was 31.5 million, which broke the 2014 record; [61] the number was raised to about 40 million ballots on November 6. [62] Some states, such as Texas and Nevada, reported that officials had received more early ballots already processed than those who voted at all in the 2014 midterm election. [62]

A professor from the University of Florida, Michael McDonald, documented the ballot numbers as they were reported, and reported that the percentage turnout of eligible voters surpassed the 1966 midterm election percentage of 48.7%, and that it is the largest midterm turnout since the 1914 midterm election, which had a 50.4% turnout. [63] [64] [65] [66]

23 states had double-digit percentage-point increases compared to average turnout in midterm elections held between 1982 and 2014. Among the states that saw the highest growth in turnout were Georgia, whose 55% turnout was 21 points higher than previous elections, and Texas, whose turnout of 46% was 14 points higher than the state's average between 1982 and 2014. [67]

Records and firsts

The Center for Responsive Politics, projected that a total of more than $5.2 billion was spent by campaigns leading up to the elections, and 2018 is projected to be the most expensive elections in United States history, breaking the previous record from 2016 of $4.4 billion. [68]

The election included a number of historic firsts. Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM) are the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) were elected to be the first female Muslim representatives and Jared Polis (D-CO) was elected to be the first openly gay male governor. Furthermore, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. [69]

Minnesota became the only state in which each party controlled one chamber of the state legislature. Prior to the 2018 election, 1914 was the most recent year in which there was only one state with a divided legislature. [34]

Alleged foreign interference

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated during congressional testimony that "the United States is under attack" from Russian efforts to impact the results of the elections. [70] As of February 13, 2018, six U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously reported their conclusion [71] that Russian personnel are monitoring American electoral systems, and promoting partisan causes on social media. [72]

On May 23, 2018, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a committee hearing, warned that the Federal government of the United States was not adequately protected from Russian interference in the 2018 midterms elections, saying, "No responsible government official would ever state that they have done enough to forestall any attack on the United States of America". [73]

On July 26, 2018, Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri alleged that Russian hackers unsuccessfully attempted to break into her Senate email account, [74] confirming a report in The Daily Beast. [75]

On August 2, 2018, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats announced along with FBI Director Christopher Wray at a White House press conference that Russia is actively interfering in the 2018 elections, saying "It is real. It is ongoing." [76]

Also on August 2, 2018, NPR reported that Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire reported to the FBI several attempts to compromise her campaign [77] including both spearphishing attempts on her staff, and a disturbing incident where someone called her offices "impersonating a Latvian official, trying to set up a meeting to talk to me about Russian sanctions and about Ukraine." Her opposition to Russian aggression and support of sanctions has placed her on an official Russian blacklist. [78]

On August 8, 2018, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida told the Tampa Bay Times that Russian operatives have penetrated some of Florida's election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. "They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about," Nelson told the newspaper. He also stated that more detailed information is classified. [79] The Russian hackers may be able to prevent some voters from casting votes by removing people from the voter rolls. [80] Nelson provided no evidence of Russian hacking and was criticized by The Washington Post 's Fact Checker who gave Nelson's claim four Pinocchios denoting it as an outright lie. [81]

On July 16, 2018, at a summit in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed the conclusions of the United States Intelligence Community, stating that he believed Putin's repeated denials of interference in American elections. Later, President Trump answered "no" in response to questions asking if he believed Russia would be targeting the midterm elections, but later claimed he was refusing to answer the question, not responding to it. In late July, the President said in a tweet that he's "very concerned" about allegations of Russian meddling, but adding that he believed interference would only benefit Democrats. [82]

In a September 2018 speech at the United Nations Security Council and Twitter posts, Trump made no mention of Russian interference, but accused China of meddling in the U.S. midterm elections, asserting that "they don't want me or us to win" because of his imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods. [83] China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi responded by stating: "we did not and will not interfere in any countries' domestic affairs. We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China." [84] While the Chinese government has used its cyber-warfare capacities for espionage and to monitor Chinese dissidents overseas, there is no evidence that China used its cybercapabilities to interfere in the 2018 U.S. elections. [83]

Aftermath and reactions

Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each declared victory for their respective parties in the 2018 elections.

Democratic control of the House Representatives ensures that they can prevent the passage of conservative legislation in the 116th United States Congress, which will meet from January 2019 to January 2021. The party will also gain control of congressional committees with the power to issue subpoenas and investigate various issues. However, by keeping control of the Senate, Republicans will be able to confirm President Trump's nominees without Democratic support. [85]

After the election, President Trump stated that he had won a “Big Victory.” He indicated that he looked forward to “a beautiful bipartisan-type situation,” but promised to assume a “warlike posture” if House Democrats launched investigations into his administration. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that her party won gains because of voter desire to "[restore] the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.” [86] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Senate Democrats performed “much better than expected” in a difficult election cycle. [87] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that election day was "a very good day" for his party. [88]

Analysts, journalist, and pundits differed in their assessments of Democratic gains in the election. The editorial board The Washington Examiner argued that Republicans had suffered smaller-than-average losses for a mid-term election, and Damon Young of the The Root stated his belief that the election "should have been a disaster for [the Republican Party] ... but it wasn’t.”. John Cassidy of The New Yorker argued that the election "represented a significant rebuke to Trump." James P. Pinkerton of The American Conservative wrote that the election showed that voters prefer divided control of the federal government. [89] Tara Golshan of Vox argued that the election constituted a "massive victory" for Democrats, but argued that gerrymandering and voter suppression prevented larger gains for the party. [90] Colby Itkowitz of the Washington Post wrote that the election may have constituted a "blue wave," but added that "the massive repudiation of Trump that Democrats hoped for simply didn’t happen." [91] Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight stated that the election was "by any historical standard, a blue wave." [25] Chris Cillizza of CNN wrote, "Was it an A+ for [the Democratic Party]? No. But it was a hell of a lot better than a C." [92]


  1. Some special elections, as well as the regularly-scheduled elections in the Northern Mariana Islands, were held on other dates.
  2. 1 2 Incumbents in one Class I Senate seat and one Class II Senate seat are undetermined.
  3. Democrats needed to win 51 seats to acquire a Senate majority. In a hypothetical tied Senate where each caucus had 50 senators, the vote of Republican Vice President Mike Pence would have given Senate Republicans the majority.
  4. One non-voting member of the House of Representatives, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, serves a four-year term and was not up for election in 2018.
  5. 1 2 The 2018 general election in the Northern Marianas Islands were delayed until Nov. 13 due to Typhoon Yutu, which struck the territory shortly before the scheduled Nov. 6 election date.
  6. States labeled as "no redistricting necessary" currently only have one congressional district, and thus do not need to redistrict. However, some projections show that, prior to the next round of redistricting, Rhode Island could lose its second district and Montana could gain a second district. [32]
  7. There were no legislative elections in the four states (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia) which hold state elections in odd-numbered years. There were also no elections to the Kansas Senate, Minnesota Senate, New Mexico Senate, and South Carolina Senate, since all seats in those chambers are elected in presidential-election years. [33]
  8. 1 2 One of Maine's senators, Susan Collins, is a Republican. The other senator from Maine, Angus King, is an independent who has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2013.
  9. 1 2 One of Vermont's senators, Patrick Leahy, is a Democrat. The other senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, was elected as an independent and has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2007.
  10. Prior the 2018 elections, the Republican Senate caucus consisted of 51 Republicans. The Democratic Senate caucus consisted of 47 Democrats and 2 independents.
  11. 1 2 Washington, D.C. does not elect a governor or state legislature, but it does elect a mayor and a city council.
  12. 1 2 Del. Gregorio Sablan was elected as an Independent and has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2009.


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Further reading