We’ll start with a look at the House, where members are up for re-election every two years but are limited to a maximum of three terms. Democrats had hoped to net the four seats they needed to take control for the first time since 2010 but, despite once again winning more votes than GOP candidates—as they have in almost every election over the last decade—they were unable to so much as dent the GOP’s 58-52 majority.
Unlike in many other states in 2020, crossover voting actually benefited Democrats more than Republicans. Four Democrats sit in Trump districts, with state Rep. Darrin Camilleri holding the reddest of the bunch: Camilleri earned his third term 53-47 even as Trump was taking his suburban Detroit constituency 54-45. (The other three similarly situated Democrats are Nate Shannon, Jim Haadsma, and Angela Witwer.) Meanwhile, just two Republicans, Mark Tisdel and Ryan Berman, represent Biden seats, though just barely. Tisdel’s district, which is also in the Detroit area, backed Biden just 50.2-48.6, while Berman’s was even closer, 49.9-48.9.
One way we can dig deeper to see just how rough these maps are for Democrats is to sort each district in each chamber by Biden’s margin of victory over Trump to see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because the House has an even number of seats, we average the two middle seats to come up with the median point in the chamber. Taking this approach, we find that the median House seat supported Trump 51-47, a full 7 points to the right of his 3-point statewide loss.
That’s bad, but the Senate, which is only up in midterm years and where members can serve two four-year terms, is far worse. The median seat in the upper chamber went for Trump by a stunning 54-44 margin―13 points to the right of his statewide showing. Republicans hold one Biden constituency while Democrats represent no Trump turf, which gives Team Red a 22-16 edge. The one crossover seat belongs to Republican state Sen. Jim Runestad, who won an open seat 52-48 two years before Biden went on to carry his suburban Detroit seat 51-48.
The Senate has been in Republican hands since early 1984, when the GOP successfully recalled two Democratic incumbents, but Team Blue may have an opening to finally take it back next year. That’s because in 2018, voters approved the creation of an independent redistricting commission to draw new lines in place of the state legislature. Republicans are by no means guaranteed to lose control in this competitive state, of course, but for the first time in a long time, Democrats won’t have to compete on a gerrymandered playing field.
While we’re on Michigan, we also have an update for our calculations by congressional district. Though the state certified its results last year, election officials have since completed their regular review process, during which they’ve found and fixed data entry errors in county vote totals. These corrections (which the state refers to as “statistical adjustments”) can result in candidates either gaining or losing votes in a given county.
These changes have made a small impact on our numbers in three congressional districts. The largest shift is in the 7th District, where Biden’s total dropped by about 1,600 votes, while Trump’s dropped by about 300. The district consequently moves from 56.7-41.6 Trump to 56.9-41.4 Trump.
● CA-Gov: On Thursday, Secretary of State Shirley Weber confirmed that a recall of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will indeed go forward after just 43 voters withdrew their names from the recall petition put forth by organizers, leaving the effort with more than enough signatures to prompt an election.
The exact timing of the recall remains unknown, though. Officials now have up to 60 days to conduct a pair of reviews of cost estimates for the election, but they could take less than the allotted time. Democrats in the legislature are also considering a bill to cut the timeline even further, though election administrators have criticized the proposal, saying it would be too difficult to hold an election before mid-September.
● WI-Gov: Republican lobbyist Bill McCoshen, who served in former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s cabinet in the mid-1990s, had previously said that he’d decide whether to run for governor in June, but with the month winding down, he’s now moved his timeline out to a vaguer “summer.” Republicans have yet to land a notable candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers next year.
Secretaries of State
● AZ-SoS: State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Republican who championed a bill that would have allowed the state legislature to decertify the state’s presidential results at any point before Inauguration Day, has joined the primary for the open secretary of state post. Bolick, who also unsuccessfully urged Congress to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, faces an intra-party fight against state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and state Rep. Mark Finchem, two fellow voter suppression crusaders.
● Seattle, WA Mayor: Nonprofit executive Colleen Echohawk earned an endorsement Thursday from former Mayor Mike McGinn ahead of the August nonpartisan primary, a development that came as a bit of a surprise: McGinn campaigned as a progressive outsider during his successful 2009 bid, while Echohawk is a board member of the business-aligned Downtown Seattle Association. McGinn, though, only earned 7% of the vote in 2017 when he tried to reclaim the post he’d lost four years before, so he may not have much influence with voters.
The Seattle Times‘ Daniel Beekman also notes that two other former mayors are backing another candidate, former City Council President Bruce Harrell: Wes Uhlman, who left office in early 1978, and Norm Rice, whose tenure from 1990 to 1998 made him Seattle’s first, and to date only, elected Black mayor.