With just a few hours now separating us from the first election results, here are the five states I’m watching most closely tonight:
1.) North Carolina
Obviously, North Carolina is a key swing state in the presidential race, which is likely to be very close, but I’m even more interested in the results of the gubernatorial race between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper.
We’ve been talking about this race for months. McCrory has been under fire from a coalition of radical progressives, corporate bullies, and special interests for his support for HB 2, a bill that stopped an effort in Charlotte to redefine gender and give grown men the right to shower and access changing areas with young girls in public facilities.
The fate of HB 2 — and our best line of defense in the progressive war on gender — rests completely on the results of this race.
2.) New Jersey
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) is a strong conservative representative in New Jersey who came under fire for criticizing the NRCC for financially supporting Republican candidates who support same-sex marriage. Millions of dollars from outside special interest groups have since poured into New Jersey’s 5th congressional district to defeat Garrett in his race against special interest lobbyist Josh Gottheimer. With the NRCC declining to help Garrett at all, and with only a small coalition of conservatives refusing to abandon him, there’s no doubt he’s an underdog heading into tonight. Will he able to keep his seat?
And can Donald Trump win New Jersey? Okay, probably not. BUT MAYBE!
Marco Rubio’s race to retain his Senate seat will play a big role in which party ultimately controls the Senate, and Florida is a must-win for Trump to get to 270 electoral votes. This is the top state to watch tonight.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring, meaning the Nevada race for his Senate seat is open. Republican Joe Heck has a fighting shot at winning here. A pick-up victory in Nevada would virtually ensure that Republicans keep control of the Senate.
And Nevada has been one of the most high-profile swing states of the presidential election, with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spending millions of dollars on TV ads. Who will win Nevada’s six electoral votes?
Remember that Evan McMullin guy? A couple weeks ago, pundits thought Utah might be in play. Based on current polling, it’s fair to say it’s probably not competitive, especially after voters were turned off by McMullin’s admission of a desire to elect Clinton over Trump. Still, McMullin has the opportunity to play spoiler and become the first third-party presidential candidate to win a state since 1968.
Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.