- Tuesday’s midterm elections saw Republicans suffer some significant losses in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – states Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.
- But Florida and Ohio stayed solidly red, highlighting a battleground state that the Democrats will need to focus on if they want to win the 2020 presidential elections.
Tuesday’s midterm elections saw many gains for the Democrats, but it was far from the “blue wave” they hoped could win them back both the House and Senate.
With the results now in, it has become clear that the Democrats didn’t break through enough to win high-profile races in Florida and Ohio, where Republicans maintained control of the governor’s mansions and in the Sunshine State’s closely watched US Senate race.
Both states swung for President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but turned red for Trump in 2016.
On Tuesday, Democrats gained two congressional districts in Florida, but overall Republicans won in the state, 14 districts to 13, and held onto to both the Senate seat and the governorship.
In Ohio, the Republicans swept the Congressional districts 11-4 and held onto the governorship as well. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the incumbent Democrat, held onto his seat.
Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were a different story.
The Democrats flipped both governorships in both Wisconsin and Michigan and made huge gains in the House in Pennsylvania and Iowa.
Experts are already beginning to discuss just why the Democrat message didn’t resonate in Florida and Ohio.
In Ohio, the answer may be found in the governor’s race. Republican Governor-elect Mike DeWine focused on jobs and the economy, while his Democratic challenger focused on healthcare.
Trump’s star power also may have lent a helping hand to the Republican candidates. Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Trump’s two visits to the state in the last month helped rally supporters to get out and vote for DeWine.
“Whenever we seen him come into a state, he always gets out the vote. People love those rallies,” she said.
But University of Dayton Professor Christopher Devine told the Dayton Daily News that DeWine also made it clear that he “is not a big fan of Trump,” which he said should be an “important lesson” for the Republicans. John Kasich, the state’s current Republican governor, has been one of the country’s most prominent intraparty critics of Trump.
In Florida, it seems both parties had the same strategy, but it played out with vastly different results.
Democrats in the state focused on energizing their base of diverse, urban voters, while Republicans appealed to the older, white voter. Turnout shows so far though that the districts Democrats focused on actually underperformed compared to the last midterm elections while the typically red districts saw almost double-digit increases.
One Democratic pollster says the party needs to do more research about how to win voters over for the next election cycle if they hope to win the state.
“Rather than starting two months out, the party needs to get serious about investing resources in research and outreach two years out if they ever hope to slay the Republican colossus and flip Florida blue,” Ferand Amandi told Politico.