Midterms 2018: How many women prevail in House, Senate, and gubernatorial races?

As we head into the final three weeks of campaigning, let’s check in with the women running for office!

We have three markets now for how many women will be in the Senate, in the House, and in governor’s mansions in 2019 (the House market is new this week!).  I first wrote about the Senate and governors back at the end of July – and a lot has transpired since then!  Let’s take a look.

How many U.S. Senators will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

  • (13) Not up for reelection/special election: Murray, Collins, Murkowski, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Hirono, Fischer, Moore-Capito, Ernst, Cortez-Masto, Duckworth, Harris, Hassan
  • (6) Very likely to win reelection/special election: Feinstein, Cantwell, Klobuchar, Smith, Hyde-Smith, Warren
  • (2) Certain to go to a female candidate of either party: AZ (Sinema or McSally), WI (Baldwin or Vukmir).
  • (1) More likely than not to win reelection/election: Stabenow (though she does have a reasonably strong likely challenger in John James).

This baseline of 22 remains the same – only maybe John James pulling off the upset vs Stabenow (he did out-raise her in Q3) can drop the baseline to 21.  So again, we’re looking at

where the odds have changed quite substantially since July!  Heitkamp is considered dead in the water after a couple 10 point deficits in the polls; conversely Blackburn is considered a shoo-in after spiking leads of the same or better (Upshot/Siena’s poll is a particularly big eye-opener).

Basically, if you think things break towards the Republicans, buy 23 (the Blackburn victory).  If you think things break towards the Dems, 24/25 are the opportunities.  If you think things stay relatively close, 24 is probably the buy.  I can see reasonable cases to be made for Blackburn + McCaskill + Rosen…. but those universes are not too far away from Blackburn alone or Blackburn + one of the two.  This will be a fun one on election night!

How many governors of the 50 states will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

Now the picture here has clarified substantially since late July in many ways, and remains up in the air in many others.  Here’s my breakdown:

(There are several other races I haven’t bothered to list which could surprise – NH, VT, TX, etc but I seriously doubt it).

As I look at it, 10+ is in real trouble barring a run of the table.  5 or 6 seem easy to get to. Beyond that we simply have to wait until the the results come in I think!

How many U.S. Representatives will be women in the 116th Congress?

Ok, this market is A LOT to digest.  So I pulled the top two candidates in each district by the odds 538 gives them and manually went through and tallied up all the women.  The result is this spreadsheet, which ranks all the races by the odds of a woman winning the seat.

These are the races that will determine how the market shakes out.

About 83 or so seats are all but guaranteed to go to women (again, according to 538’s classic model).  Another 10 seems easy to come by.  After that, performance is strongly correlated with how well Democrats are doing overall (most of the women running are Democrats).  In the top right, you see the number “97.65”.  This is the cumulative probability of women winning divided by 100 which should give you roughly the expected break-even number of women-held seats, at least as 538 sees it.

Hope this helps your decision-making in these complicated markets!


Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein.  You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives.  While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s