5 takeaways from the 2018 midterm election

Democrats underwhelmed in Arizona, take U.S. House

Arizona Democrats benefited from increased enthusiasm and voter turnout Tuesday night but ultimately the blue wave failed to deliver as many victories as they had hoped.

The partisan rancor that hallmarked the election highlighted just how entrenched the two  parties have become, with vitriolic attack ads running into the last hours of the various races in Arizona. 

With Democrats clinching control of the house, the partisan polarization is slated to continue into the next legislative session. 

The State Press talked to Arizona Republican political analyst Jason Rose about the immediate takeaways of the 2018 Midterm Election:

1. The blue wave was no tsunami 

Leading up to the election pundits and campaigns touted a massive turnout effort and energy to support the concept of a blue wave sweeping Arizona and the nation. 

“I can understand Democrats being terribly disappointed,” Rose said. “This is a state that Hillary Clinton came within three points of winning in 2016. I think they had tremendous opportunity for candidates to have results more in line with 2006 and 2008 when Democrats performed well. 

"They underwhelmed last night.” 

2. The Senate Race is still anyone’s game

One of the state's most closely watched races leading up too and through Tuesday night was the Senate race to replace incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who ceded his seat when he announced he wouldn't run for re-election. 

“The Republican turnout yesterday at the polls, which has already been factored in, was good, it was high,” Rose said. “But the ballots that are in the late mailed ballots, as well as this dropped off at the poll in recent elections have tilted towards the Democrats.”

Martha McSally is used to winning very close elections, that’s how she was elected to Congress in the first place, he said. 

“There is certainly no champagne popping going on, and anyone statewide within 30, 40 maybe even 50,000 votes maybe is still in the ballgame,” Rose said. 

3. It's 2012 all over again 

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader in 2012, said that his "number one priority (was) making sure president Obama's a one-term president." 

That type of obstructionist governing was a hallmark of the Obama-era Republican Congress that took control in Obama's first midterm challenge. Now the tables have turned. 

“I think it reverses the firewall that we saw during the Obama administration, when the House led by Republicans,” Rose said. “It was difficult for him to say the least, but Obama always knew there was a firewall in the Senate.

"I think the dynamic is similar I think the mischief is going to come from the house, and you know to what end?  It’s not going to go anywhere in the Senate because of the success the Republicans had last night.” 

4. This isn’t unprecedented 

While turnout this year has been far higher than previous midterm years, the power dynamics are nothing new. 

“It’s the ebb and flow of politics, in the future there will be times when Democrats do have gigantic wave years and the same will be of Republicans,” Rose said. “And there will be elations like this that resemble more of a World War I trench warfare — so it ebbs and flows and last night was not different than the rhythm of American politics for the last two centuries.” 

5. Democrats fail to secure key local seats

Key races where Democrats put up a unified front fell short of the necessary votes, with Democrats failing in their bid to secure the State Mine Inspector, Secretary of State, Governor and Attorney General. 

But beyond that, Democrats flopped in their bid to take control of the state House of Representatives. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, the Senate will likely be a 17-13 split in the favor of the GOP with a 32-28 after there was slight uptick in democratic house victories.

Comprehensive results are available at the Secretary of State's website

Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacdwindes on Twitter.

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