An Hour-by-Hour Guide to Watching Election Night 2018

These are the races to watch to get the best sense of the political landscape

With well more than 100 competitive House and Senate contests happening on Tuesday, keeping track of the big picture on Election Day could seem pretty daunting. 

Polls start closing at 6 p.m., and we’ll start seeing voter data that could give us a sense of how each party is faring — and how real a potential blue wave might be. Watch results for Kentucky in the 6 p.m. hour, as well as Georgia, Indiana and Virginia in the 7 p.m. hour. Florida, Maine, New Jersey and Tennesse are ones to watch when polls close at 8 p.m. and Arizona, Minnesota, New York and Texas will close at 9 p.m. Also keep an eye on the West Coast (California and Washington) when polls close at 11 p.m.

The NBC News Political Unit has identified key races that will tell the story of Election Night 2018 as it evolves. These are the ones we’ve identified as being the most informative about the political landscape.

Keep in mind: Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to gain back control of the United States House, while they need a net gain of two to gain the majority in the Senate. Democrats are favored by most analysts, including NBC News, to reach their goal in the House; Republicans have the advantage to maintain their dominance in the Senate.

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