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And ... Down the Stretch They Come

Rich Galen

Monday November 5, 2018

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  • What will happen tomorrow? Let me tell you a little story.

  • It was November 8, 2016. Two years, 11 months, four weeks, and one day ago.

  • It was about two in the afternoon. I and my colleague Dan Meyers were meeting with a group of Swedish businessmen and women explaining what was - not what the results would likely, but what the results would absolutely be over the ensuing 12-or-so hours.

  • We put up a map of the country on the large flat screen along the front wall and I confidently pointed to states like Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

  • "In order to win tonight," I said without consulting Dan, "Donald Trump must - as we say here in America - 'run the table' winning each of these states while not being unpleasantly surprised anywhere in the South."

  • "Ain't," I said with the confidence borne of someone who had no idea what he was talking about, "gonna happen."

  • Happened.

  • The Swedes presented us each with an appreciation trinket. They never asked for them back and we never offered to return them.

  • Which brings us to tomorrow.

  • With all the cautions about my predictive skills, here's what I think will happen:

  • Democrats will pick up 30-35 seats and take control of the U.S. House.
    The Cook Report shows 29 toss-ups in House races. 28 of them are currently Republican seats. That doesn't mean the Ds will win all of the toss-ups, but a lot of R seats are balancing on the edge.

    The current line-up is 235 Rs 193 Ds and 7 vacancies. Of the 7 vacancies, five were held by Republicans, two by Democrats.

    If the Ds pick up a net 30 seats they would go into the new Congress with a 223 - 212 majority. Not a wipe-out, but enough to move Nancy Pelosi into the Speaker's office.

    In addition to gaining the Speaker, Democrats would take over control of ever Committee and Sub-Committee chairmanship and, in a era of wastin' away again in subpoena-ville, 2/3 of the committee staffs.

  • Republicans will pick up two seats in the U.S. Senate.
    The current Senate breakdown is 51-49 in favor of the Rs. If they increase their majority by two it will be 53-47 which is a pretty wide margin with only 100 senators, but not enough to be filibuster-proof.

    If that happens, the Senate will (a) be business as usual and (b) will be very, VERY far away from the required 67 votes to convict if a Democratically-controlled House should be foolish enough to adopt articles of impeachment against Trump (based upon what we know now).

    The Cook Report shows nine toss-ups in U.S. Senate races. Five are held by Democrats, four are Republican seats. In addition, Cook lists North Dakota as "Lean R." The incumbent is Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.

    Tough hill for the Democrats to climb.

  • Democrats will pick up 6 Governors' seats.
    There are 33 Republican Governors, 16 Democrats and one independent. They are not all up for re-election.

    Of the 36 Governors' seats that are up for election tomorrow, 26 are held by Republicans, 9 by Democrats. Alaska independent suddenly dropped out of the race and endorsed the Democrat.

    Of the 12 Governor races listed as toss-ups, 10 are held by Republicans and of those 10 seven are open seats - either because the sitting Governor is termed-out, or is running for another office.

    The Governor races are crucial this election because of the number of winners who will still be in office in 2021 when states will be busily re-drawing Congressional Districts following the 2020 census.

  • Men against women. College grads against non-grads. Whites versus non-Whites. Suburbs versus rural. Trump against the field.

  • We'll know the answers, likely, by early Wednesday morning.

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    If those choices make you nervous, and you want to pay by check there is a slight change for this year.

  • MULLINGS is the name of the column. The company which I own (and which owns MULLINGS) is called "Barrington Worldwide."

  • Therefore please make your check out to "Barrington Worldwide" and address the envelope to:
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    -----

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to each of those Cook Report web pages: House, Senate and Governors. Also, a link to a series of "And Down the Stretch They Come" video clips.

    The Mullfoto is something of a departure from the typical sweet, cute, or clever.

    -- END --

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