With more than 42 million early votes already cast, this campaign – the most expensive mid-term in American history, headed toward $17 Billion spent on federal and major state races – is almost over . . . or, in the words of the late Gerald Ford, “our long national nightmare is finally ended.”

Actually, it’s not yet ended and likely won’t be tomorrow night.  Vote counting will go on for days (and challenges for weeks) and absent landslide leads, some races (Pennsylvania Senate) may not be clear for a number of days and others (Georgia Senate) could go to a December run-off.

What Will We Be Watching?

To get the earliest sense of whether there is a “red wave” (or, even GOP tsunami), the races we will be watching as polls close in each time zone are:


A loss by Dem. Senator Hassan is New Hampshire suggests a “red wave” for Republicans.

On the other hand, Trump-endorsed GOP Senate nominee Ted Budd’s unexpectedly losing in North Carolina would mean a GREAT night for Democrats.

Will Walker/Warnock (with a third-party candidate on ballot) be forced to a December 6 runoff in Georgia?  Having beaten Trump’s candidate in the primary, will Kemp triumph, as expected, in Georgia Governor’s race?

If Tim Ryan can unexpectedly beat J.D. Vance in Ohio Senate race, also a great night for Democrats.

Can DeSantis – probably thanks to a shift in the Hispanic vote/margin – carry Miami/Dade County and ensure his re-election as Governor in Florida?

Biggest EST Zone question:  Oz or Fetterman in Pennsylvania?  Maybe exit polls will be predictive.  But final ballot counts could take several days.


Can GOP hold on to Senate in Wisconsin, as expected, AND pick up Governor (as RGA is predicting)?

Can incumbent Governors – Dem. in Kansas and Rep. in Oklahoma – survive?  Third party candidates in Kansas may allow Dem. to hold on . . . and GOP incumbent in Oklahoma should survive massive Native American spending against him.

Surely one of the oldest members of the Senate – GOP’s Grassley – survives in Iowa.

Will GOP pick up House seats in heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley of Texas?


Arizona offers close races in Senate and Governor.  Senate could go D while Governor goes R — ???

Does a massive red wave take out Dem. Senator Bennet in Colorado?

Does Dem. Governor in New Mexico survive a scare and hang on?

Pacific (plus Alaska) 

Will a GOP red wave reach the West Coast and take out Dem. Senator Patty Murray in Washington?

Will GOP nominees for Senator and Governor in Nevada hold their polling leads and win?  Will they carry congressional candidates with them?

Will Oregon Governor be lost by Dems. in a three-way race?

Will recently elected Dem. Congresswoman hold on to her seat in Alaska?

That’s what we’ll be watching.

What Are We Predicting?

It’s harder this year than I’ve ever seen it: (1) polling seems more problematic this year, for a variety of reasons, including . . . (2) voters seem more volatile, and to the extent polling is accurate . . .  (3) more major races are “within the margin of error” later than I have ever seen them.

With all those alibis, in recent speeches we’ve been predicting:

  • a one-to-three seat GOP majority in Senate,
  • a 25-plus seat GOP majority in House, and
  • little net change in Governors, with Dems picking up Maryland and Massachusetts for sure and possibly losing one to three among Nevada, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oregon.

We will see one of the largest turnovers among state legislators (term limits, redistricting, running for the seats of all those retiring Members of Congress, etc.) and some possible party changes in control of legislative bodies.

But, again, a LOT is “within the margin of error.”  When Hawthorn gathered responses today for its biannual internal staff pool, we found our own informed experts disagreeing widely on how many Republicans would be in U.S. Senate seats in January, ranging from 17% of our people saying 50, to 33% saying 52, 33% saying 53, and 8% saying 56 . . . and with 8% saying Dems hold Republicans to 49.

What Does It Mean for Corporate America?

First, useful analysis will require actual results, not just our/others’ predictions.

Second, our first attempt at that result-based analysis will be Thursday evening, when we gather with some friends for a roundtable discussion with Jeff Berkowitz from the highly regarded research/analysis/strategy firm Delve, to try to figure out what happened, why, and what it means.  We’ll share our conclusions with you.

Last Friday, Jeff and I discussed our final predictions. Based on what we’ve seen over the last year . . . and IF our predictions are correct at all . . . then corporate America better ready itself for the death of moderation, excesses of extremism, and attacks on businesses from both sides of the political spectrum . . . as Jeff says, the “perfect storm” of populism and progressivism.

Watch my full conversation with Jeff:

Hope we all survive tomorrow . . . and the trying times to come.