You’re going to watch? God help you. I’m going to be in my basement, surrounded by my trusty cans of food, my crank-operated flashlight, and my twenty-inch-thick cement walls.
But okay, here’s a primer for those of you who can’t look away.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. All of the congressional races and the race for U.S. Senate should be called right around when the polls close. If they aren’t called by 9 p.m., then something very surprising has happened. I don’t expect this at all. None of the Republican candidates have gained any traction at all.
But if there is a surprise brewing, and a Republican manages to get up off the mat to throw another wild punch, it’s going to be in the 5th Congressional District. This is the only place that’s been even remotely friendly to Republicans running for Congress since Democrats kicked the GOP incumbents out of their seats in 2006 and 2008.
I still don’t think it’ll happen. Expect early calls for all federal offices.
As for the legislature, this is where it could potentially be interesting. We have no idea what the turnout’s going to be, though it seems like it could be huge. That usually favors Democrats, but in this bizarre unicorn of a year anything at all could happen.
Republicans should be able to survive any Hillary Clinton headwinds to pick up a few seats in both chambers. I’m expecting at least a small handful of House seats to flip, but it’s hard to predict where those might happen. Enfield’s two races, the 58th and 59th districts, might be good bellwethers for what’s going to happen. One is an open seat formerly held by a Democrat, and the other has a wounded Democratic incumbent. If the GOP can win both, they’ll likely win elsewhere.
As for the Senate, this is where it could potentially get very interesting. The GOP only needs four seats to grab a majority for the first time since the mid-1990s. I’m watching the race between Republican Len Suzio and Democratic incumbent Sen. Dante Bartolomeo very closely. This is the race Republicans have to win if they want to have any chance of flipping the chamber; if they lose it, they’ll be in the minority for at least another two years.
There are some other races to watch. Keep an eye on State Senate races in the eastern part of the state. The race for Democratic Sen. Andrew Maynard’s open seat could be a win for former Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Heather Somers of Groton. Sen. Mae Flexer, whose district includes UConn, is thought to be vulnerable as well.
My thought is that Republicans will come close but not quite flip the chamber. That’s actually not a bad thing for them — they’ll have to take zero responsibility for whatever miseries the next two years will bring, putting them in position for a clean sweep in 2018.
At this point, I’m tempted to throw my hands up and shout, “Who knows?” The polls for the presidency are increasingly tight, and while the Electoral College math favors Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump still has a path to victory. One of two things will happen: it will be a short night that portends a Clinton landslide, or we’ll be up to the wee hours waiting for one crucial state to come in.
I have no idea which is more likely. But I’m nervously watching North Carolina — if that state goes for Clinton, Trump’s essentially done. I’m also watching Florida and Colorado, two other states Trump can’t win without. Colorado is the key, I think. Watch that state very closely.
As for the Senate, it’s possible that Democrats can grab it away from Republicans. For instance, John McCain’s race in Arizona is unusually tight. Pennsylvania could also flip from Republican to Democrat, as Sen. Pat Toomey is currently behind challenger Katie McGinty. Wisconsin is another race to watch, as former Sen. Russ Feingold is neck-and-neck with Sen. Ron Johnson in a rematch of their 2010 race. Flipping control of the U.S. Senate is unlikely, I think, but in the realm of possibility.
Democratic hopes for the House have faded somewhat in the past week, but it’s still possible that there’s a wave of wins out there for them. I don’t think there’s much chance we’ll see Nancy Pelosi back as Speaker, though.
So that’s it! Don’t forget to dig those bomb shelters nice and deep, folks, and always remember your can openers. If you need me I’ll be hiding out, waiting for Wednesday to come.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.
Photo credit: Cherezoff via Shutterstock