Overall, last night was a great night, in spite of a few blemishes. So far my predictions in the presidential and governor races are pretty close to the actual results, my Senate predictions may be depending on how the recount in Minnesota and the Georgia runoff go, and it looks like my House predictions may have been a tad optimistic. Once the dust completely settles, I will have a more detailed analysis of my predictions vs. the actual results. For the time being, enjoy my state-by-state analysis of the 2008 election below the flip.
Alabama – Everything here panned out according to my predictions, including the surprise Democratic upset in the 2nd district that I changed to a Dem win at the last minute.
Alaska – Seems like the polls in the Senate and House races underestimated the Palin effect on the convicted Stevens and the embattled Young. My opinion of Alaska has officially gone down. It’s a beautiful state, but they elect horrible politicians!
Arizona – Everything here panned out according to my predictions, including the presidency, though I had a slight hope of an Obama upset in the wake of recent polls showing only a few points between Obama and McCain, and in AZ-03, which I believe was McCain’s House seat in the 80s.
Arkansas – I am disappointed, though not very surprised, in the presidential results here, having McCain up by only high single digits in the final prediction when he ended up taking the state in a 20-point blowout. Arkansas, like most of the Upper South, is PUMA land. Though the state and the area are trending away from us, don’t be surprised to see Hillary win here if she runs again.
California – My home state was a VERY mixed bag last night. I will give a fuller analysis of the results later on, when the few million uncounted ballots are in, since a few Assembly races and a ballot measure are still undecided. The good news first, is that Obama won in a huge landslide by about as much as I predicted, though my gut feeling was that Obama’s numbers would be closer to Kerry’s, being the first Democrat (and second overall) winning over 60% of the vote since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. We also had some wins in the ballot measures, passing 1A (High-Speed Rail w00t!) and 2 (more humane farm animal confinement), and beating back the odious 4 (Parental Notification III). Now for the bad news: disappointing results in the House races (though McNerney won, McClintock may become the new Congressman in CA-04), state legislature (a razor-thin battle in SD-19 and being ahead in only 3 of the 7 competitive Assembly races, one of the ones we’re behind in being a Dem-held seat), and especially on Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriage.
Colorado – We had yet another great year here, finally knocking off culture warrior Marilyn Musgrave, taking the open Senate seat, and Obama winning! How many people were predicting Colorado to be this blue just six years ago? Not many, and those that did would probably have been laughed out of the room. Major kudos to Dean for choosing Denver for the convention!
Connecticut – Another great state for Dems, with Obama winning by more than 20 points, and finally completing the task of shutting out Republicans in every single House seat in New England with Chris Shays outta there!
Delaware – Just a few years ago, Delaware was seen as a possible Republican pick-off with Rudy and in the open governor’s race with a tepidly popular incumbent Democrat. Now, with the Biden effect and Markell’s huge landslide (ensuring that a Democrat will succeed Biden in the Senate), it is hard to believe that was the case. Taking the state House of Representatives was the feather in the hat.
District of Columbia – Though the result was beyond predictable, I was still amazed that Obama managed over 90% here.
Florida – I nearly passed out when Obama was declared the winner here. This is the first time in recent history that the polls were actually on par with the results. I was less surprised with the House results, however. Keller and Feeney went down as predicted, as did Tim Mahoney (and good riddance! An unusual time when I want to see a Democrat out of Congress), while the Cuban incumbents prevailed.
Georgia – Not long ago, I was expecting Georgia to only get redder across the board. Surprisingly, the vote went to McCain by only a few points, as well as the odious Chambliss in the Senate race (with a runoff possible if no one gets 50%). The two Democratic Congressmen, Marshall and Barrow, who were expected to be in serious trouble prevailed by much wider margins than even I expected. I guess for them 2010 (and then redistricting in 2012 if they survive then) will be the real test.
Hawaii – I was expecting the Islands of Aloha to be Obama’s widest margin, though I was still surprised at the 45% margin obliteration Obama handed McCain here.
Idaho – McCain won by a wide margin as expected, but his coattails could not save the repugnant Bill Sali, who was picked off by Walter Minnick in ID-01, who will be the first Democratic congressman from Idaho since 1992.
Illinois – The Land of Lincoln went to Obama by a huge margin as expected, though his coattails were not long enough to drag Dan Seals in IL-10 across the finish line. Halvorson and Foster did win in their districts, though. Now the next step is who Governor Blagojevich appoints to Obama’s Senate seat.
Indiana – Perhaps the biggest upset of all is Obama’s win in this state that has been strongly Republican since the party’s founding, only going Democratic in huge Democratic landslides. Downballot, however, everything else played out according to expectations, except for the “bloody 9th”, in which Baron Hill surprisingly smashed Mike Sodrel in their fourth consecutive matchup.
Iowa – Once one of the swingiest of swing states, going narrowly for Gore and then narrowly for Bush, Obama won this corn-heavy state very handily. Tom Harkin also scored his first ever landslide, while Latham won by a wider margin than expected.
Kansas – We still have a lot of work to do here, though Obama did close the gap considerably, as Nancy Boyda in KS-02 fell to moderate Republican State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, the survivor of a bloody primary with ex-Representative Jim Ryun, who was much more conservative.
Kentucky – After Obama had secured the nomination, I initially expected Kentucky, like most other PUMA-heavy states, to be among his worst. However, Louisville probably helped him stay at Kerry-esque levels. The other competitive races went according to prediction, with Republican Senator Mitch McConnell holding on by single digits, Brett Guthrie holding the open KY-02, and Democrat John Yarmuth in KY-03 brushing off a rematch with the Republican he unseated, Anne Northup.
Louisiana – With many Democratic voters displaced by Hurricane Katrina, McCain improved upon Bush by a few points. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu won her third term by a close margin, like her other two elections, though this time she will not go into a runoff. Corrupt Congressman Bill Jefferson is headed for another term in LA-02, which is based in New Orleans; the winner in the open LA-04 will be determined after a December runoff. Another major disappointment happened in LA-06, with black independent candidate Michael Jackson playing the role of spoiler and causing Democrat Don Cazayoux’s loss to Bill Cassidy.
Maine – Nothing special. Exactly as my formulas predicted, Obama and Republican Senator Susan Collins won in landslides.
Maryland – Probably the state that best fits Obama, he won by a very comfortable 20%+ margin on par with California’s as expected. The 1st congressional district on the Eastern Shore, open because the incumbent moderate Republican Wayne Gilchrest was beaten in the primary, was up in the air for a few days after the election, was finally won by the Democrat, Frank Kratovil, who got Gilchrest’s endorsement.
Massachusetts – Uneventful. Landslides for Obama and all 10 representatives. Surprisingly, no Republican stepped up to challenge Niki Tsongas, who barely won a special election just a year ago.
Michigan – Once considered a possible Democratic loss, Michigan came out for Obama and Democrats big-time, with Obama and Senator Carl Levin winning in landslides, and Democrats knocking off two Republican congressmen, one of which beat a moderate Republican in the primary last time.
Minnesota – Like 2004 and 2006, this too was expected to be a great year for Democrats in Minnesota, but the results fell short of expectations. Obama improved upon Kerry, though not by much in the outstate areas. The Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken was expected to be the closest Senate race in the country, and still is as the result still has yet to be called and is going into a recount. On the House front, Democrats came disappointingly short in winning the Republican-held open seat in a moderate suburban Minneapolis district, and in unseating nutball Michele Bachmann in her not-as-conservative district.
Mississippi – Obama improved upon Kerry, but not by much, and the special Senate election ended up falling into Republican quasi-incumbent Roger Wicker’s hands despite a stronger-than-usual challenge from former governor Ronnie Musgrove, who’s campaign collapsed at the last minute. Good news, though, Democrat Travis Childers won reelection to a full House term.
Missouri – Once again, Missouri was a battleground state as everyone expected. If you are wondering which state in the US gave major victories to both parties, look no further than Missouri. Of the candidates this year, Obama was the worst Dem, though Missouri usually goes Democratic in bad economic times, while McCain was the best Repub and was expected to win until he chose Palin, so it is no surprise that polls towards the end were tied. McCain ended up winning by an extremely slim margin, making this presidential election the first since 1956 that Missouri did not vote for the winner. The two House districts that were expected to be close, the 6th and 9th, ended up staying in GOP hands, though the latter was closer than expected. In the statewide races, Democrats won them all except for the Lieutenant Governor, where moderate Republican Peter Kinder held on in another close race. Democrat Jay Nixon crushed Congressman Kenny Hulshof in the open governor’s race, overperforming traditional Democratic numbers in the heavily Republican southwestern corner of the state in the Ozark Mountains while underperforming in the north of the state due to Hulshof having represented part of that area in Congress. Democrats also took the open Treasurer and Attorney General offices, while Democrat Robin Carnahan won reelection as Secretary of State in a landslide.
Montana – Having gone Republican by over 20 points in the last two elections, Montana was one of the last states to call its presidential results, which stayed with McCain, but only by 3%. As expected, Democrats Brian Schweitzer and Max Baucus won reelection to the Governorship and Senate respectively in landslides.
Nebraska – For the first time ever, a state that splits its electoral votes did so, with Obama taking the 2nd congressional district, based in Omaha! Unfortunately, the House race did not follow a similar path. Though the margin presidentially was less than 2004, McCain still won comfortably, as did Republican Mike Johanns in the open Senate seat.
Nevada – What was once a strongly red state not that long ago, and is a neighbor to McCain’s own home state to boot, has gone for Obama by double-digits and turned away Republican Congressman John Porter for Democrat Dina Titus in a suburban Vegas House district.
New Hampshire – Nope, the Democratic tsunami from 2006 was not a fluke. Obama won by double digits, Governor John Lynch crushed another Republican, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen knocked off incumbent Republican Senator John Sununu, and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter rode the wave in with Obama, Lynch, and Shaheen.
New Jersey – Obama and Senator Frank Lautenberg won comfortably as expected, as did John Adler in the Democratic-leaning 3rd congressional district. Linda Stender fell further short in the marginal open 7th district than she did in 2006.
New Mexico – Another great state for Democrats, with them taking the state’s electoral votes, the open Senate seat, and both open Republican-held districts (including the conservative southern New Mexico district) by landslide margins. Thank you so much, Governor Richardson. THANK YOU!!! ¡Muchas, muchas, MUCHAS gracias, Señor Richardson!
New York – Everything played out here according to predictions, with Obama winning in a landslide and Democrats taking the 13th, 25th, and 29th districts while holding the 20th. The 26th was disappointing (but not surprising after the crazy primary), as was the 24th, where freshman Democrat Mike Arcuri won by a surprisingly small margin after winning by a wider margin just two years ago.
North Carolina – What an amazing turnaround for Democrats in this Upper South state that seemed to be slipping further out of our grasp! Obama was finally declared the winner Friday, Beverly Perdue held off a strong challenge from moderate Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory to hold the open governorship and become the first female governor in the state, and in a dramatic upset, Kay Hagan defeated Elizabeth Dole! Democratic success in the Tar Heel State did not stop here, though. The 8th congressional district, out in NASCAR country, turned away controversial incumbent Robin Hayes for populist Democrat Larry Kissell. Welcome to the Democratic Party, NASCAR Dads!
North Dakota – Though polls showed Obama within range here in this sugar/ethanol-heavy state, McCain ended up pulling off a win here. Also, according to predictions, Republican Governor John Hoeven won in a huge landslide.
Ohio – I was thrilled when the networks called Obama the winner here. No Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio. The margin did become uncomfortably small as the night wore on, but Obama held on in the end. On the House front, Democrats picked off Republican seats in OH-01 (Cincinnati) and OH-16 (next to the Cleveland area). Mean Jean Schmidt held on in the suburban Cincy-based 2nd district, and the Columbus-based 15th is still too close to call, though Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy is slightly behind.
Oklahoma – No surprises. McCain won big. Inhofe won big.
Oregon – After being a cliffhanger in the last two elections, Obama won big here, and his coattails probably helped Democrat Jeff Merkley edge out moderate Republican Senator Gordon Smith. Democrats also comfortably held the open 5th House district.
Pennsylvania – Once thought to be McCain’s best shot at picking off a Kerry state, Pennsylvania ended up giving the Democrats another great year. Obama won in a landslide, we picked off the 3rd district while giving Jason Altmire in the 4th, Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, and John Murtha in the 12th another term. We left Bob Roggio in the 6th for dead against incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach, and Gerlach only won with 52%. Seems our best chance to take out Gerlach will at the soonest be 2012, if we can redistrict him into more Democratic turf.
Rhode Island – Landslides for Democrats all across the board.
South Carolina – Turnout among blacks improved here, cutting McCain’s margin to half of Bush’s, but it wasn’t enough to drag Democratic candidates in the Senate race or the 1st or 2nd districts across the finish line.
South Dakota – Though McCain won the state, Obama improved Democratic numbers in the east of the state. Tim Johnson also won his first easy reelection to the Senate, and a less draconian abortion ban also went down.
Tennessee – Probably the heart of PUMA-land. Though Obama won strongly in Memphis and Nashville, which saved him from doing worse than Kerry, he got clobbered everywhere else in the state. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander also won in a huge landslide.
Texas – Without a native son on the ballot, Texas has shown its true numbers this year, with McCain and Cornyn both winning by margins in the lower teens. In the House races, the 22nd was a disappointing, but not surprising, defeat for Nick Lampson. We never expected Lampson to hold this seat long-term, and the true justice from the DeLay-mander overturn was in the 23rd, where Democrat Ciro Rodriguez, who was also a victim (though in the primary) won in a surprise upset in 2006 and held on this year. There was buzz on the 7th and 10th districts being competitive, but they ended up staying Republican in the end. A point of concern is the 17th district, where incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards held on by just 7 points, much less than expected and much less than his 2006 margin.
Utah – As expected, McCain won big here, though Obama picked up a couple of counties, a feat neither Gore nor Kerry were able to accomplish.
Vermont – Obama’s second-best state.
Virginia – Another state that was unfriendly Democratic turf just a little while ago, gave Democrats wins all across the board, handing Obama its electoral votes, handing ultra-popular former governor Mark Warner a landslide victory in the open Senate race, and handing two House seats, Virginia Beach-based VA-02 and NOVA-based VA-11, to the Democrats. A third House seat has the potential to flip as well, with VA-05 not yet called.
Washington – So far, Obama won handily, Democratic governor Christine Gregoire won a rematch against Dino Rossi, who she beat in an incredibly close nailbiter by only 133 votes and after recounts. In the 8th congressional district, Democrat Darcy Burner is ahead of Republican incumbent Dave Reichert by a tiny margin, and the outcome will likely not be decided for a while because of Washington’s vote-by-mail tradition.
West Virginia – Another PUMA state, West Virginia gave McCain a similar margin that it gave Bush in 2004, meaning the state trended dramatically Republican presidentially since the national margin shifted from a +2 Bush margin to +6 Obama margin. Some good for us, though, Democrats Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller landslid to another term in the governorship and Senate respectively. There was buzz in the 2nd House district about Democrat Anne Barth possibly taking down incumbent Republican Shelley Moore Capito, but that buzz ended up going nowhere.
Wisconsin – Hard to believe this state was the closest Democratic win just a mere four years ago. Now, the state has gone Democratic by double digits and gave incumbent Democratic congressman Steve Kagen another term.
Wyoming – This state was a minor disappointment. Wyoming was not expected to go as Republican as its neighbors Idaho and Utah, as well as Oklahoma, but results show it may be the most Republican state. The Senate races, one of which was up in a special election, went heavily Republican as expected, and Democrat Gary Trauner, who came within one point of unseating controversial Republican incumbent Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (who retired this year) fell further short against Republican former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis.
So overall, my expectations of Democrats on the national level pretty much played out, with an occasional disappointment here and there. Back home in California, though, was mostly another story. My fuller analysis of elections there will come later on when all the votes are in.