Election Countdown: Midterm fallout | What we learned | What to watch next | Trump calls out lawmakers who lost | A look at the undecided races | Vote deepens urban, rural divide | Women help deliver Dems House | McConnell thanks Trump for Senate gains

Election Countdown: Midterm fallout | What we learned | What to watch next | Trump calls out lawmakers who lost | A look at the undecided races | Vote deepens urban, rural divide | Women help deliver Dems House | McConnell thanks Trump for Senate gains
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This is Election Countdown, The Hill's newsletter from Lisa Hagen (@LA_Hagen) and Max Greenwood (@KMaxGreenwood) that brings you the biggest stories on the campaign trail. We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out to Lisa at LHagen@thehill.com and Max at MGreenwood@thehill.com. with any questions, comments, criticisms or food recommendations (mostly the latter, please). Click here to sign up.

 

We're 727 days away from the 2020 elections.

 

Election Day has come and gone, and there's a lot to take in. Democrats took back the House for the first time since 2010, while Republicans protected--and expanded--their Senate majority.

The split night was indicative of the vastly different maps in the House and Senate and the emerging divide between urban and rural voters.

 

There's a lot of things to digest, so we'll guide you through what happened last night (and early this morning), the big picture trends and what this all means going forward:

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Some of the immediate takeaways from the midterms are that in the House, Democrats made gains in the suburbs due to factors such as the backlash to President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE and demographic changes that are shifting some districts left. One of those states where Democrats had a great night in the suburbs is Virginia, which solidified its blue-state status on Tuesday night. Democrats picked up seats in the coveted 10th Virginia Congressional District -- in the Washington, D.C. suburbs -- as well as GOP-leaning Virginia's 2nd and 7th Districts.

 

In another "Year of the Woman," women played a central role in helping to deliver Democrats the House majority, The Hill's Lisa Hagen and Max Greenwood report. Of the 27 seats that Democrats have so far flipped, female nominees won in 18 of them.

 

Plus, it was a night of first for Democrats: Sharice Davids in Kansas and Debra Haaland in New Mexico are the first two Native-American women to be elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas.

 

Meanwhile, Republicans defied electoral headwinds and picked up seats in the Senate, with victories in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota. Holding the Senate gives Trump a firewall in Congress as Democrats in the House look to thwart the White House agenda and intensify scrutiny of Trump. It also shows that Trump was able to motivate red-state voters without being on the ballot.

 

So where do we go from here? There'll be a leadership scramble as Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE looks to reclaim the speakership (more on that below). Keep an eye on any developments regarding special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's Russia investigation and whether Democrats' new House majority will seek to pursue impeachment proceedings. More White House staff shake-ups could be on the horizon, with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Trump-aligned group launches ad campaign hitting Doug Jones on impeachment ICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report MORE's resignation less than 24 hours after the midterms. And of course, everyone is wondering what this all means for 2020 and how many Democrats will actually run to take on Trump.

Read more about what to watch post-midterms from The Hill's Bob Cusack and Ian Swanson.

 

Trump on the midterms

President Trump on Wednesday took a victory lap after the midterm elections, saying Republicans defied the odds by stopping a so-called "blue wave" of Democrats from taking control of both chambers of Congress, The Hill's Jordan Fabian reports.

"There was a big day yesterday. Incredible day," Trump said during a White House news conference. "The Republican Party defied history to expand our Senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House."

Trump suffered a major blow on Tuesday when the GOP lost control of the House, but the president has downplayed that defeat, arguing he feels vindicated by the results in the Senate, where Republicans look like they'll gain three or four seats.

 

Trump also called out by name several GOP House lawmakers who lost their reelection bids the night before, saying they failed because they distanced themselves from his administration and policies, reports The Hill's Morgan Chalfant.

"You had some that decided to, let's stay away, let's stay away. They did very poorly," Trump said. "I'm not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it."

"I saw Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveThe biggest political upsets of the decade Former GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets have to stop Congressional Women's Softball team releases roster MORE, she called me all the time to help her with a hostage situation, being held hostage in Venezuela," Trump said of the Utah Republican. "But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia."

 

Senate showdown

Republicans had a good night in the Senate. Republican candidates notched key victories in Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri, while the closely watched race in Arizona remains up in the air. Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerLobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report MORE (R-Nev.) became the Republicans' only casualty of the night in the upper chamber after he fell to Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenSenate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Hillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs MORE (D-Nev.). Still, that means that the GOP netted at least two more seats in their quest to expand their Senate majority.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' Trump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE (R-Ky.) is hailing Trump for those gains. He called the president on Tuesday to thank him for boosting GOP candidates in key Senate races. Trump campaigned for Republicans aggressively in recent weeks, making trips to states that ended up delivering crucial Senate victories for the GOP on Election Day.

 

Republicans may have secured victories in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri. But Democrats scored a coveted win in the Nevada Senate race, as well as in West Virginia, where Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats Manchin, Jones signal they're undecided on Trump removal vote Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Dems' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump MORE (D) beat back a challenge from state Republican attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Meanwhile, in Montana, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats cry foul over Schiff backlash Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Nadler gets under GOP's skin MORE (D) held onto his seat after trailing Republican Matt Rosendale for much of the night.

 

The fate of Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world Bottom Line MORE (D) in Florida remains unclear. Vote tallies show him locked in a tight race with Republican Rick Scott, the state's term-limited governor. Nelson isn't conceding and the race appears headed for a recount.

 

Wave watch

Democrats ended two years of one-party rule in Washington, sweeping more than two dozen House seats to reclaim a majority in the chamber. The victories were the results of nearly two years of Democratic ambitions to make gains in states and districts that Trump carried in 2016. Perhaps most notable were the party's pick-ups in suburban districts, where diverse and college-educated voters helped propel Democratic candidates to victory.

 

In retaking the House, Democrats have positioned themselves as a significant check on Trump. In the majority, they'll have the power to launch inquiries and set the legislative agenda in the chamber for at least the next two years.

 

While Democrats were largely expected to seize the House majority, their victory on Tuesday brought with it some surprises. In South Carolina's 1st District, Republican Katie Arrington was defeated by Democrat Joe Cunningham in a race that election handicappers had rated as favoring the GOP. In Oklahoma's 5th District, Democrat Kendra Horn pulled off a surprise win to oust Rep. Steve RussellSteven (Steve) Dane RussellThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House Oklahoma New Members 2019 MORE (R). And in New York's 11th District, Rep. Dan Donovan (R) lost his bid for a third-term to Democrat Max Rose.

 

As political observers scrambled to analyze the outcomes of Election Day, a number of key races – many in California – remained uncalled. Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade George Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa MORE's (R-Calif.) fate was unclear as returns showed his Democratic opponent Harley Rouda with a narrow lead.

 

Among the other races in which results remained unclear was in North Carolina's 9th District, where Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready were separated by less than 1 point. In Texas, Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (R) is locked in a virtual dead heat with Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. The Associated Press had initially called the race for Hurd, but later retracted the decision as more votes trickled in.

 

Less than 24 hours after voters delivered the string of victories to Democrats, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced that its chair, Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversKoch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing plans Financial sector's work on SAFE Banking Act shows together, everyone achieves more MORE (R-Ohio) would step down from his post. A number of Republicans have already thrown their names into the running to replace Stivers, including Reps. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House GOP campaign chief: Members 'need to get their act together and raise more money' House GOP campaign arm faces ethics complaint over 'trackers' in Capitol buildings MORE (R-Minn.) and Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerDCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements GOP can beat Democrats after impeachment — but it needs to do this one thing Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' MORE (R-Mo.).

 

State watch

Andrew GIllum's hard-fought race for Florida governor fizzled out Tuesday as poll returns showed the Tallahassee mayor trailing Republican Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida Supreme Court rules convicted felons must pay fines, fees before voting Florida moves to purchase land to protect Everglades from oil drilling Top Latino group: Trump is about to hold a 'fake Christian campaign rally' MORE by a narrow -- yet insurmountable -- 1-point margin. "I sincerely regret that I couldn't bring it home for you," Gillum said in an emotional concession speech. "But I can guarantee you this, I'm not going anywhere." DeSantis' victory holds down a key governorship for Republicans, after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE's narrow 2016 loss in Florida raised Democratic hopes of reclaiming the governor's mansion.

 

Meanwhile, in Georgia, the race for the governor's mansion remains up in the air. Republican Brian Kemp is leading Democrat Stacey Abrams by less than 2 points and she's not conceding. Abrams is instead hoping for a runoff election that'll give her one more shot at defeating Kemp. In Georgia, a runoff is triggered only when neither candidate receives 50 percent of the vote.

 

Democrats also managed to flip seven governor's mansions, including in Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Mexico and Nevada. But out of those, two stand out. In Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Republican Kris Kobach, the conservative secretary of State. And in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R), one of the nation's most polarizing governors, lost his reelection bid to Democrat Tony Evers, bringing his nearly eight-year tenure to an end.

 

Race for the Speaker's gavel

Nancy Pelosi has to overcome a potential math problem in her quest to regain the Speaker's gavel. A dozen Democratic candidates who won Tuesday night have been critical of the California Democrat, while 12 incumbents have said they'll oppose Pelosi next year. With a smaller majority, that poses a problem for Pelosi. But some Democrats say not to count Pelosi out given that she's a fundraising juggernaut and she's made history of her own as the first female Speaker. Plus, of the 12 Democrats who were critical of Pelosi, only three have actually vowed to oppose her unconditionally. The other nine have given themselves some more wiggle room.

 

Trump said Wednesday that Pelosi "deserves" to be the next Speaker and suggested that some Republicans could vote to make that happens--a sentiment the president said wasn't sarcastic when asked about it at a marathon press conference from the White House on Wednesday.

 

Aside form Pelosi, other Democrats have already thrown their hats in the ring for leadership positions. Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate MORE (D-Md.), the minority whip, announced his plans to stay at the No. 2 spot next year and run for majority leader, while Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also wants to maintain his No. 3 spot and vie for the role of majority whip. Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteOvernight Energy: Critics question data behind new Trump water rule | Groups seek more time to comment on Trump environmental rollback | EPA under scrutiny over backlog of toxic waste cleanups Democrats demand plan as EPA hits largest backlog of toxic waste cleanups in 15 years Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides MORE (D-Colo.), though, is launching a challenge to Clyburn for that spot. And Reps. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea Bustos Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (D-Ill.) and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Smaller companies testify against Big Tech's 'monopoly power' Living in limbo may end for Liberians in the US MORE (D-R.I.) have announced bids for the assistant leader position.

 

Meanwhile on the Republican side, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules MORE (R-Ohio), a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced in an interview with Hill.TV on Wednesday that he intends to seek the minority leader post.