The results show Democratic voters, in particular, are more energized than they were the last time Michigan had a gubernatorial election with contested nominations in both parties. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, close to 2.1 million votes had been cast for governor, shattering recent turnout results for a midterm primary election. Democratic candidates for governor had received just over 1.1 million votes, while Republican candidates for governor had received about 975,000 votes.
Michigan’s record-breaking turnout—in August, no less—was the result of a three-way race that drew national attention, but there’s likely something else at work, too. Motivated by their opposition to President Donald Trump, Democratic voters are turning out to vote around the country. While Danny O’Connor is behind in his too-close-to-call special election for Ohio’s 12th congressional district, the fact that he is just a couple thousand votes short in a reliably conservative district—thanks to high voter turnout in suburban areas—is a clear warning sign for Republicans ahead of the November midterms. (O’Connor will face Troy Balderson again this fall.)
Results prior to Tuesday already spelled trouble for Republicans. “Democratic turnout has risen more sharply than Republican turnout in at least 123 congressional districts, including districts where Republican incumbents are most vulnerable, in states like California and New Jersey,” The New York Times reported in June. It’s still too early to declare that a blue wave will hit the GOP in November, but the forecast looks more convincing by the day.