Diary

US Senate -- Wait, Wall, Wave or Wipeout [Updated 11/03/2014]

Wait, Wall, Wave, or Wipeout

Come election day, there is likely to be one of four different scenarios that we can point to: Wait, Wall, Wave, or Wipeout.

Hour by hour, this diary sets out which races to watch and when on election night.

Wait — Two states in particular, Georgia and Louisiana may not be decided in November.  If that happens then we may have to wait to see which of the other three scenarios are really going to take place.  A runoff in LA would be in December; for Georgia, in January.

Wall — If the Democrats hold the Senate (probably through a combination of a win in NC+GA) then it will be one of the worst overall performances on record for the Republican party given the extremely favorable map and base.  It will be a triumph for the Democratic turn out machine as well.  It may also point out the Libertarian candidates as spoilers since we expect 1 to 3% in each state to go to the Libertarian.

Wave — The most likely scenario is actually a wave election in favor of the Republicans.  Several articles have been written that discuss how a midterm same-party-as-president-incumbent’s vote percentage is generally tied to the president’s approval rating within a given state.  With the number of Democrats running red states and Obama’s horrible standing in said states, Republicans should be cruising to control by holding the states they hold now and winning WV, SD, NC, MT, AR, and LA.

Wipeout — A wipeout will occur if the Republicans get a gain of +8 or +9 versus the +6 that they need.  While you may think this is impossible trust me when I say it isn’t.  I’ve lived through it from the other side of things.  When waves start moving they can land in odd places.  In fact, while most people put the top of the Republican gains at +9, I think the actual top is something like +11.  Nearly impossible to make it to 11, but not impossible.

7:00 PM ET

Kentucky — The Kentucky Senate race was seen up until a few weeks ago as a tossup race. Polls have moved to McConnell since then.  If this is a quick call, then the Republicans are probably in good shape. If this continues to go “too close to call” for a couple of hours then the Republicans are going to be in a bit of trouble.

Georgia — The polls close in Georgia.  If this race is called early then it’s good news for  the Republican  (Wave or Wipeout ahead) or the Democrat (possible Wall ahead).  If it extends and especially if the Libertarian has 5% of the vote or more then we could be headed for a “Wait” situation.

Virginia — The last race for me to add to this list since it has only come to life recently.  Ed Gillespie is riding a lot of momentum.  If he had another week, I have no doubt he would win.  If he starts looking like a winner early on Tuesday then the GOP is heading for a Wipeout win scenario.

7:30 PM ET

West Virginia — Anything other than a quick call for the Republican will indicate that the Democrats are stronger than expected and likely mean that the Democrat incumbents have a chance to hold on in states like LA, AR, and NC.

North Carolina — If the Democrats have any chance of a Wall scenario, this is one they have to win.  If this moves strongly for the Republicans (not just getting a lead, but where those votes come from), then we are probably looking at a Wave at least and perhaps a Wipeout.  If it’s close, but undecided then it could lead us anywhere.

8:00 PM ET

Lots of states close at 8 PM so let’s look at the most interesting ones.

New Hampshire — If Scott Brown looks like he will win (again based on where votes are coming more so than the early totals), then we are headed to a Wipeout.  If it’s called early for Shaheen then perhaps it’s a Wall.  If it’s close moving forward then probably a Wave.

Kansas — Again, one of the three best places for the Dems to hold (along with GA and NC).  If it goes early for the Democrat-running-as-Independent Greg Orman then that is good news for the Democrats and a Wall scenario.  If it’s a quick call for [mc_name name=’Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000307′ ] then it’s a Wave for sure.  I wouldn’t take a Republican win in Kansas as a sign of a Wipeout though.

South Dakota — The polls only partially close in SD so you may have to wait until 9 PM for this, but  this should go to the Republicans.  If this looks too close to call after, say 30% of the votes are in then the GOP may be having trouble in other states.

Illinois — While I doubt the Illinois Senate candidate has a chance,  if the Illinois gubernatorial candidate looks like a winner then you could be seeing a Wipeout scenario in other states.

8:30 PM ET

Arkansas — Arkansas is needed for either a Wave or a Wipeout scenario.  By the time you are watching this, you should have a pretty good idea from the NC, GA, NH, and KS races where things are going.  If this gets called early for the Republicans and the trend was already positive for Republicans then Wipeout starts looking more likely.

9:00 PM ET

Minnesota/Michigan — These should both easily go to the Democrats. Even in a Wipeout scenario, it would be hard to believe that one of these would flip, but Wipeouts usually do bring one state into the fold that no one really expects (MT going Democrat a few years back for example).  If this were to happen, I think it would be in Minnesota.  If both of these are too close to call early then it’s probably a Wipeout.  If they go Democratic early then it could be a Wall scenario.

Louisiana — Given that there are two Republicans on the ballot who are polling above 10%, it’s unlikely that this will be decided in November.  If Republicans coalesce around [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001075′ ] though and this gets called for the Republicans early then it could be a Wipeout.  If Landrieu has a lead then it could lead towards Wall, but most likely this state will just make us Wait.

Colorado — Another state that has been Deep Purple lately.  Gardner (R) has led most of the recent polls.  If he comes out with an early win then we are definitely seeing a Wipeout scenario.  If he wins with a large lead then it’s likely that the Republicans are winning all of or most of the close states we’ve talked about.

New Mexico — I’ll list it here, but it’s also almost certainly a Democratic win.  More than likely it will be a split win … Republican Governor/Democratic Senator.  The polls are closing into a tighter range and if it’s really a wave then New Mexico could be the “extra” seat that no one foresaw going to the GOP.  Obviously, if this falls then we are looking at a wipeout.

10:00 PM ET

Iowa — The Republicans feel that this is a great opportunity to take this seat.  If it’s already a Wipeout then Iowa will go quickly to the Republicans.  If it’s already a Wall (NC, KS, GA) then this may go down to the wire.

Midnight ET

Alaska — Several years back, I sat up until almost 4 AM waiting for a call on Alaska that didn’t come for several days after the election.  If the GOP has won a net of +5 then it might be time to sit up and wait on the news.  If they are over six or under five then don’t bother.  Go to bed and read about in the morning.  Regardless of who wins, this one will take a while to count.