2018 Primary Scorecard
Throughout the 2018 primaries, Third Way tracked the pre-primary endorsements of non-incumbent Democratic candidates by organizations across the ideological spectrum from left to center in order to see what we could learn about who was winning this cycle.
After all the dust has settled, and despite countless pages of stories about the left’s takeover of the Democratic Party, the results show that the party’s preferred candidates and moderate candidates performed well, while leftwing insurgent groups failed to make a significant impact befitting comparisons to the Tea Party in 2010.
In fact, moderate candidates did especially well in swing districts that are key to winning a Democratic House majority while leftwing groups did best in safe Republican, and to a slightly lesser extent, safe Democratic areas.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) endorsed 41 candidates before their primaries. Of those, 39 won their primaries, giving them a 95% win rate. This was the highest score of any endorsements we tracked.
New Dem PAC
The New Dem PAC is the political action committee for the moderate New Democrat Coalition in the House. They endorsed 37 candidates before their primaries. Of those, 32 won, giving them an 86% win rate—the second best of the organizations we tracked. They also have an additional 11 candidates that they endorsed after their primaries, so they have 43 endorsed candidates going into the general election.
These 43 candidates are primarily in districts that Cook Political Report rates as neither Safe Democratic nor Safe Republican—meaning they are competitive in November. Thirty-nine of their candidates are in competitive general elections.
There were three major leftwing groups endorsing Bernie-style candidates this cycle: Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, and Our Revolution.1
Our Revolution endorsed 57 candidates, but only 21 won, giving the organization a 37% win rate. Of their 21 wins, 11 are in districts that Cook Political Report rates as safe Republican, and four are in safe Democratic districts. That means they only have six candidates in competitive elections in November.
Justice Democrats endorsed 72 candidates, but only 22 won, giving them a 31% win rate. Of their 22 wins, 12 are in districts that Cook Political Report rates as safe Republican, four are in safe Democratic districts, and one is in a Democrat vs. Democrat general election. That means they only have five candidates in competitive elections against Republicans in November.
Brand New Congress
Brand New Congress endorsed 27 candidates, but only eight won, giving them a 30% win rate. Of their eight wins, six are in districts that Cook Political Report rates as safe Republican, one is in a safe Democratic district, and one is in a Democrat vs. Democrat general election. None of their candidates are in competitive general elections against Republicans.
This list includes all Senate, House, and Governor endorsements that occurred before the primary. Endorsements for incumbents are not included. If a candidate was uncontested in their primary, their nomination counts as a win.