Richard Shelby (R)
Doug Jones (D)


Lisa Murkowski (R)
Dan Sullivan (R)

New Brunswick White lighthouse decorated with a red cross photographed in front of a fog bank

John Boozman (R)
Tom Cotton (R)


Jeff Flake (R)
Jon Kyl (R)


Dianne Feinstein (D)
Kamala Harris (D)


Michael Bennet (D)
Cory Gardner (R)


Richard Blumenthal (D)
Chris Murphy (D)

Prince Edward Island A beach boardwalk through pink grass

The smallest province in both land area and population, Prince Edward Island grows 25% of the nation's potatoes.


Tom Carper (D)
Chris Coons(D)


Bill Nelson (D)
Marco Rubio (R)


Johnny Isakson (R)
David Perdue (D)


Brian Schatz (D)
Mazie Hirono (D)


Chuck Grassley (R)
Joni Ernst (R)


Mike Crapo (R)
Jim Risch (R)


Dick Durbin (D)
Tammy Duckworth (D)


Joe Donnelly (D)
Todd Young


Pat Roberts (R)
Jerry Moran (R)


Mitch McConnell (R)
Rand Paul (R)


Bill Cassidy (R)
John Kennedy (R)


Elizabeth Warren (D)
Ed Markey (D)


Ben Cardin (D)
Chris Van Hollen (D)


Susan Collins (R)
Angus King (I)


Debbie Stabenow (D)
Gary Peters(D)


Amy Klobuchar (D)
Tina Smith (D)


Claire McCaskill (D)
Roy Blunt (R)


Roger Wicker (R)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)


Jon Tester (D)
Steve Daines (R)

North Carolina

Richard Burr (R)
Thom Tills (R)

North Dakota

John Hoeven (R)
Heidi Heitkamp (D)


Deb Fischer (R)
Ben Sasse (R)

New Hampshire

Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Maggie Hassan (D)

New Jersey

Bob Menendez (D)
Cory Booker (D)

New Mexico

Tom Udall (D)
Martin Heinrich (D)


Dean Heller (R)
Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

New York

Chuck Schumer (D)
Kristen Gillibrand (D)


Sherrod Brown (D)
Rob Portman (R)


Jim Inhofe (R)
James Lankford (R)


Ron Wyden (D)
Jeff Merkley (D)


Bob Casey Jr. (D)
Pat Toomey (R)

Rhode Island

Jack Reed (D)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

South Carolina

Lindsey Graham (R)
Tim Scott (R)

South Dakota

John Thune (R)
Mike Rounds (R)


Lamar Alexander (R)
Bob Corker (R)


John Cornyn (R)
Ted Cruz (R)


Orrin Hatch (R)
Mike Lee (R)


Mark Warner (D)
Tim Kaine (D)


Patrick Leahy (D)
Bernie Sanders (I)


Patty Murray (D)
Maria Cantwell (D)

Wisconsin “

Ron Johnson (R)
Tammy Baldwin (D)

West Virginia

Joe Manchin (D)
Shelley Moore Capito (R)

Wyoming “

Mike Enzi (R)
John Barrasso(R)

Blue Wave in Ohio

U.S. Senate Map
States with two Democratic U.S. Senators are in blue, states with two Republican U.S. Senators are in red, those with one of each are in purple, and states with an independent U.S. Senator are in green.

Megan Knapp


Election 2018: Is the ‘Blue Wave’ coming to Ohio?

George Shillcock / Staff Writer

There is a high chance the average Ohio voter has heard the term “Blue Wave” at least once leading up to the 2018 midterms, but there is speculation whether the massive amount of conjecture surrounding this phenomenon will prove true in the buckeye state.

The speculation that this year will see a wave election has flooded the news media with constant analyses of close races, polls and trends across the country. With the amount of attention being given to this midterm, someone could mistake this as a presidential year. As voters in a swing state are accustomed to this experience every four years during a presidential election.

A wave election is when a political party makes major gains in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate or both. Currently the Senate is split between 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and two Independents, who consistently work with Democrats. The House is split between 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats.

The last time a wave election occurred was in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats in the House and four in the Senate, retaking the majority in both.


Marcus Pavilonis

Democrats have a lot of work to do in Ohio if a “Blue Wave” does happen. The consistent battleground state only has four Democrats in the House out of 16 districts. The Ohio Senate seats are split between one Democrat and one Republican.

“What no one should do is just sit around and hope and expect it to happen because that's how you lose,” David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said. “Our attitude is that we hope there is a ‘Blue Wave’ but that's not enough. We have to build it.”

Pepper said that being a part of the incumbent party puts candidates at a disadvantage because of low approval ratings in Congress and the fact that people like candidates who are fresh and new — not career politicians.

Blaine Kelly, the communications director for the Ohio Republican Party, said in an email that Ohio is prospering under Republican leadership. He said candidates like Mike DeWine and Jim Renacci will continue these trends if elected.

"The fabled 'Blue Wave' will not reach Ohio's borders this year,” Kelly said in an email. “Ohioans vote with their wallets, and Republicans are helping put more money into them.”

Indicators of a Blue Wave

Many indicators can be analyzed in order to predict whether a wave election will occur this year. People can analyze voter turnout rates, results of special elections, presidential and congressional approval numbers, and rankings and polls for races.

According to the Cook Political Report, the Ohio U.S. Senate race is rated as “lean Democrat,” meaning it is considered competitive but the Democrats have an advantage. Out of all 16 House seats that are up for reelection in Ohio, 12 are rated as “solid,” meaning the race is not considered close for Democrats or Republicans. Two seats are “likely Republican,” meaning these seats are not considered competitive right now, but they could in the future. One seat is “lean Republican,” and one is rated as a “Republican toss-up,” meaning that either party has a good chance of winning.

“While I think there is a lot of evidence, even here in Ohio, that there will be a Blue Wave, or at least more than just the typical midterm pickups from the democratic party, the bigger indicator is that you have competition in areas that were never that competitive,” Sarah Poggione, a professor of political science said.

The race for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which contains Athens, is one of the safest Republican seats at “R+7,” a ranking which means Republicans have a seven-point advantage. The closest race is in the 1st District between Democrat Aftab Pureval and incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood. This race is rated at “R+5,” but Peppers and the Cook Political report consider it competitive.

“I’m confident our race will be close. I’m confident that we’ll win,” Pureval said. “People in both parties are desperate for change and that’s why we are confident that we will prevail.”

Chabot has held his district since 2011 but also was in office from 1995 to 2008. He did not respond to requests for comment.

“I do think people in Ohio are ready for change from Cleveland all the way down to Cincinnati,” Pureval said.

Voter turnout in primaries

Influencing voter turnout is also key to wave elections. These numbers are thought to be affected by factors such as competitiveness of the race, the type of election (i.e. midterm, off-year or presidential elections), voting laws and voter demographics.

Poggione said that she thinks wave elections depend on which party has higher turnout. She said at this point potential Democratic voters are showing a lot more excitement.

“When you look at polls, you have a stronger proportion of Democrats indicating that this is a really important midterm election year compared to what typically happens and then a somewhat lesser proportion of Republicans who say the same thing,” she said.

If Ohio was actually going to experience a “Blue Wave” they would have seen it reflected in voter turnout numbers in the May 8th primary elections, Kelly said in an email.

More Republicans turned out to vote for candidates in their party than Democrats did in the 2018 May primary election. In the gubernatorial race, 428,159 Democrats (62.16 percent) voted for Richard Cordray while 499,639 Republicans (59.84 percent) voted for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Similar results can also be seen for other races across the state according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s election data.

Pepper said that the primary election results actually show potential Democratic voters are more energized than previous years because in past primaries the gap between Republican and Democratic turnout was much more dramatic.

“(Primaries) are not at all that predictive,” Pepper said. “The fact that we narrowed the gap by that much when we weren’t even operating to get the vote out… to us it actually spoke to some very natural energy.”

Special elections

Another potential indicator of a wave election happening in Ohio this year is the result of the August special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, barely squeezed out a victory against Democrat Danny O’Connor, winning by 0.8 percent, or just under 2,000 votes.

Many people argue that if this was a normal year, the 12th would have been a solid Republican district. The district was previously held by Republican Patrick Tiberi who consistently won more than 50 percent of the vote since he was elected in 2000. Before Tiberi, the district was represented by current Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich from 1983 to 2001.

Pepper said that if the results of the August special election are projected onto other U.S. House races in Ohio and even the Senate race one can see the potential for other Democrats to do the same thing as O’Connor.

After the special election, Rick Neal’s race gained more energy and confidence, Neal, the Democratic candidate for said. He believes they can pull out a win against incumbent Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington.

Neal said there is also reason to be optimistic because both the 15th and 12th Districts share some characteristics such as size and demographics. Both districts contain suburbs of the city of Columbus within Franklin County and stretch to more rural parts of the state.

While these similarities and the close race in the 12th do indicate a possible revitalization for Democratic voting in the midterms in Ohio, there are some key differences between the 15th and 12th Congressional Districts.

Stivers is an incumbent and therefore has better name recognition and a historical advantage because of his incumbency. The 15th has re-elected Stivers every two years since 2011 by more than 60 percent.

Special elections are different from the general election because of the fact that not as many people show up to vote due to the abnormal date of the election. When O’Connor and Balderson run against each other again in November, the results could be very different than what they were in August.

Poggione doesn’t believe Democrats will make huge gains in Ohio but all congressional races in Ohio will end up having closer results than what history may indicate. She said in the end the results of the 1st and 12th Congressional Districts are key to determining whether Ohio is hit by a Blue Wave.

Development by: Megan Knapp / Digital Production Editor

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