15 races to watch

15 races we’re watching

We’re now just one week away from Election Day-wow! I certainly can’t believe it’s this close. Americans will elect tens of thousands of individuals to offices up and down the ballot, with the presidency, 35 seats in the U.S. Senate, all 435 seats in the U.S. House, 11 U.S. state governorships and two territory governorships, and 5,875 seats across 86 state legislative chambers among the offices up. As we head into the final stretch, I wanted to share with you a preview of our list of 15 races we’ll be watching. 

Below is a sampling of those elections—click here for the full list.

  • Georgia (special): Incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R), who was appointed to the Senate following Johnny Isakson’s (R) retirement, faces 20 challengers in this special election for the remainder of Isakson’s term. Special congressional elections in Georgia do not have primaries, meaning every candidate advanced directly to the general election. The polling and fundraising leaders are Loeffler, Doug Collins (R), Matt Lieberman (D), and Raphael Warnock (D).
  • Georgia’s 7th District: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) and Rich McCormick (R) are running for this suburban Atlanta district, currently represented by retiring incumbent Rob Woodall (R). Bourdeaux was the Democratic nominee in 2018 when she lost to Woodall by a 433-vote margin—the narrowest of any U.S. House race that year.
  • Governor of North Carolina: Incumbent Roy Cooper (D), Dan Forest (R), Al Pisano (Constitution Party), and Steven DiFiore II (L) are running. Cooper defeated incumbent Pat McCrory (R) 49.0% to 48.8% in 2016, the same year Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 50% to 46%.

Stay tuned for our preview of the ballot measures we’re watching in tomorrow’s Brew and for a preview of the local races in Thursday’s edition.

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Senate confirms Barrett in a 52-48 vote

Last night, the U.S. Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote was mostly along party lines, with Sen. Susan Collins as the only Republican to vote with Democrats against Barrett’s confirmation. Justice Clarence Thomas swore Barrett in shortly after the Senate vote.

President Trump nominated Barrett to the Supreme Court on Sept. 29. The vacancy was opened by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18 at the age of 87.

President Trump appointed Barrett to the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 2017. Barrett previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She then practiced law at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, D.C. from 1999 to 2002.

Here are some more facts for you:

  • Barrett will be the 115th justice to sit on the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789.
  • Barrett will be the fifth female justice on the court.
  • If Barrett receives her commission this week, the first cases she will be able to hear are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club and Salinas v. United States Railroad Retirement Board, both scheduled for Nov. 2. Ten cases have been heard so far this term, and 19 remain.
  • The vacancy for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat was 39 days. Nine seats have been filled more quickly. It took the same number of days for John Paul Stevens’ seat to be filled by Justice Elena Kagan.
  • The average vacancy length on the Supreme Court since 1962—when defined as the length of time elapsed between a Justice’s departure date and the swearing-in of their successor—is 88 days.

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Explore Florida elections

Today in our 50 States in 25 Days series we’re looking at Florida and Wyoming. If you missed a day, here are the states we’ve highlighted so far, along with a map summarizing where we are in the series:

Week One: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and Oregon

Week Two: Montana, New Mexico, Iowa, South Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, and South Carolina

Week Three: North Dakota, West Virginia, Georgia, New York, Kentucky, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, New Jersey, and Oklahoma

Week Four: Maine, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Washington, Hawaii, and Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin

Week Five: Connecticut and Minnesota

On the ballot in Florida

At the federal level, Florida voters will elect 29 presidential electors and 27 U.S. Representatives. Both chambers of the state legislature are on the ballot, with 21 out of 40 seats up in the state Senate (20 in regular elections and one in a special election) and all 120 state House districts. One seat on the state supreme court and 24 intermediate appellate court seats are on the ballot. Voters will also decide on six statewide ballot measures. Ballotpedia is tracking local elections taking place in four counties, one city, and 13 school districts.

Partisan data

  • In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Florida defeating Hillary Clinton 49% to 48%. In the past 10 presidential elections, Republican nominees have won Florida seven times, and Democratic nominees have won Florida three times.
  • Florida has four Pivot Counties. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012, then voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Florida’s U.S. Senators are Republicans.
  • The Republican Party represents 14 of the state’s U.S. House districts, and Democrats represent 13. 
  • Florida’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are Republicans, meaning it is one of 19 states with a Republican triplex. It has held this status since 2011.
  • Republicans have a 23-17 majority in the state Senate and a 71-46 majority in the state House of Representatives. Because the governor is Republican, the state is one of 21 Republican trifectas. It has held this status since 2011, when Rick Scott (R) became governor.

Battleground races

Here are two battleground races taking place in Florida this year:

  • Florida’s 26th Congressional District: Incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) and Carlos Gimenez (R) are running. Partisan control of the 26th District has changed twice since its creation following the 2010 census. Joe Garcia (D) won in 2012. Carlos Curbelo (R) defeated Garcia in 2014, 51.5% to 48.5%. Curbelo was re-elected in 2016. In 2018, Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo 51% to 49%.
  • Mayoral election in Miami-Dade County: Daniella Levine Cava and Esteban Bovo Jr. advanced from the nonpartisan primary on Aug. 18. Bovo received 29.5% to Cava’s 28.6%. Bovo was a Republican member of the state House of Representatives. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is backing Cava.

Ballot measures

  • Florida voters will decide six statewide measures on Nov. 3. The Florida Legislature referred two amendments to the ballot. The other four are citizen initiatives.
  • The amendments include a $15 minimum wage initiative, a top-two open primaries initiative, and an initiative that would require future constitutional amendments to be approved at two consecutive general elections. Florida is also among three states voting on measures that would change constitutional language to say that only U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or older can vote instead of every U.S. citizen who is 18 years old or older can vote.

Voting

  • Voters in Florida are not required to have witnesses or notaries sign their absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their absentee/mail-in ballots in person or by mail. Ballots must be received by the time polls close on Nov. 3 in order to be counted. Click here to check the status of your ballot. 
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 30.9% of all votes cast in Florida.
  • Florida law allows election officials to begin counting ballots at 7 a.m. on Oct. 12.
  • Florida requires all voters to present identification at the polls. For more information about Florida’s voter ID requirements, click here.
  • In Florida, early voting began on Oct. 19 and ends on Nov. 1.
  • In Florida, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Most of Florida is in the Eastern time zone. A portion of western Florida is in the Central time zone.

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Explore Wyoming elections

On the ballot in Wyoming

At the federal level, Wyoming voters will elect three presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and one U.S. Representative. Both chambers of the state legislature are on the ballot, with 15 out of 30 seats up in the state Senate and all 60 state House districts. Two seats on the state supreme court are on the ballot. Voters will also decide on one statewide ballot measure. 

Partisan data

  • In 2016, Donald Trump (R) defeated Hillary Clinton (D) 68% to 22% in Wyoming. Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to win the state in a presidential election in 1964.
  • Wyoming is one of 16 states without a Pivot County. Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and Donald Trump (R) in 2016.
  • Both of Wyoming’s Senators—Mike Enzi and John Barrasso—are Republicans.
  • Wyoming’s representative in the U.S. House, Liz Cheney, is a Republican.
  • Wyoming’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Republicans, meaning it is one of 19 states with a Republican triplex. It has held this status since the 2010 elections.
  • Republicans have a 27-3 majority in the state Senate and a 50-9 majority in the state House. Because the governor is also a Republican, Wyoming is one of 21 states with a Republican trifecta. Republicans gained a trifecta when they won the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Ballot measures

  • The Wyoming Legislature referred one constitutional amendment to the Nov. 3 ballot that would remove the constitutional limit on local indebtedness for the creation of sewage systems.

Voting

  • Voters in Wyoming are not required to have witnesses or notaries sign their absentee/mail-in ballot return documents.  
  • Voters can return their absentee/mail-in ballots in person or by mail. Ballots must be received by the time polls close on Nov. 3 in order to be counted. Click here to check the status of your ballot.
  • In the 2018 general election, absentee/mail-in ballots represented 30.0% of all votes cast in Wyoming.
  • Wyoming law allows election officials to begin counting ballots on Nov. 3.
  • Wyoming does not require all voters to present identification at the polls. 
  • Early voting began on Sept. 18 and ends on Nov. 2.
  • In Wyoming, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Wyoming is in the Mountain time zone. 

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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