Watching from the West Coast: As ballots are counted across the nation's time zones Tuesday, use this cheat sheet to track some of the top races.

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With dozens of competitive races around the country and waves of poll-closing times, there’s a lot to monitor in the 2018 midterm elections. Here’s a cheat sheet we prepped to track some of the top races as Election Day progresses on Tuesday.

Be sure to also follow along on our live coverage all day Tuesday, as we’ll be posting regular updates on the election results, the victors, trends and who will control the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the governor’s mansions that are up for a vote.


  • 3 p.m. Pacific (6 p.m. EST): The first indicators

Poll closings: Parts of Indiana and Kentucky

The first polls to close are in parts of Indiana and Kentucky, which could provide an early glimpse at trends. The most competitive race to watch here is Kentucky’s 6th District between Republican incumbent Andy Barr and Democratic challenger Amy McGrath. The race has been one of the most expensive in the country.

Another race to watch is Indiana’s 9th District. Election forecasters believe Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth is likely to keep his seat, but if Democratic challenger Liz Watson wins, it could be an early indication of a blue wave.

If there’s a red wave, on the other hand, it could show up in the race for Senate in Indiana. Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly has had a slight edge in recent polls as he seeks to keep his seat over Republican challenger Mike Braun, but a Republican win here would likely solidify the party’s control of the chamber.


  • 4 p.m. Pacific (7 p.m. EST): Watching the South

Poll closings: Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Parts of Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

Two big races for governor here: In Georgia, the race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp has drawn national attention, including recent campaigning from Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. We’ll also be watching the contentious race for governor in Florida, between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum.

On the congressional side, keep an eye on the results in Florida’s race for U.S. Senate, with Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson against Republican Rick Scott. Florida’s most-competitive House races include the 15th District and the 26th District. Meanwhile, Virginia has close races in the 5th District and 7th District.


  • 4:30 p.m. Pacific (7:30 p.m. EST): Any sign of a red or blue wave?

Poll closings: North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. 

The Senate races in these states aren’t expected to be close. Republicans have an edge in many of the close House races here, so keep an eye on any signs that the Democrats are exceeding expectations with wins in the North Carolina 9th, North Carolina 13th or the Ohio 12th. They could claim even more in the event of a major wave. Republicans, meanwhile, can’t afford to lose those seats if they hope to keep control of the House.

We’ll also be watching Ohio’s race for governor, between Democratic candidate Richard Cordray and GOP candidate Mike DeWine, which is viewed as a tossup and has been one of the most expensive campaigns in the country.


  • 5 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. EST): Control of the Senate

Poll closings: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Parts of Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.

This big batch of poll closings includes most of Texas. A lot of eyes will be on the Senate race there between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke. Cruz is widely seen as the favorite to win, but an O’Rourke upset could put Democrats on a path to claim control of the U.S. Senate. Similarly, if Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota can hold her seat against Republican Kevin Cramer, that would be an upset that could boost the Democrats.

At the same time, polls will be closing in Missouri, where Republicans are trying to oust Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. A win by Republican candidate Josh Hawley would likely ensure the GOP retains its Senate majority.


  • 6 p.m. Pacific (9 p.m. EST): Counting the seats

Poll closings: Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Parts of Kansas, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas. Arkansas closes at 5:30 p.m. Pacific.

Another big batch of poll closings. By now, we should have a sense of whether Democrats have a chance to claim control of House or Senate or both or neither.

If it’s looking close, keep an eye on the Arizona race for Senate, New Mexico’s 2nd District, Kansas’ 2nd District, New York’s 19th and New York’s 22nd. Minnesota has three close races in the state’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts. And there’s lots more here that could jumble the outcome of who controls the House. One race that isn’t expected to be close is that of New York’s 14th District, where Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who is expected to be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

And in Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker will find out whether he keeps his seat against Democratic challenger Tony Evers in another race that’s drawn a lot of outside attention.


  • 7 p.m. Pacific (10 p.m. EST): The last close Senate races

Poll closings: Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah. Parts of Idaho and Oregon.

If control of the Senate hasn’t been determined before this point, two races here should determine the outcome. The Nevada race for U.S. Senate (Republican Sen. Dean Heller against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen) is one of the closest in the country, so eyes will be on that one when polls close to see if Democrats can pick up a seat. But also keep watch on the Senate race in Montana (Democratic Sen. Jon Tester against Republican Matt Rosendale), where Republicans are looking for gains.

Iowa represents two more chances for Democrats to pick up House seats, with close races in the 1st District and 3rd District. Utah’s 4th District is another opportunity. In Iowa’s 4th District, Democrats have also been targeting Republican Rep. Steve King over his past support for white-supremacist groups, but he is favored to retain his seat.


  • 8 p.m. Pacific (11 p.m. EST): Washington state results

Poll closings: California, Hawaii and Washington. Parts of Idaho and Oregon.

Washington state’s first wave of results arrives. We’ve got a whole primer here on the state’s closely-watched initiatives. The 8th District race between Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier was one of the costliest House campaigns in the country. And if there’s a big Democratic wave happening, the 3rd District and 5th District may also be in play.

Polls also close at this point in California, which has several close congressional races, and most of Oregon, where Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has been facing a tough challenge from Republican Knute Buehler in a state that hasn’t had a GOP governor in three decades.


  • 9 p.m. Pacific (midnight EST): Alaska

The governor’s race in Alaska has been chaotic, with independent Gov. Bill Walker dropping out of a three-way race last month and endorsing Democratic candidate Mark Begich over Republican Mike Dunleavy.

The state also has a competitive congressional race, with Democratic challenger Alyse Galvin looking to unseat Republican incumbent Don Young.