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Editor’s Note: With so much heat rather than light in the media world today, Liberty Nation presents the following series on the crucial midterm elections that will be taking place. These elections will likely determine the course of the Trump presidency and as such should be looked at with in-depth analysis. Thus, each week LN author Graham Noble will be giving our readers a state-by-state look at the upcoming elections. This week, he covers House and Senate Races in Illinois and Indiana.
Since 1992, the state of Illinois has gone to the Democratic presidential candidate or incumbent in every general election. Though Illinois voters were less enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton than they were about Barack Obama, Clinton did win the state’s 20 electoral votes in 2016 with 55.8% compared to Donald Trump’s 38.8%. In 2008, Obama carried Indiana by one percentage point but the state has otherwise gone to the Republican in every general election since 1968. Trump took 56.8% of the vote in 2016, with Clinton getting 37.9%.
Illinois is represented in the United States Senate by two Democrats, Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Durbin’s current term runs until January 2021 and Duckworth’s until January 2023. Like so many states, Illinois is divided between rural Republican areas and the larger urban centers, dominated by Democrats. Of the state’s 18 congressional districts, seven are represented by Republicans and 11 by Democrats.
The state offers no truly competitive races in the November midterms. Both Democrats and Republicans will be defending reasonably safe seats. The only two variables, here, are the historical trend of the party that controls the White House doing badly in the midterms and the Trump economy. Democrats will be hoping that their ‘blue wave’ materializes and, perhaps, extends to the red districts of Illinois. Republicans will be looking for good economic news and optimism to sway some Democrat districts their way. Although it would probably not be wise to wager that any Illinois House seats will flip, the Republicans can certainly point to an improving economy in a state that relies heavily on farming, while also talking about law and order in the crime-ravaged, Democrat-run urban districts.
Indiana has one Republican Senator, Todd Young, and one Democratic Senator, Joe Donnelly. Young will not be running for re-election until 2022 but Donnelly faces a re-election race in November. According to Politico, Republicans view Donnelly’s seat as a good opportunity. In January, CNN also projected a likely flip for Republicans. Possible challengers to the Democrat are lining up – among them, two Republican Representatives, Todd Rokita, who currently represents the state’s 4th district and Luke Messer of the 6th district. State Representative Mike Braun is another challenger. Rokita is running strong in Republican primary polls.
From his own party, Donnelly faces no serious primary challenge. In the Senate, he has voted against the Republican agenda on most issues, including tax reform. His approval rating has dropped drastically among independents.
None of Indiana’s House races are seen, by many forecasters, as particularly challenging but in this deeply red farming state – and in the face of a strengthening economy – the Republican Party may see an opportunity. Of the state’s nine congressional districts, just two are currently represented by Democrats. André Carson has represented the 7th district – which includes Indianapolis – since 2008 and Peter Visclosky represents the 1st district, which includes Gary. Certainly, however, neither of these two seats would be easy flips for Republicans. The two long-serving Democratic Representatives will likely hold on.
Midterm Election Watch predicts the Republicans will take Donnelly’s Senate seat in Indiana with no other party switches in any of the November contests for these two states.
Join us next week as our series focuses on House and Senate Races in Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky.