The Republican Party’s increasing Trump-era tendency toward more extreme nominees and its struggles to account for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade have already cost it plenty. It’s quite possible that these things cost it control of the Senate in both the 2020 and 2022 elections.
If unpopular GOP nominees in key states had merely matched the political fundamentals, Republicans might have held the Senate for the duration of Joe Biden’s presidency and had a much more significant House majority with which to work today.
Now, these same things may have cost Republicans control of a state.
New Hampshire on Tuesday became the latest state in which Democrats over-performed in a special election — a trend that has held very steady ever since Roe was overturned last summer.
Democrat Hal Rafter won by 12 points in a state House district that went narrowly for Donald Trump in 2020. The 12-point improvement on the 2020 margin is in line with Democrats’ encouraging continued over-performances in special elections this year; Daily Kos Elections and FiveThirtyEight data on more than two dozen special elections show the party running an average of 7.6 points better than their 2020 margins — margins from a 2020 election that, it bears noting, were already good for Democrats — and double digits better than the normal partisan fundamentals.
New Hampshire wasn’t even the only state in which Democrats lodged a crucial win and an overperformance in a special election Tuesday. They also took back the majority in the Pennsylvania Capitol by defeating a Trump-aligned candidate. That result was expected in a blue-leaning district, but Democrats again beat the fundamentals by around double digits. [Continue reading…]