Voters split their tickets between both political parties in state and national races Tuesday, with split ticketing playing a vital role in some of the midterm elections’ key races, according to data.
New Hampshire, Kansas, Vermont, Arizona, and Georgia all saw split ticketing play an integral role in their elections, with their respective senators and governors elected or leading from different parties, according to data compiled by Axios. Ohio also witnessed some split ticketing, but both Republicans ended up winning the Senate and gubernatorial races.
Split ticketing in Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp (R) won his reelection over Stacey Abrams, has forced the Senate election into a runoff between the Trump-backed Herschel Walker (R) and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), which will take place on Dec. 6. Although Kemp won his election, Walker is currently trailing Warnock, according to the latest polls.
Arizona’s gubernatorial election shows Republican candidate Kari Lake in a tight race with her opponent, Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). However, the Senate race showed Sen. Mark Kelly (D) leading newcomer Blake Masters (R) by a wider margin as of Thursday night. Neither race has been called.
Incumbency has also played a factor. The popular incumbent governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu (R), won his reelection Tuesday, securing a fourth term as governor, despite Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan winning her reelection. Kansas’s Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly also won reelection, and Republican Sen. Jerry Moran won reelection to the Senate.
Liam Kerr, the co-founder of the liberal Welcome PAC, said split-ticket voters are a “depolarizing force” in the current political climate.
“I think where the issues become really important is they create a way for a candidate to distance themselves from their party and have appeal as an individual,” Kerr told Newsweek. “Oftentimes, that means finding a really salient issue that matters to voters and showing that you’re closer to them than your party is.”
Split tickets have played an important role in previous midterm elections as well. In 2018, 13 of the 18 states that had Senate and gubernatorial elections on the ballot saw Republican Senate nominees receive far fewer votes than the GOP gubernatorial nominees, according to Newsweek. That gap was as wide as 17 percentage points in some states.