The very first returns that have the chance of being reported on will come out of Indiana and Kentucky. Here, parts of the state close their polls at 6:00 pm EST. As a result, it is possible for some media outlets to report the results of some of the first House races. But it is also possible, in fact likely, that the results in a few of those congressional districts where the polls do close, will be too close to call.
But sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 pm look at Indiana-2 and 9, and Kentucky-3 and 6.
In Indiana’s 9th CD, a loss by incumbent Democrat Baron Hill will be a sign that Republicans are indeed on track to take the House and see significant gains across the board.
If the races in Indiana‘s 2nd district and Kentucky’s 3rd, are too close to call, rest assured that that this will indeed be a wave election. But if Democrat incumbents Joe Donnelly and John Yarmuth actually lose, to their Republican opponents, Jackie Walorski and Todd Lally, you can take it as a sign that the 2010 midterms are going to be a tsunami that will produce historic gains for the Republicans that approach 70 seats.
After 7:00 pm EST, the races that will act as barometers and need to be watched include:
The GOP will be on track for 50 or more seats with Republicans wins in the Kentucky Senate race with Rand Paul, in addition to the following House races;
South Carolina-5 (Mick Mulvaney-R over John Spratt-D), Florida-8 (Daniel Webster-R over Allen Grayson-D), Florida-22 (Allen West-R over Ron Klein-D), Georgia-8 (Austin Scott-R over Jim Marshall-D) and, Virginia-5 (Robert Hurt over Tom Perriello-D)
While those wins will help verify that the G.O.P. is on track, the following results between 7 and 8 O’clock will be signs that Democrats are about to be crushed worse than expected;
Georgia-12 (Ray McKinney-R over John Barrow-D) and Virginia-11 (David McKinley-R over Mike Oliviero-D)
Between 7:30 and 8:00 pm, the results to look at will come out West Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.
Wins by John Kasich in Ohio’s gubernatorial race and Ohio’s 1st CD (Steve Chabot-R over Steve Driehaus-D) will show that the G.O.P. is on track and that trends are holding. But the races that will indicate that the Republican wave may bigger than anyone anticipates will come from West Virginia’s race for U.S. Senate and the following House races;
WV-1, WV-3, NC-11 and OH-6
Any combination of two or more wins in these races will point to Republican gains in the House that will exceed 62 seats and if John Raese pulls it out and beats back popular Democrats Governor Joe Mancin for Senate in West Virginia, the G.O.P. will have the potential of taking control of the United States Senate.
After the 8 o’clock hour, the outcome of the 2010 midterm will begin to be set in stone.
News out of Illinois of Republican pickups in the Senate by Kirk and the statehouse by Brady, will keep everything track in still make it possible for Republicans to take control of the United States Senate. From Pennsylvania, word of Pat Toomey defeating Joe SaysTax will be further evidence of the trend holding. Of course something else to watch for in these wins, will be the margins of victory. If any of these races produce leads of 5 or more percent, that will help prove that polling models are inaccurate and were unable to detect the undercurrent of voter sentiments. A sure sign that things will be worse off for Democrats than anyone anticipate, would be a Republican win over Democrat Patrick Duval in the race for Governor of Massachusetts.
The House races to look at here will be:
Connecticut-5, Pennsylvania-3 and11, NH 1, Illinois-14, and Mississippi-4
A majority of Republicans here are keeping the G.O.P on track for a big night. But if it is going to be a really big night for Republicans they will be winning the following races:
Pennsylvania-8 (Michael Fitzpatrick-R over Patrick Murphy-D), New Jersey-3, (Jon Runyan-R over John Adler-D)
Democrat losses of these two seats will be a sign that the anti-Democrat sentiments are seeping into some of the bluest states in one of the bluest regions of the country. Other such races include:
Massachusetts-10, Illinois-17 and, Missouri-4
And two seats that Democrats losses would mean that they are going to be dead in the water would be:
New Jersey 6 and 12
Here Democrats Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are seemingly safe seats, but there are rumblings that could prove them not to be safe for big government, big spending liberals anymore. That and extremely hard fought races by their Republican opponents Anna Little and Scott Sipprele makes these races worth watching. Pallone and Holt may not lose but if they have a margin of victory that is less than 6 or 7 percent, Democrats will be living in fear from now to 2012.
But aside from these races, keep your eyes out for the returns in
Massachusetts’ 4th CD and Michigan’ 15th
If long serving John Dingel goes down in Michigan, Democrats better hold on for a tougher ride than they expected, but if Barney Frank loses to Republican Sean Bielat in MA-4, Republicans may be on their way to taking 70 seats.
Defeating Barney Frank may be unlikely, but after Republican Scott Brown was elected to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate and a strong race by Sean Bielat, if there are going to be any miracles on election night, they will take place here in the Bay State.
As the 9 o’clock hour rolls out look for the House to be officially declared to have changed hands and gone to Republican control. But during this hour, some of the House races that will give a hint as to the size of their majority, are;
Louisiana-2, Minnesota-1 & 8, Michigan-15, NY-2, 13, 19, 24, Rhode Island and Wisconsin 13
While many other seats are going to fall to Republicans after 9 o’clock, especially in New York, Colorado and Wisconsin and Michigan, of the seats mentioned above, if Democrats who are likely to win in these districts, lose any combination of 4 or more, Republicans are looking at House gains approaching 70 seats
Long before this hour, we should have established that the House has gone to Republicans but we should also have a good idea on how the rest of the chips will fall. I anticipate that after this hour, the balance of power in the Senate will come down to California and Washington where Boxer and Murphy are at risk (Murphy more so than Boxer), and Alaska where write-n ballots will drag out the time it takes to declare Joe Miller the winner.
Sharon Angle is likely to win in Nevada but as for this race, look for the early numbers that come out of Clark County.
Clark County is the home of Las Vegas and most of the state’s population. Clark County is overwhelmingly Democrat, but it is the only part of the state that is. If returns out of Clark County are showing Harry Reid with a lead over Angle that is not higher than 8%, Harry Reid will have lost his bid for reelection.
Other races of special interest throughout the night will be Louisiana-2 where incumbent Joseph Cao is likely to lose to Democrat Cedric Richmond. If Cao wins, this will be a sign that Democrats are underperforming among their base and minorities musch worse than anyone thought possible. The same will be able to be said if Democrat Incumbent Loretta Sanchez loses to Republican Van Tran in California’s 47th congressional district.
Also of interest will be Hawaii’s at-large seat in Congress and race for Governor. Republicans have a decent but unlikely chance of keeping Charles Djou in office but an even less likely chance of keeping its statehouse in Republican hands aginst popular retiring Congressman Neil Abercrombie.