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Some statewide races attracted national attention

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to bring in NPR correspondents Danielle Kurtzleben, who is with us from Milwaukee, Wis., and in studio correspondent Claudia Grisales. Thanks to both of you for being here.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Thank you much.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Yes, of course.

MARTIN: So we just heard from Wes Moore, the governor-elect in the state of Maryland, the first Black governor of that state. He took over from a previous governor, a Republican, Larry Hogan. Wes Moore was suggesting there that Marylanders voted for him regardless of political party. Danielle, voters in Wisconsin didn't necessarily vote down the party line either, did they?

KURTZLEBEN: Right. At least to some degree, it appears there may have been some crossover voting because we had these two big statewide - or there were several big statewide races, but the two big ones that a lot of people are watching are governor and senator. Now, Governor Tony Evers, the Democratic incumbent, has won, and it appears that he will win by potentially 2 or 3 points. Meanwhile, the Senate race is between incumbent Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Mandela Barnes. Ron Johnson - as of right now, that race has not been called, but Ron Johnson is ahead by a little over a point. So there's a gap in there that implies that, you know, perhaps at least a few people did some crossover voting or maybe some people sat out one race or the other. So in terms of what happened, you know, you can't discount incumbency because, of course, Johnson and Evers are both known quantities.

MARTIN: Right.

KURTZLEBEN: But also one thing is that Johnson really attacked Barnes hard, especially on crime. And Milwaukee does have a fair amount of crime. So the question is if those attacks stuck.

MARTIN: I want to pivot, Claudia, just very briefly, take a step back. Historically, the party out of power loses in the midterms, often by a lot. Republicans had been predicting a red wave. That didn't happen. What's to account for that?

GRISALES: Right. This was a very big moment in terms of what we saw. And then also looking at the wider picture here, President Biden could make a statement today. We will see. They have been noncommittal, but he called all these Democratic winners last night, 36 in all that he could reach. And so we'll see what's to come.

MARTIN: NPR's Claudia Grisales and NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben, thanks to you both.

KURTZLEBEN: Yeah, thank you.

GRISALES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
Danielle Kurtzleben
Danielle Kurtzleben is a political correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on The NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.