Voters who sat out 2016 break strongly for Democrats in 2018

Republican Ron DeSantis beat Democrat Andrew Gillum to win the Florida governor race, with solid backing from more than eight in 10 conservatives, six in 10 white voters and 57 percent of male voters as well as 57 percent of voters age 65 and older. 

DeSantis was endorsed by President Donald Trump during the primaries, and 92 percent of voters who approve of the Trump’s job performance voted for DeSantis.

The Senate special election in Mississippi between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, Democrat Mike Espy and two other candidates will head to a Nov. 27 runoff, NBC News projects.

Hyde-Smith and Espy will advance to the runoff.

Under Mississippi state rules, if no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the top two head to a one-on-one runoff.

With 80 percent of the vote in the state tallied, Espy, a former U.S. secretary of agriculture, led appointed-incumbent Hyde-Smith with 41.2 percent to her 40.4 percent.

Republican Chris McDaniel had 16.9 percent, while Democrat Tobey Bartee had 1.5 percent.

Hyde-Smith was appointed in April to the Senate seat that being vacated by Thad Cochran, who resigned due to poor health.

The special Senate election is different from the state’s other Senate race, which saw Republican Roger Wicker win re-election Tuesday night.

As Republicans continue to post strong showings in tight Senate and gubernatorial elections, NBC “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd says the results are evidence that President Trump has taken control of the GOP.

NBC News has projected that Democrats will gain control of the House, a body that President Trump largely ignored in the final weeks. But at the same time, the GOP is poised to make gains in the Senate after Trump barnstormed the country with a hardline immigration message aimed directly at the GOP base. 

While some of Trump’s picks are struggling in gubernatorial races, two of his more conservative picks are poised for victory in those races too. Florida Republican Ron DeSantis is the apparent winner in Florida while Georgia’s Brian Kemp is in strong position in that race. 

“The Republican Party is Donald Trump’s party. He may have been hijacking a political party in ’16 and borrowing it. He has remade it and he knows how to activate it,” Todd said.

“Why is Andrew Gillum likely to lose and not win? Why is Stacey Abrams likely to lose and not win? I would argue that Donald Trump figured out how to get his base out.”

Democrat Colin Allred is the winner in Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, NBC News projects, defeating Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions.

With 63 percent of the vote in, Allred has 52 percent of the vote to Sessions’ 46.2 percent, according to NBC News. 

The congressman-elect is a former NFL linebacker who attended Baylor University in Texas. Timothy Burke, director of video at The Daily Beast, dug through some archives to find some grainy video of Allred getting a sack during his days with the Baylor Bears.

The Texas Senate vote broke along racial lines, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was able to pull off a tight victory with the backing of white voters. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke won 63 percent of the Latino vote and 89 percent of the black vote, but that was not enough to overcome Cruz’s support among white voters, which came in at 65 percent — 71 percent of white men and 59 percent of white women. 

The issue of immigration played to the Republicans’ advantage. Three-quarters of Texas voters who named this as their top concern voted for Cruz. The incumbent also won 59 percent of those who said his support for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was an important factor in their vote.

President Donald Trump made his first public comments about the 2018 midterm election results on Tuesday night, tweeting out: “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!”

NBC News projects that Republican Mike DeWine will be elected governor of Ohio, defeating Democrat Richard Cordray. 

With 92 percent of votes counted, DeWine leads Cordray with over 51 percent of the vote. Cordray lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under former President Barack Obama, while DeWine currently serves as Ohio’s attorney general.

Click here to view updated results from Ohio

Here are some interesting firsts in the 2018 midterm elections, so far:

Women candidates:

Most of the early Republican-to-Democratic House flips of the evening were by Democratic women.

  • Jennifer Wexton defeated Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s 10th District.
  • Donna Shalala won an open seat to replace Republican Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen in Florida’s 2th District.
  • Mary Gay Scanlon was elected to the House from Pennsylvania, winning in a redrawn 5th District, Chrissy Houlahan won in the state’s newly constituted 6th District, Susan Wild won in the new 7th District. They are the first women to be elected from Pennsylvania to the House since 2014.
  • Sharice Davids defeated Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ 3rd District.  Davids is Native American, gay and an MMA fighter.
  • Mikie Sherrill won in New Jersey’s 11th District, picking up the seat held by outgoing Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.
  • Elaine Luria defeated Republican Rep. Scott Taylor in Virginia’s 2nd District. 

They will join women who didn’t flip districts but whose primary wins are sending them to the House:

  • Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts’ 7th District became the first black woman elected to the House from the state.
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th District became the youngest woman elected to Congress.
  • Veronica Escobar (16th District) and Sylvia Garcia (29th District) became the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas.

Vice president’s brother: For the first time a vice president’s brother was elected to the House. Mike Pence’s brother, Greg Pence, was elected to Congress in Indiana’s 6th District.

First gay man elected governor: Democrat Jared Polis defeated Republican Walker Stapleton to win the Colorado governor’s race and become the first openly gay man to be elected governor.

Voting rights: Florida passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to felons. The amendment will restore voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians, the majority black or Latino men. Florida was one of only three states — and by far the biggest — to bar people from voting even after completing their sentences.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has won her race for New York’s 14th Congressional District, NBC News projected, making her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez, 29, shocked the political world in June when she defeated incumbent and top-ranking Decmorat Rep. Joseph Crowley, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, in a huge upset the congressional primary. 

The political newcomer easily defeated Republican challenger Anthony Pappas in the deep blue Queens and Bronx district. With 75 percent of the vote tallied, Ocasio-Cortez handily defeated Pappas, with 78.9 percent of the vote to his 13.1 percent.

The previous youngest woman to go to Congress was Republican Elise Stefanik, also from New York, who was elected to the House in 2014 at age 30.

Democrat Andrew Gillum has conceded the Florida gubernatorial race to Republican Ron DeSantis.

Gillum announced his concession in a speech from his campaign headquarters in Tallahassee, telling the crowd, “Even though I won’t be the next governor of Florida, I still plan to be on the front lines.”

“We still have to be willing to show up every single day and demand our seat at the table. I still believe and I still trust in the voters. I still believe that there is more of us that believe in what is common and what is decent,” Gillum said.

Shortly after Gillum began making his concession speech, NBC News declared DeSantis the apparent winner in the race.

With 99 percent of the state’s vote tallied, DeSantis, a former Republican member of Congress from Florida, had 49.9 percent, while Gillum had 48.9 percent.

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