Blackbird’s 2018 Midterm Election Highlights

Written by BlackbirdGo November 9, 2018
The History


California Democrats won big in the Midterm Elections with Democratic candidates taking the races for governor (Gavin Newsom), lieutenant governor (Eleni Kounalakis) and treasurer (Fiona Ma). Democrats Alex Padilla and Xavier Becerra were also re-elected as secretary of state and attorney general, respectively. In the senate race between two Democrats, incumbent Dianne Feinstein beat state Senator Kevin de León.

Six of California’s 12 state propositions passed. The much-publicized Proposition 10, which would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and decreased state control over local renting laws if passed, was defeated with 59.9% of the vote. Proposition 2 passed, authorizing California to put two billion dollars of revenue from millionaires’ taxes toward housing for people in need of mental health services. California voters also approved Proposition 7 for year-round daylight saving time, but clocks in The Golden State will continue changing twice a year unless two thirds of the state legislature vote to implement the change, according to Vox.

State Propositions 1, 4, 11 and 12 passed while Propositions 3, 5, 6 and 8 did not. The California Supreme Court removed Proposition 9, which proposed splitting California into three states, from the ballot in July, according to Ballotpedia.


Nevada voters re-elected Republican candidate Barbara Cegavske as secretary of state but elected Democratic candidates to every other state office on the ballot. Former state representative Jacky Rosen beat Republican incumbent Dean Heller in the Senate election, Steve Sisolak won the race for governor and Kate Marshall was elected lieutenant governor. Aaron Ford beat Republican Wes Duncan by fewer than 5,000 votes to become Nevada’s next attorney general.

Democrats won three of Nevada’s four congressional districts, with incumbent Dina Titus being re-elected in the first district and Susie Lee and Steven Horsford winning the third and fourth districts, respectively. Republican incumbent Mark Amodei won the second district, which includes Reno.

All Nevada ballot measures but Question 3, which proposed requiring the Legislature to open the energy market to competition, passed. With the passage of Question 2, feminine hygiene products are now exempt from local and state sales taxes. The passage of Question 5 ensures that any Nevadans who get a driver’s license or state ID issued or renewed, or receive certain other services from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, will be automatically registered to vote. They may opt out of voter registration when receiving these services by checking a box. Question 6, which requires that electrical appliances derive half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, passed with nearly 60% of the vote.


Michigan became the first state in the Midwest and the tenth state in the country to legalize recreational cannabis with the passage of Proposal 1. North Dakota (where medical cannabis is legal) did not pass Measure 3, which would have legalized recreational cannabis use and cultivation if passed. Voters in both Utah and Missouri voted to legalize medical cannabis, but recreational cannabis use remains illegal in those states.

As described in Blackbird’s Guide to 2018 Cannabis Ballot Initiatives, adults 21 and older in Michigan can now possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, as many as 15 grams of cannabis concentrates, and 12 cannabis plants. The executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Erik Altieri, said in a statement that he expects the legalization of cannabis to reduce arrests and increase tax revenue that Michigan can use to fund social programs.

Almost 60% of North Dakota voters voted against Measure 3, which would have not only legalized recreational cannabis use for adults 21 and older but also created a process for individuals with cannabis convictions to expunge their records, according to Ballotpedia. Opponents of the measure said it did not contain enough detail about how recreational cannabis would be regulated, according to The New York Times.

Though Utah and Missouri both legalized medical cannabis, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved their state’s legalization amendment while Utah’s Proposition 2 passed with just 53% of the vote. Utah residents suffering from certain illnesses and conditions, including HIV, cancer and PTSD, will now have access to medical cannabis. The passage of the Proposition also ensures that Utah physicians can recommend cannabis as pain medication.

More than 65% of voters voted to approve Missouri Amendment 2, which taxes cannabis sales at 4% and uses the tax revenue to fund health care services for veterans. Amendment 2 was one of three medical cannabis measures on the ballot and the only measure to pass.

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