Washington, D.C. – The Republicans have held on to the Senate by grabbing some center-left leaning districts, while Democrats scooped up the 218 they needed to topple GOP control of the House of Representatives. Those numbers weren’t necessarily surprising for many Americans. But the details surrounding this election are fascinating. Candidates broke barriers across gender (more than 100 women were elected), race, religion and sexual identity.
And inside those states and districts, unique situations arose around the power of independent voters in a national election, because of new voting methods that people fought hard to change, election security – or lack thereof, and voter’s sensitivity to a scandal. These made a historic mark on this election. Below are a few that reflect those notable characteristics.
Florida – U.S. Senate
Winner: Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.)
Why it matters: This seat flipped. More than 4.3 million ballots were cast via early or absentee ballots, more than any other state in the country. The race between Nelson and Scott could set records as the most expensive Senate election of all time.
Who ran: Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
Winner: Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R)
Why it matters: The country’s largest swing state, it is a BIG indicator of who the voters will swing in 2020. In 2016 Donald Trump (R) won the 2016 presidential election by 1.2 percentage points and in 2012 Barack Obama (D) won re-election by 0.9 percentage points.
Who ran: Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), Darcy Richardson (Reform), Kyle Gibson, (I), Ryan Foley (I), Bruce Stanley (I)
Maine’s 2nd Congressional District – U.S. House
Winner: At this point, Incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) and State Rep. Jared Golden (D) are neck and neck.
Why it matters: There are two very important components of this race. First, it was a historic day for Maine as the state took part in its first ranked-choice voting election. It is the first general election in US history ranked-choice voting will be used in US House and Senate general election. Second, Maine’s second district helped give Trump his only New England electoral vote. It’s filled with independents so this is a barometer to see how they feel about the last two years of action in Washington. This was a close race in Maine and the most expensive Congressional contest in its history.
Who ran: Incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R), State Rep. Jared Golden (D), Tiffany Bond (I) and Will Hoar (I)
Nevada – U.S. Senate
Winner: U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen (D)
Why it matters: This seat flipped. It was a big year in this solidly purple state as the Southwest emerged as a critical battleground for control of the United States Senate. And it hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator in 20 years. But early voting skyrocketed, and polling showed the tide shifting away from the GOP. Dean Heller was the only Senate Republican up for re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
Who ran: Incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R), U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen (D), Kamau Bakari (Independent American), Tim Hagan (L), Barry Michaels (I)
Arizona – U.S. Senate
Winner: Representative Martha McSally (R)
Why it matters-Arizona has its first female senator in history. In a state where independents make up the largest voting bloc, it has not sent a Democratic Senator to Washington in 20 years. Polls showed the race neck and neck.
Who ran: Representative Martha McSally (R), Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D), and Angela Green (G) as they ran for incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R) spot.
Winner: Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R-Ga.)
Why it matters: A lot of the divisiveness in this infamous race was down to election security and ballot access issues. Georgia was a key battleground state in the race for Governor among 35 others holding gubernatorial elections. As Secretary of State in Georgia, Brian Kemp has been to lawsuits time and time again for ignoring election security, and for blocking ballot access for minorities which typically affected minorities. Celebrities flooded the state to stump for Abrams when this election came to national attention over the recent blockage of mail-in ballots. Days ago Kemp accused Democrats of hacking the state’s voter database. According to Ballotpedia, the state has been a Georgia has been a Republican trifecta since 2004 holding the governorship, the State House of Representatives and the Senate.
Who ran: Secretary of State Brian Kemp (GA-R), Former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), Secretary of State Brian Kemp (GA-R), and Ted Metz (L)
California’s 50th Congressional District – U.S. House
Winner: Incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter (R)
Why it matters: This one was rough. Incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter(R) was indicted recently on charges of abusing campaign funds. Many thought this race was a referendum on the people’s patience with campaign finance scandals in one of the reddest districts in the state. Apparently, it didn’t stop know his stride back to Washington.
Who ran: Incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) dunked on small business owner Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)