vision 2020

The Swing State Experts to Follow on Election Night

Election office workers process mail-in ballots in Orlando, Florida. Photo: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Even before the pandemic and the White House’s escalation of Republican voter suppression efforts upended the election, Tuesday night was going to be a complex affair. But with an unprecedented level of complications frustrating the Trump-Biden race, staying abreast of the red mirages, blue waves, and idiosyncrasies of swing-state voters is a tremendous ask of a captive audience who may still be reeling, all these years later, from the harsh oscillations of a certain vote-tracking needle.

To help stay ahead of the panic, or at least to better understand one’s own anxieties, Intelligencer has compiled some must-read reporters covering the race in crucial swing-states, as well as a few pundits at the national level who are the least wrong, most of the time. Below, and collected in this Twitter list, are the key voices that will help you stay ahead of the networks in the states that are up in the air.


Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
Sanchez, the host of the savvy Arizona politics podcast The Gaggle, covers the state (in which Democrats have seen their greatest gains since 2016) and all the unusual developments that come with Maricopa County any given election year.


Mark Caputo
Covering the Sunshine election for Politico, Caputo delivers straightforward analysis of Florida’s unique electorate along with more service-oriented tweets for when voters should stop mailing in ballots and start dropping them off in person.

David Smiley
Considering the importance of Broward County to Democrats’ chances to win Florida, checking up with Miami Herald politics reporters like Smiley can lend some insight into the south Florida region that was pivotal to the 2000 election — considered a precursor to the potentially-contested election ahead.


Greg Bluestein
A political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bluestein has been covering three surprisingly competitive races — for the White House and two senate seats — in a state that last went blue for Bill Clinton and hasn’t had a Democratic senator since 2003, providing context for how Republicans are doubling-down on their base rather than seeking out swing voters.


Brianne Pfannenstiel
For obvious reasons, the Des Moines Register has a more robust politics desk than your average mid-sized midwestern city, and as chief politics reporter, Pfannenstiel helped guide us through the disastrous caucuses in February. Now, she’s reporting on the race between incumbent Joni Ernst and Democrat Theresa Greenfield — including a COVID outbreak in her camp — and all the farm references that entails.

Pat Rynard
Rynard, the founder of Iowa Starting Line, provides digestible analyses of state-level politics and his breakouts of absentee ballot statistics help reveal how early-voting will affect the count in the Buckeye state.


Jonathan Oosting
A politics correspondent for the state-focused news site Bridge Michigan, Oosting’s recent reporting includes the emergency appeal to reinstate a ban on open-carry firearms at polling places on Tuesday.


Jon Ralston
The editor of the Nevada Independent is considered a one-stop shop for political observations in the tricky swing-state and was one of the few local commentators to co-host a primary this year.


Seth A. Richardson
Biden has gained considerably in other midwestern areas that flipped from Obama to Trump, but Ohio remains one of the crucial swing states in which the president still holds the advantage. To help understand how the late boost of national spending in the state may have affected the candidates’ chances, check in with Richardson, the lead politics reporter at the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.


Jonathan Tamari
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s national political writer has a worthy self-assessment of his recent reporting:


Evan Smith
With Texas in play for the first time in decades, on Twitter, the CEO of the investigative outlet the Texas Tribune has managed Democratic hopes and provided hopeful statistics on voter turnout.

Patrick Sivtek
The primary political correspondent at the Tribune has assembled a comprehensive guide to the entire Lone Star ticket — an especially important year in which a toss-up at the top of the ballot could have significant effects in a state legislature reliably controlled by Republicans.


Jessie Opoien
Opoien is the opinion editor at the Capital Times and has supplied keen analysis of what could be the defining state in 2020, where Wisconsinites have faced roiling outbreaks, a Trump-Biden swing, protests over police brutality, and far-right reactionary violence.


Astead Herndon
This national politics correspondent at the New York Times has not only been criss-crossing the nation throughout the pandemic to report out and analyze swing-state electorates, he’s also one of the few political voices on Twitter that’s genuinely, devastatingly funny.

Nate Silver and Nate Cohn
Though the polling experts at FiveThirtyEight and the Times have devoted their careers to preparing the anxious for election nights, they’ve left plenty of time to bicker with each other.

Dave Wasserman
You may have seen enough of Wasserman by the time the sun comes up, but the House editor of the Cook Political Report makes some of the fastest and most accurate calls in the game.

The Swing State Experts to Follow on Election Night