November 2, 2018

Road to the Elections: Races to Watch

Holland & Knight Alert
Kathryn Hazeem Lehman

Holland & Knight's Public Policy & Regulation Group has laid out the races to watch for the Senate, House and governors sorted in order of poll closing time. Here is what you should keep an eye on:


In order for the Democrats to control the Senate, they need to get to 51 seats (Independents are included in the Democratic total) which means they need to hold ALL their contested seats in states won by President Donald Trump in 2016: Indiana, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia and Montana. In addition, they will need to flip two of the four Republican seats: Arizona, Tennessee, Texas or Nevada.

Republicans only need 50 seats to control the Senate since Vice President Mike Pence would be the 51st vote in event of a tie.


The vast majority of the contested seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are currently held by Republicans. As of Nov. 1, 2018, Real Clear Politics breaks the House down as follows:

  • D seats – 203
  • R seats – 198
  • Toss-ups – 34

Key states to watch on election night are:

  • New Jersey (moderate Republicans retiring)
  • Pennsylvania (redistricting favors Democrats)
  • Virginia (Republican seats in the toss-up column that SHOULD have been put away by now)
  • Minnesota (2 Democratic seats and 2 Republican seats in danger)
  • California (retirements and district demographic changes)


Redistricting for the House of Representatives will take place in 2022. Although state legislators have a role in drawing congressional district lines, in most states the governor has to approve those lines. Currently, 33 state houses are controlled by Republicans, 16 by Democrats and one Independent.

2018 Senate Races

  • Current Composition: 51 Republicans / 49 Democrats/Independents
  • There are 35 Senate seats up for election (9 R / 26 D), with 6 races rated as "toss-up"
  • There are 65 seats not up for election in 2018 (42 R / 23 D)

An in-depth look of the Senate races is available here.

2018 House Races

  • Democrats need to win a net 23 seats to gain a majority in the House
  • 57 Republican seats could flip to Democratic
  • 5 Democratic seats could flip to Republican

An in-depth look of the House races is available here.

2018 Gubernatorial Races

  • Current Composition: 33 Republicans / 16 Democrats / 1 Independent
  • There are 36 seats up for election (26 R / 9 D / 1 I), with 9 races rated as "toss-up"

An in-depth look of the gubernatorial races is available here.

A PDF of the entire article with the in-depth charts included is available on Holland & Knight's website

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult competent legal counsel.

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