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Running on Hate Update: Anti-Muslim Candidates Underperform in Last Night’s Elections

Last night marked the end of the 2018 election, allowing Muslim Advocates to create a preliminary analysis into how all anti-Muslim candidates performed since the 2016 election. The Running on Hate pre-election report dug deep into original research on how widespread and unpopular anti-Muslim campaigns are and Muslim Advocates will update this report in the coming weeks with final research.

Out of all 83 candidates tracked by the Running on Hate project in 2017 and 2018, only 19 candidates (23%) actually won their races, with 63 candidates (76%) losing or dropping out, and with one race (Brian Kemp in Georgia) still unresolved.

Of the 37 documented anti-Muslim candidates on the ballot last night:

  • Anti-Muslim incumbents suffered significant  losses in vote percentage, with an average of a 7% loss from their last election and 6.5% from their average vote totals of all past elections since 2012. A chart of all incumbents’ vote totals last night is below. Higher profile incumbents with significant drops in vote totals include:
    • Steve King of Iowa dropped almost 11% since his last election.
    • Peter King of New York dropped almost 9% since his last election.
    • Duncan Hunter of California dropped more than 9% since his last election.
    • Ted Cruz of Texas dropped almost 6% since his last election.
  • More than half (19) lost, including Kris Kobach in Kansas and several anti-Muslim incumbents who were ejected by challengers, including Congressman Dave Brat in Virginia and several state representatives in Minnesota.
  • All five anti-Muslim candidates in Minnesota lost (Newberger, Johnson, Wardlow, Lohmer, Pugh), as did both of Virginia’s anti-Muslim candidates (Brat and Stewart).
  • High-profile anti-Muslim Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis won his election.
  • All but three anti-Muslim winners were incumbents, and most of those incumbents won with historically low percentages, and no anti-Muslim challenger defeated an incumbent.

“It’s rare that any one factor is responsible for an election result, but the midterm trends have made clear that these campaigns are successful at inflaming bigotry and violence against American Muslims, but not much else,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director at Muslim Advocates. “If candidates won’t listen to their conscience, hopefully they’ll listen to the voters. So many anti-Muslim candidates have lost or underperformed, because, as polling shows, they only appeal to a small and hostile sliver of the electorate and lead to voter backlash. Anti-Muslim rhetoric damages communities and can be linked to the unprecedented rise of anti-Muslim hate across the country, and it must be stopped.”

Muslim Advocates is a 501(c)(3) charity and does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.

Graph of Anti-Muslim incumbent vote totals in November 6, 2018 General Elections

Candidate State Office Jurisdiction Vote Difference from All Past Elections Vote Difference from Last Election 2018

%

Avg of Past

Elections

2016

%

2014

%

2012

%

Scott Perry PA Congress 10th Won -15.37% -14.70% 51.40% 66.77% 66.10% 74.50% 59.70%
Duncan Hunter CA Congress 50th Won -13.27% -9.30% 54.20% 67.47% 63.50% 71.20% 67.70%
Pete Olson TX Congress 22nd Won -11.93% -8.10% 51.40% 63.33% 59.50% 66.50% 64%
Dave Brat VA Congress 7th Lost -10.45% -8.80% 48.70% 59.15% 57.50% 60.80%
Jonathan Stickland TX State Rep District 92 Won -9.79% -5.81% 49.83% 59.62% 55.64% 63.60%
Brian Babin TX Congress 36th Won -9.70% -16.00% 72.60% 82.30% 88.60% 76%
Cindy Pugh MN State Rep District 33B Loss -8.25% -10.00% 50.43% 58.68% 60.43% 61.20% 54.40%
Steve King IA Congress 4th Won -8.20% -10.80% 50.40% 58.60% 61.20% 61.60% 53%
Peter King NY Congress 2nd Won -6.43% -8.80% 53.30% 59.73% 62.10% 64.90% 52.20%
Kathy Lohmer MN State Rep District 39B Loss -5.93% -9.40% 49.65% 55.58% 59.05% 54.60% 53.10%
Ted Cruz TX U.S. Senator Statewide Won -5.60% -5.60% 50.90% 56.50% 56.50%
Jeff Duncan SC Congress 3rd Won -2.37% -5.00% 67.80% 70.17% 72.80% 71.20% 66.50%
Louie Gohmert TX Congress 1st Won -1.97% -1.60% 72.30% 74.27% 73.90% 77.50% 71.40%
Paul Gosar AZ Congress 4th Won 0% -2.50% 69% 69.43% 71.50% 70% 66.80%
Clay Higgins LA Congress 3rd Won -0.40% -0.40% 55.70% 56.10% 56.10%
Jason Rapert AR State Senator District 35 Won -0.35% -1.60% 55.20% 55.55% 56.80% 54.30%
Brian Mast FL Congress 18th Won 0.80% 0.80% 54.40% 53.60% 53.60%