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 TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ 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 PelosiVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' On The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions 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 Sessions5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony AG pick Barr emphasizes independence from Trump Hillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news 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) LoveWomen’s equality not just ‘firsts’ CBS News in talks to hire Flake: report Former reps Mia Love, Luis Gutiérrez join CNN as commentators 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 HellerTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems MORE (R-Nev.) became the Republicans' only casualty of the night in the upper chamber after he fell to Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenInflux of women in Congress can improve women’s retirement security Overnight Health Care: DOJ seeks extension in ObamaCare lawsuit due to shutdown | Poll finds voters oppose court ruling against health law Press: White House not only for white males 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 McConnellOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Mellman: Why does the GOP persist? Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight 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) ManchinLeaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks The Hill's Morning Report — No new negotiations as shutdown hits 25 days MORE (D) beat back a challenge from state Republican attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Meanwhile, in Montana, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSome Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Three GOP Senate candidates, NRA may have illegally coordinated ads: report Immigration is pressure point for both sides in shutdown showdown 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 lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida 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 Russell5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House Oklahoma 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 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 RohrabacherA timeline of the Mueller probe’s biggest developments Rohrabacher eyes new career as a screenwriter after losing reelection Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results 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 HurdLatest funding bill to reopen the government fails in House GOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House Juan Williams: Trump's wall is founded on fiction 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 StiversHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism House Democrats offer measures to censure Steve King 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 EmmerGOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House Steve King faces new storm over remarks about white supremacy Jeb Bush: GOP leaders need to 'actively support' primary challenger for Steve King MORE (R-Minn.) and Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerGOP scrambles to prevent shutdown after right-wing insurrection Congress must restrain power of new consumer financial director GOP congresswoman says she opted out of NRCC run because McCarthy had 'a different plan' 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 governor announces sheriff's suspension over Parkland shooting DeSantis asks entire South Florida water management board to resign Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report 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 ClintonGillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Former PepsiCo CEO being considered for World Bank chief post: report Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing 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 HoyerSenate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Hoyer introducing legislation to block Trump from lifting sanctions on Russian companies Democrats turn down White House invitation for shutdown talks 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 Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions Democrats seek early victories on drug prices MORE (D-Colo.), though, is launching a challenge to Clyburn for that spot. And Reps. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosGOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House Dem rep: ‘Partial wall’ is fine The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi MORE (D-Ill.) and David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news Dems introduce bills to block offshore drilling Conway's husband rips Trump for saying Tlaib 'dishonored' herself with profane call for impeachment MORE (D-R.I.) have announced bids for the assistant leader position.

 

Meanwhile on the Republican side, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRepublicans request update on investigation into ex-FBI official accused of leaks GOP lawmakers rip Dems for calling Cohen to testify Jordan renews call for Rosenstein to testify 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.