Midterms 2018: Dems Take House, Voter Turnout Soars

Allyson Noenickx

Editor-in-Chief

Voter turnout was the deciding factor in many races on Tuesday, as voters showed up in droves to cast their ballot in the 2018 midterm election and Democrats reclaimed control of the House, flipping more than the 23 seats needed to gain the majority.

While exact turnout rates are still being determined, states like Florida and Virginia saw rates that were at least 20-year highs for midterm elections there. According to estimates by the New York Times, approximately 114 million votes were cast nationwide in U.S. House races in 2018, compared to 83 million in 2014. It is projected that 2018 may have been a historic year for voter participation.

In other highlights, former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) was elected to a U.S. Senate seat in Utah. A Mormon who long held residence in Utah, Romney will be expected to fill the shoes of the late Senator John McCain (R) as one of the most prominent Trump critics among Republicans in Congress.

In Texas, the popular Beto O’Rourke (D) came the closest anyone has come to defeating an incumbent U.S. Senator since 1978, earning over 48 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz (R) narrowly defended his seat, earning a second term in the Senate.

In Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D) called for a recount in his race for re-election against Gov. Rick Scott (R). The race was one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched Senate contests in the country. A final vote count is not expected until Saturday.

In Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito (R) were elected to a second consecutive term in the State House. Baker remains popular in Massachusetts and maintained a significant fundraising advantage over challenger Jay Gonzalez (D) throughout the campaign.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), weighing a potential 2020 White House run, was re-elected to a second term in the Senate. Other Massachusetts incumbents Attorney General Maura Healey (D), Secretary of State William Galvin (D), Auditor Suzanne Bump (D), and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg (D) also won re-election.  

This year’s hotly contested Massachusetts’ ballot question number one was was rejected, meaning that there will be no change in current laws relating to patient-to-nurse limits. The second ballot question, calling for creation of a citizens commission aimed at undoing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, was approved. Voters overwhelmingly approved the third question, voting by a 2-1 ratio to uphold the 2016 state law that bars discrimination against transgender people in such public places as restaurants, bars, and athletic facilities.

Photo courtesy of Washington Examiner

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