Over the next 30 days, this series will look at the midterm races in all 50 states using a model of election outcomes I have been working on. I intend to start with the less contested races and move onto the closer races near the end of the series. Since the campaigns are not static in October, at the end- based on new information- some of the predictions may need adjustment. The series will also look at some ballot questions of interest. The first entry takes us to Indiana and Missouri.
The current congressional breakdown in Indiana is 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats. All incumbents on both sides are running and all would appear safe for reelection at this point. Perhaps the only districts to “watch” are the Seventh, held by Democrat Andre Carson, the eighth held by Republican Larry Buschon and the Ninth held by Republican Todd Young. In the 7th, Carson will be opposed by Catherine Ping. In the primaries, Democrats accounted for 21,000 of the total 35,000 votes cast in this district which includes the heart of Indianapolis.
The Eighth District, located in the southwest corner of the state, turned out 23,000 Democrats in the primary in an uncontested race. This is a fairly reliable GOP district, so the chances of Tom Spangler springing an upset are low. Finally, in the 9th located south of Indianapolis, Cook rates this +9 GOP and I rate it +11 GOP which takes it out of the vulnerable category. Still, 22,000 of the total 60,000 cast in the primary were on the Democratic side. Not this year, but this district should be watched in the future.
Indiana predictions: All incumbents will be reelected to Congress. As of this state, the Congressional partisan count remains 234 to 199.
Moving west to Missouri, the current delegation is 6-2 in favor of the GOP. The only Democratic representatives hail from the urban centers of St. Louis and Kansas City on opposite sides of the state. Like Indiana, I cannot see any changes in the make up of this delegation after November 4th. If any district can be remotely rated as a possible “flip” (it would be an extreme long shot), it would be the 2nd District represented by Republican Ann Wagner. She will be opposed by Arthur Lieber on the Democratic side. Both were unopposed in their primaries, yet turnout exceeded 100,000 with that number about equally divided. Giving Wagner hope is the fact that since 1998, a Republican has generally won the general election with greater than 60% of the vote (except one instance (the open 2000 race when Todd Akin won with 55%). Personally, I put Wagner’s chances at about the 58-65% level.
Personally, I believe the single race to watch here may be the Third District held by Republican Blaine Leutkemeyer. Cook rates it +9 Republican (I rate it +6 GOP). For clarification purposes, Cook bases their rating on presidential results while I use both presidential results and past congressional race results. Like the 2nd, more than 100,000 voters turned out on primary day, but unlike the 2nd, the turnout was 80-20% in favor of Republicans.
Unseating Wagner and/or Leutkemeyer would be Herculean tasks in Missouri. Therefore, this writer is keeping the Missouri delegation as it currently stands and the running count as of this entry in the House is 234-199 for the Republican Party.
There are two questions of some interest on the Missouri ballot. The first is Amendment 3 which would tie teacher salaries, raises and retention decision to performance. That performance would be based on evaluations of teachers that would incorporate, in part, student performance on standardized tests. It would also bar this as an issue in collective bargaining. Obviously, teacher unions are against this measure. The measure makes intuitive sense as most other job pay increases are based on performance evaluations. One supposes that the relative degree of importance of student performance on tests in relation to the overall evaluation score is the most important consideration. Minnesota, under Pawlenty, adopted a similar program on a pilot basis which involved the participation of teacher unions in the development of evaluations. It was later expanded. This writer would support this measure provided a similar stance is taken in Missouri as it would only make acceptance less contentious.
The other question is Amendment 6 which would allow a 6 day early voting window where voters would have to vote in person in a county designated location. This legislative proposal preempted a signature referendum circulating that would have had more liberal criteria like increased locations in large counties. This writer has no qualms against early voting procedures provided there are adequate safeguards against potential fraud and the early voting period is not exceptionally long. The more conservative states are cutting back on times while liberal states, like Connecticut, are trying to extend the time periods. To me, the longer the period, the greater the risk of fraud. Six days in Missouri seems acceptable.
After this entry- no changes in the Senate, House, or among Governors.
Next up: Washington