The US midterms are here, and if you’ve been following Donald Trump’s presidency with fascination over the past couple years, you’re going to want to pay attention to what will no doubt be a significant chapter.
The symbolism of the vote is obviously important: whichever way it goes, it’s going to be seen as a verdict on how Americans see their President.
But there’s also the possibility (and some analysts would say likelihood) that the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives, which would give them a much bigger say on what the Trump Administration can and can’t do.
So, it’s important. These are the specific times to be paying attention.
9:00pm AEDT, Tuesday, November 6 (5:00am Washington DC)
This is when the first polls open.
Expect to see a lot of colour and a lot of punditry, but no results until the next morning.
10:00am AEDT, Wednesday, November 7 (6:00pm November 6, Washington DC)
This is when the first polls close and it’ll be the start of the most interesting few hours.
Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of when polls close:
- 10:00am AEDT (6:00pm Washington DC): Indiana, Kentucky
- 11:00am AEDT (7:00pm Washington DC): South Carolina; Florida; Virginia; New Hampshire; Vermont; Georgia (except Atlanta where polls close an hour later)
- 11:30am AEDT (7:30pm Washington DC): West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina
- 12 midday AEDT (8:00pm Washington DC): Alabama; Texas; Connecticut; Massachusetts; Delaware; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Mississippi; Missouri; New Jersey; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Tennessee; Kansas; Michigan
- 12:30pm AEDT (8:30pm Washington DC): Arkansas
- 1:00pm AEDT (9:00pm Washington DC): Arizona; Colorado; Louisiana; Minnesota; Nebraska; New Mexico; New York; South Dakota; North Dakota; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Washington
- 2:00pm AEDT (10:00pm Washington DC): Iowa; Montana; Nevada; Utah; Idaho
As the polls close, we’ll start seeing exit polls along with early tallies.
Here are some of the races to look out for:
- Utah, Senate — former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to be returned to Congress
- Kentucky, 6th District, House of Representatives — this should be a close one because even though the district voted for Donald Trump in 2016 (and Mr Romney in 2012), it has strong Democratic roots. As well, the Democrats have a strong candidate in Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot and Iraq war vet. She’s up against the Republican incumbent Andy Barr
- Minnesota, 2nd District — if she wins as polls indicate, Democrat Angie Craig would become first lesbian mum in Congress
- West Virginia, Senate — the incumbent Joe Manchin is one of the few Democrat Senators left in Trump land. Note: he was the only Democrat who voted for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. He’s likely to be re-elected
- Texas, Senate — Republican Ted Cruz should still win here, but polls have the Democrats’ Beto O’Rourke is closer than you might have thought
- North Dakota, Senate — Like Senator Manchin, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp is the incumbent in a state that voted for Mr Trump. But unlike Senator Machin, she voted against Mr Kavanaugh, and it’s looking like she’ll lose this election
- Arizona, Senate — there’s no incumbent in this race, and even though the Republicans hold the seat, the Democrats are in with a decent chance (note: this was John McCain‘s state)
3:00pm AEDT, Wednesday, November 7 (11:00pm November 6, Washington DC)
Remember Congressman Dana Rohrabacher from Who Is America? He’s up for re-election. (Showtime)
This is when polls close in Hawaii and Oregon. But most importantly, it’s also when polls close in California.
According to Bloomberg, it’s possible we’ll already know which party will control the House of Representatives by now, even before votes start getting counted on the west coast.
But either way, these are some of the seats to watch:
- California, 48th District (Orange County), House of Representatives — this one is a toss-up, but the Democrats’ Harley Rouda has a decent shot at taking this seat from the Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher, who has faced criticism for his soft stance on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (and who also made an appearance in Who Is America?)
- California, 39th District (Orange County), House of Representatives — there’s no incumbent running in this seat, which has been held by the Republicans, and it’s neck-and-neck in the polls, so the Democrats will be hoping this is a seat it can pick up
- California, 45th District (Orange County), House of Representatives — another close one, with Democrats’ law professor Katie Porter hoping to beat Republican incumbent Mimi Walters
4:00pm AEDT, Wednesday, November 7 (12 midnight November 7, Washington DC)
At this point, when polls close in Alaska, all votes will have been cast.
But if it’s close, it could still be days or even weeks before we get clarity (especially given the large number of Americans who vote by post).
And the closer any specific count is, the greater the chance of a recount.