The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.
Programming Note: This is the last Digest of the year! We’ll see you again in January. Happy holidays!
● With 2020 coming to a close, the Daily Kos Elections team wants to thank you, our loyal readers, for your steadfast support during an incredibly trying year like no other. We remained as devoted as ever to covering the ins and outs of every campaign, but the coronavirus pandemic handed us several new assignments: keeping tabs on the ever-shifting election calendar, tracking the states’ many changes to voting procedures, and following the still-ongoing legal battles over safe and accessible voting.
We hope our coverage and analysis helped you make sense of the most tumultuous election cycle in our lifetimes, whether you’re an activist, a journalist, a campaign professional, or a political junkie—like we ourselves were before we were lucky enough to turn our hobbies into full-time jobs. We are still massive election nerds at heart and always will be, which is why we love getting to do what we do each and every day.
Now, with last month’s election in the books, we’re turning to our most important project of all: calculating the results of the presidential race for all 435 congressional districts. Given the big polling miss we saw this year, this kind of hard data is more crucial than ever to interpreting elections. Yet amazingly, most states do not provide this information—we have to crunch the numbers ourselves, and it’s a massive undertaking, but one we’re eager to tackle. We’ve made enormous progress so far, as you can see in the hexmap at the top of this post (you can find a larger version here).
We take great pride in making all of this data available for free, but it does cost us money to bring it to you. We need to pay for the servers that keep us humming even on the busiest election nights, the election results that greedy counties charge for, and the staff that publishes our newsletters, maps, and one-of-a-kind datasets day in and day out, without fail.
We only make this appeal once a year, so if you’ve found value in our work, we’d be extremely grateful if you could make a donation this holiday season to support us. Thank you so much, and we look forward to another election cycle with you.
Meanwhile, federal judges rejected a pair of Republican lawsuits on Thursday seeking to make it harder to vote in the Jan. 5 runoffs. One had sought to bar the use of drop boxes while the other wanted to limit the early processing of absentee ballots. A third suit that also wants to restrict the use of drop boxes remains pending.
Republicans responded to their losses by filing a fourth case, this one aimed at preventing anyone who voted in a Senate election in another state in November and subsequently moved to Georgia from voting in the runoffs. It also asks that all ballots cast by voters who newly registered after Nov. 3 be “segregate[d],” based on made-up fears about “double voting.”
On the polling front, a market research firm called Wick Research has released a survey showing Kelly Loeffler leading Warnock 50-48 and David Perdue ahead of Ossoff 51-47. Just before Election Day, Wick put out a batch of swing-state polling and confidently declared “that Donald Trump is going to win re-election,” in part based on a Georgia poll showing him up 49-47. In their new poll, they say respondents reported voting for Biden 50-48.
Finally, CNN reports that, all told, $477 million has been spent on the airwaves for the runoffs, with $212 million coming from the Democratic campaigns and their allies and $265 million from the Republican candidates and their supporters. That disparity, however, does not necessarily mean that the GOP has run more ads.
A separate analysis from AdImpact, which put total combined spending at $457 million, shows that Ossoff and Warnock have spent far more than Perdue and Loeffler: $159 million versus $92 million. Put another way, around three quarters of all Democratic ad dollars are coming from the campaigns themselves while only about a third of Republican spending has originated from the same source. As astute Digest readers know, candidates are entitled to much lower ad rates than outside groups, so it may well be that Democrats are airing more ads—and reaching more viewers—than Republicans.
We’ll naturally finish out with a couple of spots. A positive ad from Perdue features a group of women sitting around and saying vapid things about him (“He is so well-rounded, well-focused”), while retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, starring in a VoteVets ad, blasts Perdue for voting “to take health care away from 500,000 veterans.”
● CO-Sen: While Republicans just took a drubbing in last month’s Senate race in Colorado, several GOP politicians are already eyeing the state’s next contest in the hopes that the midterms bring them greater fortune. Colorado Politics’ Ernest Luning reports that Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who will be up for re-election then, has given “nearly every indication” that he’ll run for a third term, which, if he’s successful, would make him the first Centennial State senator to win three straight times since Republican Gordon Allott last did so in 1966.
The Republican most likely to try to deny Bennet that honor, says Luning, is a familiar one: Rep. Ken Buck, who just announced that he wouldn’t seek another term as chair of the Colorado GOP. Luning reports that Buck “hasn’t yet decided” whether to make another go for a seat in the Senate, which would be his third try if he does. CNN’s Manu Raju said later the same day that Luning’s report came out that Buck told him he wasn’t considering a bid, but we remain skeptical, both given his departure as party chair and his frequent ambitions for higher office.
Buck’s first attempt at the Senate came in 2010, when Bennet defeated him 48-46 in battle often cited as an example of a race that the GOP fumbled away by nominating an extremist tea partier. Four year later, Buck ran again, this time against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, but wound up bowing out after engineering a late switcheroo with then-Rep. Cory Gardner: Gardner announced a Senate bid with an endorsement from Buck, who in turn dropped down to run for Gardner’s House seat—with Gardner’s support.
Buck easily wound up securing Gardner’s conservative 4th District, while Gardner wound up narrowly beating Udall 48-46; of course, Gardner got thumped 54-44 by former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November. Those results are emblematic of Colorado’s steady leftward trend, which Buck would have to defy in order to finally obtain that brass senatorial ring. If he decides it’s not worth it, though, Luning suggests that Republicans could turn to Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, state Sen. John Cooke, state Rep. Patrick Neville, or 2016 nominee Darryl Glenn, who lost to Bennet 50-44. None, however, have spoken about their interest publicly.
● PA-Sen: Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, who just won re-election last month by a comfortable 56-44 margin, tells the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Jonathan Tamari that she is “thinking about” a Senate bid but cautioned that she was still “very early” in her deliberations. Pennsylvania’s Class 3 Senate seat will be open in 2022 because Republican Sen. Pat Toomey previously announced his retirement.
Separately, Tamari reports that wealthy socialite Carla Sands is considering a bid. Sands, a major GOP donor, was appointed to serve as U.S. ambassador to Denmark by Donald Trump in 2017.
● NM-01: Now that Joe Biden has formally announced his selection of Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, the jockeying to succeed her in the event of her confirmation is already underway. The important thing to note, though, is that both the Democratic and Republican nominees in a special election will be chosen by party leaders, not by voters in a primary, so any appeals candidates might make are directed solely toward a very small electorate whose motivations are often unclear.
Nonetheless, the pitches have begun. State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, who took third with 21% in the 2018 primary that Haaland won when the 1st District was last open, says she’s “definitely thinking about” another run. Other Democrats who have expressed interest are state Auditor Brian Colon; state Reps. Melanie Stansbury and Javier Martinez; Victor Reyes, who serves as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s legislative director; and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, who ran in 2018 but dropped out a week before the primary and endorsed Haaland.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s 2018 campaign manager also said that her old boss was thinking about running and would “make her decision public in the coming days.” Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, whose 26% earned him second place in the 2018 primary for this seat, is “rumored” to be considering, reports Tony Raap of the Santa Fe New Mexican, but he hasn’t spoken publicly yet.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, who is up for re-election next year, didn’t quite rule out a campaign, but he also sounded unlikely to go for it. Keller said in a statement that, while he was “flattered lots of folks have asked” about a run for Congress, “Being the mayor of my hometown means that I get to dig in and make daily impact – especially in this time of crisis when leadership is so needed. I’m not sure about that trade.”
Joe Monahan, the longtime publisher of a local tipsheet, mentions several more potential names on the Democratic side: New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs head Lynn Trujillo, Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover, state Sen. Linda Lopez, state Rep. Moe Maestas, and state Rep. Derrick Lente.
For Republicans, the options are far fewer, and understandably so: According to new calculations from Daily Kos Elections, the 1st District went for Joe Biden 60-37 in November, the bluest it’s ever been since its creation in more or less its present form 40 years ago. Still, Michelle Garcia Holmes, who got blasted 58-42 by Haaland last month, declared, “[A]bsolutely I will seek the nomination if it opens.” Conservative talk radio host Eddy Aragon, who just lost a bid for state party chair to incumbent Steve Pearce, also said he’d consider.
The GOP’s best bet would likely be former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, who just lost this year’s Senate race by a surprisingly close 52-46 margin, but the Albuquerque Journal writes that “a GOP source indicated Ronchetti would not be running.” We may not have seen the last of Ronchetti, though, as Monahan says that he “may want to save his last bullet for the 2022 Governor’s race.”
TX-SD-30: State Rep. Drew Springer defeated salon owner Shelley Luther 56-44 in the runoff for this safely red seat in North Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott not only endorsed Springer, his campaign also spent $250,000 to promote him and run an anti-Luther ad. Abbott’s intervention wasn’t a surprise, though: Luther, who gained notoriety and admiration among conservatives when she was arrested earlier this year for defying the state’s COVID-19 restrictions to keep her Dallas-area establishment open, denounced Abbott in September as “our tyrant governor [who] has embarrassed us completely.”
Starting next year, Republicans will have an 18-13 majority in the state Senate.
● Pres-by-CD: We’re rolling out seven states for our project to calculate the 2020 presidential results for all 435 congressional districts nationwide: Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, and Rhode Island. You can find our complete data set here, which we’re updating continuously as the precinct-level election returns we need for our calculations become available.
● Colorado: The Centennial State supported Joe Biden 55-42 four years after it backed Hillary Clinton 48-43, making it the most lopsided presidential contest in Colorado since 1984, when Ronald Reagan won 63-35. It was also the first time Democrats carried the state by double digits since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide, though Biden’s improvement on Clinton numbers was due at least in part to the reduced appeal of third-party candidates.
On the surface, 2020’s map looks similar to 2016’s: Biden took the same four congressional districts that Clinton won in 2016, while Trump again carried the remaining three seats, and as before, all the Biden/Clinton districts were won by Democrats while Republicans prevailed on all of Trump’s turf. But many shifts lurk just below. (Click here for of our map.)
We’ll start with a look at the GOP-held 3rd District in the western part of the state, where Qanon defender Lauren Boebert ousted Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in a June primary shocker and ultimately prevailed in the general election. Multiple polls showed Trump in danger of losing the district, and Democrats hoped that Republican problems at the top of the ticket, as well Boebert’s toxic views and multiple run-ins with law enforcement, would give former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush an opening. However, while Trump’s 52-46 performance was considerably closer than his 52-40 showing last time, it was still enough for Boebert to win by a similar 51-45 margin.
Trump took his two other districts by double digits, though his margin in both also declined from 2016. Rep. Ken Buck’s 4th District in eastern Colorado and the Denver exurbs supported Trump 57-41 after backing him 57-34 four years earlier. Meanwhile, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s 5th District in the Colorado Springs area went for Trump 55-42 compared to 57-33 in 2016.
We’ll turn next to the four Biden constituencies, the closest of which he won by 19 points. That was the 6th District in Aurora and Denver’s southern suburbs, which was a major battleground for much of the decade, with Barack Obama carrying it 52-47 in 2012. The district supported Clinton by a larger 50-41 while still re-electing GOP Rep. Mike Coffman that year, but local Republicans took a huge beating over the following two cycles. Democrat Jason Crow ousted Coffman 54-43 in 2018 and won without any trouble this year as Biden was prevailing by a hefty 58-39 margin. (Coffman himself managed to land on his feet in 2019 by winning a tight race for mayor of Aurora.)
Crow’s seat has in fact almost caught up with the neighboring 7th District, which began veering sharply to the left more than 10 years ago. This constituency, which includes the communities of Arvada, Westminster, and Lakewood (the home of the real-life Casa Bonita, Eric Cartman’s favorite restaurant on South Park), was competitive territory when Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter first was elected in 2006, but he hasn’t faced serious opposition since 2010. The district did backtrack a bit, going from 56-41 Obama to 51-39 Clinton, but Biden took it 60-37 this time.
The areas making up the 1st and 2nd Districts were reliably blue even when Republicans were dominant in the state, and they remain so today. Rep. Diana DeGette’s Denver-based 1st District went for Biden 76-22, an increase from Clinton’s 69-23. Rep. Joe Neguse’s Boulder area 2nd District, meanwhile, supported Biden 64-34 compared to 56-35 Clinton.
Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the legislature, but they won’t be the ones drawing the new maps. Voters approved two independent redistricting commissions, one for Congress and one for the state legislature, in 2018.
● Hawaii: The Aloha State went for Joe Biden 64-34 after backing Hillary Clinton 62-30, which actually made Hawaii the state where Donald Trump’s margin improved the most compared to four years earlier. That shift didn’t matter much in either of the state’s very blue congressional districts, though, and Biden carried them each 64-34. The seats voted almost identically in 2016 as well, with Clinton winning the 1st 63-31 and the 2nd 61-30, respectively. A bipartisan commission will draw new lines next year, though it would be a surprise if the boundaries changed much. (Click here for our map.)
Despite both Democratic presidential candidates’ wide victories, it wasn’t that long ago that the 1st District, which includes most of Honolulu, was a major battleground. Republican Charles Djou won the seat in a 2010 special election with just 40% of the vote thanks to a state law that required all the candidates to run on one ballot in one single round of voting, with no primary or runoff. Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who had edged out fellow Democrat Ed Case for second, flipped the seat back that fall, however, by unseating Djou 53-47.
But Djou came close to winning back the district in 2014 after Hanabusa left to unsuccessfully challenge appointed Sen. Brian Schatz in the primary. Major outside groups on both sides spent a serious amount of money in the contest, but Democratic state Rep. Mark Takai held on 52-48 in the midst of another GOP wave.
Takai announced in 2016 that his battle with pancreatic cancer would prevent him from running for re-election. Hanabusa, who earned Takai’s endorsement shortly before he died that summer, went on to win back her old seat with minimal opposition but left again in 2018 to launch an ultimately failed primary bid against Gov. David Ige. This time the primary winner was Case, who had no trouble in the general election that year or this one.
By contrast, the more rural 2nd District, which includes the remainder of Honolulu as well as Hawaii’s other islands (known locally as the “Neighbor Islands”), has been in Democratic hands for decades. Indeed, one of its former representatives is Case, who was elected here in a 2002 special but gave up the seat four years later to wage an unsuccessful primary bid against Sen. Daniel Akaka.
This year, state Sen. Kai Kahele won the primary and general elections to replace Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who left to run for president. Kahele had assembled a serious campaign operation to take on Gabbard, who spent months keeping local politicians guessing if she’d seek re-election, so he had a major head start over potential primary foes when she finally decided to call it quits and no one of note bothered to challenge him.
● Idaho: Idaho once again proved itself as one of the reddest states in the nation this year: As in 2016, it gave Donald Trump his fifth-best margin in the country in November. But without the presence of conservative independent Evan McMullin on the ballot this time, the contours of the 2020 elections looked different, especially when drilling down to the congressional district level.
Four years ago, Idaho was McMullin’s second-strongest state after Utah, thanks to the large Mormon population in the state’s southeastern corner along the Utah border. That region is contained in the 2nd Congressional District, which Trump won 54-30, with McMullin taking 9% and Libertarian Gary Johnson 4. This time, he carried it 60-37, as many once-squeamish Mormon voters returned to the Republican fold.
McMullin’s impact was considerably smaller in the 1st District, which runs along Idaho’s western border all the way up through the northern panhandle. In 2016, Trump won the 1st 64-25, while McMullin and Johnson won 4% apiece; this year, Trump dominated the district 67-30. Needless to say, both of the state’s Republican members of the House, 1st District Rep. Russ Fulcher and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson, easily won re-election. (Click here for our map.)
Idaho’s district boundaries have remained remarkably stable for a long time, and there’s no sign that they’ll shift much as we head into the next round of redistricting. Though Republicans control every branch of state government, they won’t be in charge of producing new maps. Instead, the constitution hands authority to an independent bipartisan commission evenly divided between the two parties, with a two-thirds majority required to pass any plans. Naturally, Republicans have tried to pass an amendment that would stack the commission in their favor, but they haven’t been successful yet.
● Maryland: The Old Line State backed Joe Biden 66-33 after supporting Hillary Clinton 61-34 four years before, and Biden carried seven of Maryland’s eight congressional districts by double digits just as Clinton did. Donald Trump, meanwhile, had no trouble taking the conservative 1st District. (Click here for our map.)
Biden was able to exceed 60% of the vote in every seat he won. The closest district both in 2020 and 2016 was Democratic Rep. David Trone’s 6th District, which includes part of western Maryland and Montgomery County, though it was hardly tight: This suburban seat went for Biden 61-38, compared to 55-40 Clinton.
The 6th did feature an unexpectedly competitive race during the 2014 GOP wave when then-Democratic Rep. John Delaney turned Republican Dan Bongino (who went on to run for Congress in Florida before becoming a far-right social media influencer) by a single point. It seems that experience convinced Delaney he represented a “Red District,” as he tweeted during his extremely ill-fated presidential bid, but Team Blue hasn’t had any trouble holding it in the three elections since.
The lone Republican district, Rep. Andy Harris’ 1st, includes the Eastern Shore and Baltimore exurbs. Trump won 59-39, a dropoff from his 62-33 victory, but still by no means close. Harris himself had narrowly lost the previous version of this seat in 2008 to Democrat Frank Kratovil, but he came back and unseated Kratovil 54-42 in the 2010 GOP wave. Democratic mapmakers opted to make this seat more conservative in order to strengthen the party’s candidates in the rest of the state (even though they could have easily made it much bluer had they had the courage), and Harris has had no trouble over the ensuing decade.
Maryland was one of the few states where Democrats had control of the redistricting process last time, and the status quo is likely to persist. While Republican Gov. Larry Hogan can veto any maps he doesn’t like, Democrats have more than enough members in both chambers to override him.
● Minnesota: Republicans hoped that this would be the year they captured Minnesota’s electoral votes for the first time since Richard Nixon in his 1972 landslide, but it was not to be. Joe Biden won it 52-45 four years after Hillary Clinton took it by a tight 47-45 margin, though this is likely another state where Democrats benefited from a decline in third-party voting.
Biden, who improved on Clinton’s margin in all eight seats, also flipped the 2nd District in the Twin Cities suburbs, while Donald Trump again won four other constituencies. The news wasn’t all good for Team Blue, though, as longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson badly lost re-election in the 7th District, which was Trump’s best seat in the state. (You can our map here.)
We’ll start with the 2nd, which was very close in the prior two presidential contests: Barack Obama took it by an extremely narrow 49.07-49.01 (a margin of 226 votes), while Trump won it 47-45 in 2016. The area swung left in 2018, though, as Democrat Angie Craig unseated freshman Republican Rep. Jason Lewis 53-47 two years after losing an open seat contest to him.
2020 was another good year for Team Blue, though the area still has a long way to go before Democrats can feel safe here: Biden took the 2nd 52-46, while Craig held off Republican Tyler Kistner by a smaller 48-46 in a contest that was briefly postponed following the death of Legal Marijuana Party Now candidate Adam Weeks.
The neighboring 3rd District also began the decade as a swing seat that Obama took only 50-49, but Trump’s toxicity with well-educated suburbanites has radically altered its electoral landscape. Clinton won 51-41 here in 2016, and two years later, Democrat Dean Phillips ousted Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen 56-44. The seat got worse for Republicans this year, with Biden winning in a 59-39 landslide as Phillips turned in another 56-44 victory.
The 4th and 5th Districts have long been Team Blue’s strongest areas in Minnesota, and that did not change this year. Rep. Betty McCollum’s 4th District in St. Paul backed Biden 68-30, compared to 62-31 for Clinton. Fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 5th District in Minneapolis, meanwhile, supported Biden 80-18 four years after going for Clinton 74-18.
We’ll turn now to the four Trump seats, starting with the GOP’s pickup in the 7th District. This slice of rural western Minnesota has long been red turf, with Mitt Romney taking it 54-44, but it handed Peterson decisive wins as recently as 2014, even amidst the GOP wave. That all began to change in 2016, however, when Trump carried the district 62-31 and Peterson only held off an underfunded Republican named Dave Hughes 52-47.
A similar Peterson performance two years later in a rematch with Hughes served as a warning sign, especially when Republicans landed a far stronger nominee in former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach for 2020. This time, Trump took the 7th District 64-34, only a slightly smaller margin than four years earlier and more than enough to power Fischbach to a strong 53-40 victory over the 15-term incumbent.
Republicans also retained their hold on two other seats that had swung from Obama to Trump in 2016 and elected GOP members two years later. The 1st District in the southern part of the state went from 50-48 Obama to 53-38 Trump. It swung back the following cycle, when Democratic Rep. Tim Walz left two years later to wage a successful bid for governor, and Republican Jim Hagedorn beat Democrat Dan Feehan in a very close 50.1-49.7 contest.
Feehan sought a rematch this year, and Democrats were encouraged by polls showing Biden in position to return this district to the blue corner. However, while Trump’s 54-44 showing wasn’t quite as strong as it was four years ago, it was enough for Hagedorn to prevail 49-46.
The 8th District, located in the Iron Range in the northeastern corner of the state, was a reliably blue area for decades, but those days are long gone. The seat swung from 52-46 Obama to 54-39 Trump in 2016, and Trump took it by an only slightly smaller 56-42 this time. Republican Pete Stauber won the 2018 race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan 51-45 and prevailed 57-38 this year.
The final seat in Minnesota is the 6th District in the northern Twin Cities exurbs, a longtime Republican bastion held by NRCC chair Tom Emmer. The district backed Trump 59-39 this year, a smaller margin than his 59-33 showing in 2016, but still better for Team Red than Romney’s 56-42 performance.
Neither party has enjoyed control of the redistricting process in decades, and courts have had to draw boundaries after the legislature and governor failed to agree on a map. Democrats control the governor’s office and the state House while Republicans have the Senate, so we’re likely in for another deadlock this time.
● Oregon: The Beaver State backed Joe Biden 57-41, which was a bit larger than Hillary Clinton’s still convincing 52-41 showing from four years ago, and he improved on Clinton’s margin in all five congressional districts. Biden, who likely benefited from a decline in third party voting, also took the same four congressional districts Clinton won, and he made important gains in the competitive 4th District. (You can find our map here.)
This seat, which includes the southern Willamette Valley and Oregon’s coast, was the closest of any of the nation’s 435 congressional districts four years ago, having supported Clinton 46.1-46.0—a margin of 554 votes. Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, who was first elected in 1986, had never failed to win re-election by double digits, but he faced his first well-funded challenge in decades this time from former Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos. Democrats spent heavily late in the game to protect DeFazio, who won 52-46. Biden won by a smaller 51-47 spread, but it was a veritable landslide compared to 2016.
Biden also took the 5th District 54-44, an improvement on Clinton’s 48-44 win in this Salem-area seat. However, Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader ran a little behind the top of the ticket, winning his seventh term 52-45 in a contest that attracted no serious outside spending. Indeed, this was the first time Schrader had failed to win re-election by double digits since the 2010 GOP wave, when he turned back a credible foe 51-46.
Biden’s two strongest showings were, unsurprisingly, in the Portland area’s 1st and 3rd District, which are also held by Democrats in the House. Biden took Rep. Suzanne Bonamici’s 1st District in the western Portland suburbs and North Coast 63-34, a move to the left from Clinton’s 57-35 win. Biden also dominated in Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s Portland-based 3rd District, winning it 74-23 compared to 71-22 for Clinton.
Trump had no trouble again carrying the 2nd District in rural eastern Oregon, which has long been the GOP’s best area of the state, though his 56-42 showing was a bit weaker than his 57-36 performance in 2016. It didn’t make much of a difference for Cliff Bentz, though, who easily won the race to succeed his fellow Republican, retiring Rep. Greg Walden, 60-37.
A decade ago, Oregon’s Democratic governor and state Senate reached a compromise with the state House, which was evenly split between the two parties, to pass a congressional map that made only small changes from the one in use in the 2000s. This time, though, Democrats have full control of state government.
Oregon’s GOP legislators are infamous for using walkouts to stop the Democratic majority from passing progressive legislation, but if they obstruct redistricting, newly-elected Democratic Secretary of State Shemia Fagan would take over the process for legislative lines, while congressional maps would likely get kicked to the courts.
● Rhode Island: This may be the last time we ever crunch presidential election results by congressional district for Rhode Island, because the Ocean State is on track to lose a seat when reapportionment data from the 2020 census is released, turning it into an at-large jurisdiction like fellow New England state Vermont.
For now, we still have two districts to deal with, and the results show a continuation of a long-standing pattern: The 1st Congressional District, which occupies the eastern slice of Rhode Island and contains a slightly larger portion of the capital of Providence, was once again considerably bluer than the 2nd District in the western half of the state.
The 1st, represented by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, went for Joe Biden 64-35 after backing Hillary Clinton 61-35 in 2016, while the 2nd, occupied by Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, supported Biden by a smaller 56-43 margin. That, however, was a bigger improvement on Clinton’s 51-44 win four years ago. (Click here for a full-size version of our map of these results.)
Both members of Congress easily won re-election—Cicilline didn’t even face a Republican opponent. However, if they were to face off in a 2022 primary, the vocally progressive Cicilline would likely have the advantage over the more conservative Langevin, who describes himself as “pro-life.” Langevin may therefore prefer a different race, such as the open-seat contest for governor, which might host a more crowded primary that could allow someone with a profile like his to win with just a plurality.