All Politics Is Local

SEMA News—August 2018


By Christian Robinson

All Politics Is Local

SEMA’s Guide to November’s Midterm Elections

You can do your part by voting in your state’s elections Tuesday, November 6. If you’re not already registered to vote, you may do so by visiting

Presidential elections get all the attention. Frankly, that’s understandable. Between the primaries and the general election, the race for president boils down to a years-long national popularity contest featuring some of the biggest personalities on the planet. Eventually, two candidates emerge and partake in an all-out sprint to the finish. They flood the airwaves, dominate the news and even send their proxies to your front door, all to win your affection and, they hope, your vote. However, that’s only half the story. Midterm elections take place in even years when there are no candidates vying to be the next leader of the free world. While those races don’t receive nearly the same amount of attention, they are just as important.

For most Americans, the major takeaway from 2016’s electoral craziness was that Donald Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost. Unless you’re a total political junkie, chances are you didn’t keep tabs on which congressional seats were won by Democrats or Republicans. With just three months to go until voters once again head to the polls, Republicans maintain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans maintain a 25-seat advantage and hold a majority in the U.S. Senate by only two seats. Recent Democrat victories in special elections in Alabama and Pennsylvania have given their supporters encouragement that November’s election will put them back in power.

Now that you’re all caught up, let’s see who has the advantage.

It may be President Trump, the person whose name isn’t on the ballot, who has the greatest influence on November’s contests.

When analyzing the upcoming midterm elections, the best place to start might be to look at who won’t be running. It sounds counterintuitive, but members of Congress have taken a pass on running for re-election at the highest rate since 1992. Thus far, 59 members of the U.S. House of Representatives—the majority of whom are Republicans—have decided to call it quits. And there may be more, as the filing deadlines in several states have yet to occur.

While the makeup of the House will have a decidedly different look come 2019, change will most be felt at the committee level. At least six major congressional committees will have new chairs at the start of the next Congress. Why is that important? If history tells us anything, it’s that retirement announcements often foretell which party will have a festive election-night party in November.

Perhaps the most shocking retirement announcement of all came from the Speaker of the House himself, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). After months of speculation, Speaker Ryan announced in April that he would not be running for re-election. In fact, the former vice presidential candidate seemed to wait as long as possible to make the announcement so as not to dry up his fundraising prowess on behalf of the Republican party. While Speaker Ryan explained the decision as one based on family considerations, many believe that the prospect of Republicans losing their majority in the House next Congress was enough to sway his decision.

In the U.S. Senate, things are rosier for Republicans. Of the 33 Senators on the ballot in November, 24 are Democrats. Adding to the challenge for Democrats, 10 of those Democrat-controlled seats come from states President Trump won in 2016. In fact, incumbent Senators such as Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) all come from states the president won handily. To say that each is fighting for his or her political life is an understatement.

By comparison, only one of the nine Republican seats up for re-election comes from a state carried by Hillary Clinton: the seat of Dean Heller (R-NV). In other words, if Democrats hope to net the two seats needed to retake the Senate, they face an uphill climb.

Of course, these elections don’t take place in a vacuum, and it may be the person whose name isn’t on the ballot who has the greatest influence on November’s contests. If history is any indication, the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections.

By most accounts, President Trump’s approval rating hovers in the low to mid 40s. While that is a slight improvement from just a few months ago, history also says it will pose a challenge for Republicans on the ballot in November. For Democratic Senators from traditional swing states seeking re-election, such as Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA), ambivalence toward the president could keep them in office.

So who will wake up happier on the morning after Election Day? According to most handicappers, the chance of a Democrat takeover of the House appears more likely than in the Senate. We agree, but a lot can change between now and November. Our prediction: Democrats retake the House in a photo finish, while Republicans hold on in the Senate. How’s that for divided government?

Of course, it’s ultimately the voters who decide who controls Congress. You can do your part by voting in your state’s elections on Tuesday, November 6. Visit if you’re not already registered to vote. There you will find valuable information about your state’s voting dates and deadlines.

  Mike Braun
Meyer Distributing’s Mike Braun will face incumbent U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in November’s general election.

Meyer Distributing’s Mike Braun Wins Indiana Republican Primary for U.S. Senate

Meyer Distributing President and CEO Mike Braun became Indiana’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, handily winning the primary election on May 8. He won the race with 41.2% of the vote, defeating U.S. Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Todd Rokita (R-IN), who garnered 30% and 28.8% of the vote respectively. Braun will face U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in the general election on November 6, 2018.

SEMA congratulates Mike Braun on his primary victory, his second “win” over the past few months, as Meyer Distributing was named Warehouse Distributor of the Year at the 2017 SEMA Show.

Braun started working for Meyer Body Co. in 1981 and transitioned its business from manufacturing to distribution, forming Meyer Distributing. Over the following decades, Braun grew the business into a national distribution and logistics company with 65 locations in 38 states. Braun has also shown a commitment to public service as a member of the Jasper School Board (2004–2014) and as an Indiana State Legislator (2015–2017).


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