Both parties had high hopes for California in the midterms. Neither saw its dreams fully come true — or fulfill them.
The Democratic Party came in with a big win in the gubernatorial election in November 2018 — but then had to wait for the next election cycle to come around to celebrate.
A year later, Republicans have seen their hopes of beating California into oblivion come true.
Republicans didn’t just take control of the governor’s office, they also won control of state legislatures in California and the U.S. House of Representatives.
A wave election
Both parties expected that the 2018 midterms would bring the opposite result — a Democratic victory in California, and a Republican victory in the nation’s most populous state.
The election was a wave election. It’s the last midterm election to be considered a wave election because both parties would have been expected to lose seats; neither party had large turnouts in the primary elections.
In the 2018 election, Republicans had a 3 in 4 chance of losing one U.S. House seat and the governorship.
But in the midterm election, California was a dead-heat election, with a 2 in 3 chance of Democrats beating their GOP opponents.
On the Democratic side, California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom came in first by more than a 4-percentage-point margin, a margin that California voters said was much larger than they had expected.
The result was not a surprise. The numbers had been predicted by the polling firm, The Tarrance Group, which had predicted a blue wave in California.
So what will happen to California?
Democrat Gavin Newsom: ‘It will be a battle’
On the Republican side, the results have been equally surprising.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Kelly did not do so well. He lost by 10 points.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Glazer ended up losing the race by almost 16 points, while Republican former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim Brulte came in second.
“It’s been a very difficult campaign. I really did not see this as a campaign. It’s been a battle,” Brulte told reporters after Thursday’s election returns.