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 TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmaker: 'There's plenty of competent females' that can be Speaker instead of Pelosi Marcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP MORE looks to reclaim the speakership (more on that below). Keep an eye on any developments regarding special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 SessionsMulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Graham: Trump’s new AG has ‘concerns’ about criminal justice bill Kentucky shooting suspect charged with federal hate crimes 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) LoveElection Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Election Countdown: Hyde-Smith's 'public hanging' joke shakes up Mississippi runoff | New lawsuits in Florida | Trump wants Florida election official fired | Mia Love sues to stop Utah vote count | Republican MacArthur loses NJ House race Mia Love suing to stop vote count in Utah 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 HellerCortez Masto named Dem Senate campaign chairwoman Nevada New Members 2019 Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February MORE (R-Nev.) became the Republicans' only casualty of the night in the upper chamber after he fell to Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — House, Senate leaders named as Pelosi lobbies for support to be Speaker Nevada New Members 2019 Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February 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 McConnellSenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill On The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown 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) ManchinSchumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader Mellman: The triumph of partisanship Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle MORE (D) beat back a challenge from state Republican attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Meanwhile, in Montana, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCortez Masto poised to become DSCC chair Mellman: The triumph of partisanship VA under pressure to deliver Trump reforms MORE (D) held onto his seat after trailing Republican Matt Rosendale for much of the night.

 

The fate of Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida not using Broward County's recount tally because it uploaded results 2 minutes late Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP DeSantis holds lead over Gillum after recount 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 RussellOklahoma New Members 2019 Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress Record number of female veterans to serve in next Congress 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 RohrabacherDemocratic gains erasing House GOP in California California New Members 2019 McCarthy defeats Jordan for minority leader in 159-to-43 vote 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 HurdElection Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Midterm results shake up national map Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February 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 StiversDemocrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants 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 EmmerMcCarthy defeats Jordan for minority leader in 159-to-43 vote House Republicans set to elect similar team of leaders despite midterm thumping Conservative groups call for new slate of House GOP leaders MORE (R-Minn.) and Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerMidterm results shake up national map House Republicans set to elect similar team of leaders despite midterm thumping Conservative groups call for new slate of House GOP leaders 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 DeSantisElection Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP DeSantis holds lead over Gillum after recount Florida Senate race heads to a hand recount 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 ClintonDemocrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters Former Facebook security chief: 'I failed to prepare my employer' on Russian disinformation Rand Paul: Facebook must 'convince conservatives they're not the enemy' 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 HoyerMarcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up Pelosi and her opponents voice confidence over Speakership battle Clyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid 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 DeGetteClyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid The Hill's Morning Report — Washington resets after midterms, Sessions fired 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 MORE (D-Colo.), though, is launching a challenge to Clyburn for that spot. And Reps. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosFudge: I have been 'overwhelmed' by support for possible Speaker bid Insurgents seek female challenger to replace Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Trump taps acting attorney general to lead Justice Department MORE (D-Ill.) and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineDem rep slams Facebook: It 'cannot be trusted to regulate itself' Number of LGBT lawmakers in Congress hits double digits Momentum builds for Dems to take on campaign finance reform MORE (D-R.I.) have announced bids for the assistant leader position.

 

Meanwhile on the Republican side, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanElection Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Heads up, GOP: Elections have consequences Gaetz goes to bat with Trump on Jordan 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.