Midterms: Very different race types

Republicans > Democrats > Independents > Libertarians

This is the first in a series looking at last month’s election results for our state elected officials. That’s our:

  • Constitutional officers (like governor, attorney general, secretary of state)
  • State Representatives
  • State Senators

Overall, of the votes cast in each race they participated in:

  • Republicans averaged 68%
  • Democrats averaged 41%
  • Independents averaged 22%
  • Libertarians averaged 14%

You can see that in the chart below. (If that seems incongruous, that’s okay. Keep reading.)


5 Types of races

In this post, we’re analyzing the 5 types of races and how candidates fared in each. The 5 types are:

  • 3 candidates: Republican, Democrat and Libertarian
  • 2 candidates:
    • Republican, Democrat
    • Republican, Libertarian
    • Republican, Independent
    • Democrat, Libertarian

In any of the above 5 scenarios, Republicans averaged more than Democrats; Democrats averaged more than Independents; and Independents averaged more than Libertarians. However, it’s worth noting there were only 2 races with Independents so that’s a pretty small sample size.

Remember that 14% for Libertarians shown above?  That seemed high, right? That’s because it took into account their average in ALL race types, including those with only 2 candidates. But when in a race with candidates from both major parties, Libertarians average 3% – a big drop from 19% against only a Democrat and 20% against only a Republican. But that explains the higher numbers above compared to the lower numbers below.


Republican, Democrat, & Libertarian

  • 61% Republican
  • 34% Democrat
  • 3% Libertarian

Republican & Democrat

  • 63% Republican
  • 38% Democrat

Republican & Libertarian

  • 80% Republican
  • 20% Libertarian

Democrat & Libertarian

  • 81% Democrat
  • 19% Libertarian

Republican & Independent

  • 79% Republican
  • 22% Independent

Visualize it.

You can see the five different race types below side by side.

But…. there is variation WITHIN these groups

How individual races turned out within each of these five types varied.

For example, within the 3 candidate model (Republican, Democrat and Libertarian), Senator Jonathan Dismang pulled in an impressive 80%, while his colleague Senator Jane English won with 52%. This is in part due to the more purple nature of Senator English’s district compared to Senator Dismang’s more red district.


Republicans won 91% of the time

Of the 79 races that featured Republicans running for state offices, they won all but 7 of them. Two of these were State Senate seats and five were State House seats. Three were in Little Rock, 1 was in Conway, 1 was in Fort Smith, 1 was in Fayetteville, and 1 was in the Marianna area. 


Keep these 2 things in mind


As we move forward in the series, keep these 5 race types in mind. While there are overarching trends, like the strength of the Republican party, it’s still worth keeping a couple of things in mind when comparing races:

  1. How Red / Blue / Purple is the district?
  2. How many candidates were in the race?

Number 1 above is less relevant as we look at the Constitutional officers, which is where we will start next. See you tomorrow with that.