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Editor’s Note: With the critical midterm elections that took place on Tuesday, we present a special election preview edition of This Week in Washington.

House wrap up

Control of the House of Representatives was never in question - Republicans were expected to not only hold the House but to actually expand on their majority.

The current House is made up of 234 Republicans, 199 Democrats and 2 vacancies. Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia projected that the post-election composite of the House would be 243 Republicans and 193 Democrats. With several races still yet to be called, it appears Republicans will exceed that projection. Indeed, Republicans should end up with roughly 250 seats. This will be the largest Republican majority in the House since 1930.

The Republican wave made for a very tough night for Democratic challengers, with only two Democrats winning in Republican-controlled seats: Gwen Graham (D-FL) defeated Rep. Steve Southerland in FL-2 and Brad Ashford (D-NE) defeated Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) in NE-2.

While Democrats struggled to pick up any GOP held seats, Republicans were picking up Democratic seats from coast to coast. In blue Maine, Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) won in the state's 2nd Congressional District over Emily Cain (D-ME). Republicans won in several reliably Democratic states: Republicans picked up three seats in New York, re-took a seat in suburban Chicago, won a solidly Democratic seat outside Las Vegas, and picked up two seats in California.

The GOP caucus also got more diverse, electing the first African-American GOP Congresswoman in Mia Love in Utah and the first openly gay Republican since Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) with Carl DeMaio's apparent win in California.

Senate wrap up

Unlike the House, there was a question about control of the Senate. Republicans needed to pickup a net of six seats to take control of the Senate. After Tuesday's election, it appears Republicans will likely net eight seats once the dust settles. Republicans, as expected, picked up seats in West Virginia, Montana, and South Dakota. They also picked up seats in Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, and Alaska. They are heavily favored in the Louisiana run-off, which would net another seat, and the race in Virginia is still too close to call.

COLORADO: Democrats really believed that they could hold this seat. Colorado has been trending Democratic over the last few election cycles, and President Obama carried the state twice. Republicans were fortunate to get a top flight recruit in Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO). The national wave was simply too much for incumbent Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) to overcome. Gardner won the critical Denver suburbs in route to a 48.5 to 46 percent loss.

IOWA: Iowa, like Colorado, has been trending Democratic over the last few election cycles. Republican Joni Ernst (R-IA) ran a tremendous campaign against the gaffe-prone Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA). Ernst won in convincing fashion, out-performing polling that showed the race very close. In the end, Ernst won by eight points - 52 to 44 percent.

The telegenic Ernst is immediately viewed as a rising star in the GOP and will be an important player in the 2016 Republican Presidential primary representing Iowa, which holds the primary kickoff in the form of the Iowa caucuses.

NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina has a habit of not re-electing the Senator who holds this seat, but heading into election night it appeared that Democrats would catch a break and that incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) would hold on against Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Despite the fact that Hagan ran what was widely seen as one of the best campaigns of the cycle, she was still unable to hold back the Republican wave in North Carolina. Despite meeting or exceeding expectations for turning out critical African-American voters, Hagan still fell to Tillis by a 49 to 47 percent margin.

Hagan's loss in North Carolina was one of the most surprising results of the night and one of the Democrats' biggest disappointments.

GEORGIA: Democrats had high hopes for Georgia going into Tuesday's vote. Michelle Nunn (D-GA) had run a strong campaign against David Perdue (R-GA) and polling had shown the race very close, with several polls showing Nunn with a single digit lead. While most observers believed the race was too close to call, most also believed that we wouldn't know who the winner was this week. Georgia law requires that a candidate win 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a run-off, and most experts believed the race was heading to a mid-January run-off.

Unfortunately for Democrats, we were able to call the race fairly early on election night, with David Perdue winning by a surprisingly large margin. Perdue ended up with 53 percent of the vote compared to Nunn's 45 percent.

KENTUCKY: National Democrats had high hopes for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) at the beginning of this cycle. They believed that the telegenic Grimes, who had been elected statewide in Kentucky, would be able to knock off Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The air came out of the Grimes campaign weeks ago as a result of several unforced errors by the candidate, and at the end of the day McConnell improved on his margins from his last election - particularly in Kentucky coal country, a once reliably Democratic part of the state. McConnell finished with 56 percent of the vote to Grimes' 41 percent

KANSAS: Democrats managed to get their nominee off the ballot, clearing the field for businessman Greg Orman (I-KS),who ran as an independent. Orman, who spent heavily on his campaign, was running slightly ahead of long time GOP Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) in pre-election polling.

Democrats were hoping that Orman could steal a seat from the GOP, boosting their chances of holding on to their Senate majority. At the end of the day, Kansas was simply too Republican and President Obama was simply too unpopular to allow Orman to win. What is most surprising about Roberts' win is not that he won, but the size of the win. Roberts defeated Orman by 10 points - 53 to 43 percent.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: There were very few pieces of good news on Tuesday night for Democrats, but one of those few rays of lights came from New Hampshire where incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) defeated former Senator Scott Brown (R-NH).

Pre-election polling had shown a very close race, with Brown having closed rapidly in the last few weeks of the campaign. Most believed that Shaheen would hold on unless there was a GOP wave. Shaheen held on despite the GOP wave, narrowly defeating Brown 51.5 to 48.5 percent.

LOUISIANA: Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) survived to fight another day, as expected. However, while moving on to a December runoff, Landrieu starts that race as a serious underdog.

On Tuesday, Landrieu secured 42 percent of the vote, which left 58 percent divided up between her Republican opponents. The lion's share (41 percent) of that was captured by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). In a bad sign for the already uphill fight for Landrieu, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced this week that it was cancelling television ad time it had reserved on behalf of Landrieu.

Never say never, but Republicans are very confident that they will win the runoff.

ALASKA: Despite the fact that 100% of the precincts are reporting, and despite the fact that Dan Sullivan (R-AK) leads incumbent Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), 49 to 45 percent, this race has not yet been called and the incumbent has not yet conceded.

The race remains up in the air because of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots. Begich's campaign claims there could be up to 50,000 of these votes and point out that he ended election night in 2008 trailing and wasn't declared the winner until these ballots were counted. Election observers, however, including some Begich allies, say that it is unlikely Begich can make up the 8,000 vote difference. Republicans will likely pick this seat up once all the votes are counted.

Republicans got another lucky break in Alaska when former GOP nominee and Tea Party-supported Joe Miller (R-AK) lost the primary to Dan Sullivan (R-AK). They also caught a break when Miller decided against a 3rd party or independent run in the general. Sullivan is the opponent who incumbent Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) least wanted to face in a general election. While Begich has attempted to distance himself from President Obama, the President’s unpopularity in deeply Republican Alaska has been a huge albatross to the incumbent.

ARKANSAS: Incumbent Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK) faced an incredibly tough environment for his re-election, giving the increasingly Republican electorate in the state and the unpopularity of both President Obama and the national Democratic Party.

Republicans nominated a youthful military vet, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AK), who rode the Republican wave to a large victory. Cotton defeated Pryor by a 56.5 to 39.5 percent margin.

VIRGINIA: Virginia wasn't in our election preview because incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) was expected to coast to a relatively easy victory over former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R-VA). Indeed, just a few weeks ago, Gillespie's campaign was declared dead when the candidate cancelled pre-election TV advertising.

Shockingly, the race remains too close to call. Gillespie ran up huge margins outside of northern Virginia, and with all but one precinct reporting Warner leads by the slimmest of margins - 49.2 to 48.4 percent. Just 17,000 votes out of more than 2 million cast separate the two candidates. In Virginia, a candidate can ask for a recount if the margin of victory is less than one percent.

Click here to view the Washington Business Brief video, "Congressman LaTourette with a special post-election wrap up."

New Senate committee chairs

With Democrats losing control of the Senate on Tuesday night, there are going to be some big changes coming to the Hill.  A new party in control means new committee chairs.  Below is what we anticipate the new Senate committee chairmanships will look like:

Committee

Chairman

Ranking Member

Aging

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Bob Casey (D-PA)

Agriculture

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Appropriations

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

Armed Services

John McCain (R-AZ)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Budget

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Banking

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Commerce

John Thune (R-SD)

Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Energy

Lisa Murkowski (R-AL)

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

EPW

James Inhofe (R-OK)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Finance

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Foreign Relations

Bob Corker (R-TN)

Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

HELP

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Patty Murray (D-WA)

Homeland Security and Gov’t Affairs

Ron Johnson (R-WI) or Rob Portman (R-OH)

Tom Carper (D-DL)

Judiciary

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Pat Leahy (D-VT)

Small Business

James Risch (R-ID)

Maria Cantwell (D-WA) or Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Veterans

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

 

Political bits                                    

A LOOK AHEAD

The House and Senate are in recess next week.

WASHINGTON BY THE NUMBERS

$100 million - Combined midterm election spending by Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners Action Fund, the organizations at the core of the Koch brothers' network.

3 million - Number of Frozen princess dresses sold at Disney retail stores, where they range in price from $49.95 to $99.95 

THEY SAID WHAT?

“I am the chairmaaaaaaaaaaan!" -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who will take over the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, waving a chair over her head at an Election Night party (NPR)

WASHINGTON HUMOR

"Next month Joe Biden is scheduled to make stops in Turkey, Ukraine, and Morocco to discuss foreign policy issues — while his advisers are learning how to say 'We're sorry' in all three languages." – Jimmy Fallon

 

 

 

 Steven C. LaTourette, President | 202.559.2600

McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC
101 Constitution Avenue NW, Suite 600 East, Washington, D.C. 20001 

www.mcdonaldhopkinsgs.com

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Although McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC is owned by the law firm McDonald Hopkins LLC, McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies is not a law firm and does not provide legal services. Accordingly, the retention of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies does not create a client-lawyer relationship and the protections of the client-lawyer relationship, such as attorney-client privilege and the ethics rules pertaining to conduct by lawyers, do not apply.

 

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