On election night, things were looking worse than bad for Republicans. They looked awful. So much so that I wrote it was possible that the House Democrats might pick up an historic 73-member majority in the fall elections.
I still think that’s a possibility, but after the late returns a week later, that likelihood appears more remote. Seventy-three seats is a possibility, but the primary returns with a week’s worth of late ballots suggests the majority will be in the range of 63-69 seats, depending on how things shake out.
Here is a run down of the seats that are most likely to flip or be in play this fall.
- 5th LD: Rep. Paul Graves is one of the brightest members of the legislature. He is down 8 points, however. Former legislator Chad Magendanz is down 7.
- 6th LD: This reasonably solid Republican district is now squarely a toss-up with both races effectively tied in combined partisan results.
- 10th LD: The 10th’s Rep. Norma Smith is well liked and hard working. She’s got a strong bio and strong connections to the community. Yet, she’s down a point and her seat mate Dave Hayes is down 5.5 points.
- 12th: Independent candidate Ann Diamond is still in the mix but her chances appear to have narrowed. So, while I don’t count this as a Dem pickup, don’t count her out.
- 17th LD: Rep. Vicki Kraft is under 50%, but close.
- 18th LD: Incumbent Rep. Brandon Vick is now up almost 4 points. That’ll be close still and a possible Dem pickup given how much money will go into that district. The Democratic leads in the other race by 4 points.
- 19th LD: Rep. Jim Walsh is now up 134 votes – not much in a district where his Democratic seat mate leads by 16% over the combined Republican vote.
- 25th LD: No shift really: one race has a Dem safely in the lead, and the other has a chunk of independent voters that will decide this race.
- 26th LD: Combined Republican votes in these two seats have R’s with 51% and 53%. I’d bet Rep. Caldier is safe with 53% but I’d expect some of the women who voted for Rep. Jesse Young’s primary opponent to shift support to Young’s general election opponent. Young is in a tough race.
- 28th LD: Incumbent Dick Muri is down 6.5%.
- 30th LD: Rep. Linda Kochmar trails by 18 points.
- 35th LD: One Republican incumbent is up 5 points, one is down 1.5%. One is likely safe, and one is going to be tough.
- 39th LD: Both seats are no longer close, and are likely to remain in Republican control.
- 42nd LD: Democrats now lead in two Republican held seats with 50.7% and 52.2%. It’ll be tight here.
- 44th LD: Rep. Mark Harmsworth remains down 6.5%.
- 47th LD: Rep. Mark Hargrove has 49.13%. Tight against a combined Democratic vote.
So, if Democrats win the races they can reasonably be expected to win based on the primary and what we might expect about turnout in the fall, then they pick up 13 more, new members. If things go strongly – not stupidly positive, from their view, but reasonably optimistic – then Democrats could potentially pick up 19 seats. That’s not a stretch, actually, but it’s not the 23 I thought possible just one week ago.