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Governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House Races
  Details: U.S. Senate  |  U.S. House  |  Governors

                                                     this page updated November 17, 2016

Democrats' Hopes
After sustaining setbacks at all levels in 2014, Democrats hoped for major gains in 2016.  The thinking was that Clinton blowout and high turnout would help Democratic candidates in down ballot races. 
On the flip side, some Republicans argued the need for GOP majorities in Congress to stand up to likely President Clinton.  Aversion among some Republicans to Trump's candidacy may have caused money that might otherwise have gone to the Republican presidential campaign to flow to Republican House and Senate committees and down ballot races.  Ultimately Democrats hopes were dashed as they lost not only the presidential race, but fell short at every level.

U.S. Senate
At the top of their list after the White House, Democrats wanted to reclaim the majority in the U.S. Senate
.  Democrats anticipated Hillary Clinton woud win the White House, and a majority in the Senate would help her implement her policies (+).  The balance heading into election day was 54R, 44D and 2I.  Of the 34 seats up 10 were held by Democrats and 24 by Republicans.  There were about half a dozen competitive races. 

The most expensive U.S. Senate race in American history unfolded in Pennsylvania where $113.8 million had been spent as of Nov. 4.  The next most expensive races as of Nov. 4 were in Nevada ($84.7 million), North Carolina ($56.9 million), Ohio ($49.5 million), Indiana (4$2.2 million) and Missouri ($40.9 million).

Top Outside Spenders in Senate Races - Party Committees and Other Groups
Senate Leadership Fund
Senate Majority PAC
National Republican Senatorial Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Source: Campaign Finance Institute

U.S. House
In the U.S. House the balance was 246R, 186D and 3v; Republicans were optimistic about holding on to their majority.  The most expensive races as of Nov. 4 were:

PA-8: Brian Fitzpatrick (R) v. Steven Santarsiero (D) - $14.8 million.  ...open-Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
NV-3: Danny Tarkanian (R) v. Jacky Rosen (D) - $14.7 million.  ...open-Danny Heck (R)
VA-10: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) v. LuAnn Bennett (D) - $13.7 million.
CO-6: Rep. Mike Coffman (R) v. Morgan Carroll (D) - $12.7 million.

Top Outside Spenders in House Races - Party Committees and Other Groups
National Republican Congressional Committee
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Congressional Leadership Fund
House Majority PAC
Source: Campaign Finance Institute


Republicans hedld the majority of governorships, 31R, 18D and 1I; there were races in 12 states
.  Six of these were seen as close, of which five were open:

NC: Gov. Pat McCrory (R) v. Roy Cooper (D).

IN [Pence-R]: Eric Holcomb (R) v. John Gregg (D).
MO [Nixon-D]: Chris Koster (D) v. Eric Grietens (R).
NH [Hassan-D]: Colin Van Ostern (D) v. Chris Sununu (R).
VT [Shumlin-D]: Sue Minter (D) v. Phl Scott (R).
WV [Tombin-D]: Jim Justice (D) v. Bill Cole (R).

More Races
Additionally many other statewide offices were up.  In the  state legislatures, control of a number of chambers switched, but the net result was similar to prior to the election.  The balance went from Republicans holding 67 chambers and Democrats 31 chambers pre-election to Republicans 66, Democrats 30, 1 tied, and New York Senate undecided immediately after.  The National Conference of State Legislatures noted, "Republicans will control both chambers of the legislature in 32 states, which is an all time high for the party,"  Finally, voters decided 154 ballot measures.

The Trump Effect
Donald Trump's candidacy created difficulties for many Republican candidates around the country.  In race after race Democrats sought to tie GOP candidates to Trump.  Republican candidates tried to finesse the matter, saying for example that while they would vote for Trump, they would not endorse him.  The Access Hollywood recording firestorm that broke on Oct. 7 forced quite a few Republicans who had endorsed Trump to withdraw their support.  On Oct. 10 House Speaker Paul Ryan, while not rescinding his endorsement, told members of the House Republican Conference that he woulldn't defend Trump or campaign with him.

Oct. 19, 2016 - Signs in Nevada Democratic Party HQ seek to link Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dr. Joe Heck to
Donald Trump. Heck announced he was rescinding his endorsement of Trump on Oct. 8, angering Trump supporters
whose backing may prove critical in the swing state contest.