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 TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment 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 PelosiDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate Siren song of impeachment lures Democrats toward election doom MORE looks to reclaim the speakership (more on that below). Keep an eye on any developments regarding special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 SessionsFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings Trump attends football game with Jeff Sessions' Alabama Senate race opponent Bradley Byrne Impeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship 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) LoveFormer GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets have to stop Congressional Women's Softball team releases roster The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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 HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) became the Republicans' only casualty of the night in the upper chamber after he fell to Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon 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 Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill 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 McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate 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) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (D) beat back a challenge from state Republican attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Meanwhile, in Montana, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates Manchin says he wouldn't back Sanders against Trump in presidential race MORE (D) held onto his seat after trailing Republican Matt Rosendale for much of the night.

 

The fate of Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonBottom Line Bottom Line Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity 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 RohrabacherGeorge Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz 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 HurdRetirements pose threat to cybersecurity expertise in Congress Democrats challenge election laws in battleground states Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry 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 StiversWaters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing plans Financial sector's work on SAFE Banking Act shows together, everyone achieves more GOP ratchets up 2020 attacks as impeachment storm grows 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 EmmerGeorge Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement Walden retirement adds to GOP election woes MORE (R-Minn.) and Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerBottom Line On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Tensions flare as Democrats urge consumer bureau to boost penalties 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 DeSantisSaagar Enjeti: Republicans lost Kentucky by failing to appeal to working class Saagar Enjeti: Republicans lost Kentucky by screwing the working class Burr promises bill to tax scholarships of student athletes who profit off their likenesses 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 ClintonFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Top diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Feehery: What Republicans must do to adapt to political realignment 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 HoyerCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry 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 DeGetteTrump health chief declines to detail ObamaCare replacement plan A dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal FDA under pressure to move fast on vaping MORE (D-Colo.), though, is launching a challenge to Clyburn for that spot. And Reps. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosLongtime GOP Rep. Pete King won't seek reelection in New York House Democrats target Latino vote in Texas Impeachment inquiry might be public by mid-November: report MORE (D-Ill.) and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks Critics fear Google's power in Fitbit deal Google to acquire Fitbit for .1 billion MORE (D-R.I.) have announced bids for the assistant leader position.

 

Meanwhile on the Republican side, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWhite House struggles to get in sync on impeachment Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry 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.