The Hill's Morning Report — Split decision: Dems take House, GOP retains Senate majority

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report and it’s Wednesday! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!) On Twitter, find us at @joneasley and @asimendinger.


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Voters gave Democrats a majority in the House last night, shaking up the balance of power in Washington and giving Democrats oversight and subpoena authority to investigate President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE and his administration for 2019 and 2020.

It was a very good night, however, for Republicans in the Senate, where the GOP is poised to add to its 51-49 majority, once the final outcomes in a handful of races are confirmed. Republican senators vowed to continue the president’s work of confirming conservatives across the judiciary.

The Hill: Blue wave runs into Trump’s red wall.

The Hill: America’s urban-rural divide deepens.

Democrats are on pace to flip at least 30 House seats, picking up more than the 23 they needed to reclaim their first majority in the chamber since 2010. Not all races have been decided, but it was clear that Tuesday was a particularly bad night for GOP House centrists, who were washed out in large numbers.

It was not the “blue wave” that Democrats had hoped for, but after some nerve-wracking early returns, liberals celebrated the fact that their party had returned to winning again.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap More than a half-million web articles published on Russia, Trump, Mueller since investigation began: analysis MORE (D-Calif.) is expected to reclaim the Speaker’s gavel. She will lead a chamber that is expected to aggressively investigate the administration. Speaking at Democratic headquarters in Washington shortly before midnight, Pelosi vowed to act as a check on the president’s power.

“Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about restoring the Constitution and checks and balances to the Trump administration. It’s about stopping the GOP and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' Senate rejection of Green New Deal won't slow Americans' desire for climate action MORE’s assault on Medicare and Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act… but more than anything, it’s about what a new Democratic majority will mean for the lives of hard working Americans.” — Pelosi

Pelosi also said the Democrats would “strive for bipartisanship.” Trump called Pelosi to congratulate her on the Democrats’ victory and said he hoped they could work together.

“We don’t need an election to know that we are a divided nation, and now we have a divided Washington. As a country and a government we must find a way to come together to find common ground and build on the successes of this Congress.” - Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down MORE (R-Wis.)

There was no single, clear narrative that emerged from the returns, which means that both parties seized on messages they favored from region to region, from the suburbs to cities, and from state capitals to Washington. But by voting for divided government, voters sent a message to Washington that they want to see lawmakers work across the aisle.

Kevin Benson, a 38-year-old graphic designer from Westerville, Ohio, said that as a registered Republican, he decided to vote for Democratic candidates on Tuesday to serve as “a check” on Trump. “I’m frustrated with the way he’s acting. Plus just Republicans in general. ... I’m just kind of dissatisfied across the board with them,” he told The Associated Press.

It was a long night of ballot counting, with many surprises and firsts.

A Democrat was elected governor of Kansas, defeating the Trump-backed nominee. Republicans dashed liberal hopes in Florida, Georgia and Texas, where Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams and Rep. Beto O’Rourke had risen to national prominence. The House will have its first Native American woman representative and Colorado made history by electing the first openly gay man as governor.

The Hill: Winners and losers from the midterm elections.

The Hill: Five takeaways from a divisive midterms election.

 

Stan Collender: Divided government points to budget wars, higher deficits.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Forget the blue wave, behold the purple puddle.

Albert Hunt: Congratulations Democrats, now watch your step.

Here’s a rundown of where things stand this morning:

LEADING THE DAY

HOUSE: If the president thought dealing with the national media and his Republican critics in Congress was tough, he’s about to experience another level of opposition in the Democratic-controlled House.

Democrats will start by using their investigative clout to go after Trump’s tax returns. They’ll dig into every aspect of Trump’s business empire. The House Intelligence Committee, which will likely be led by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight Sanders: 'No discussion' of pardoning former Trump aides White House exults on Mueller victory lap MORE (D-Calif), will reopen its investigation into Russia’s election interference and allegations of collusion. Many of the witnesses that testified before Congress behind closed doors will be dragged back for public hearings. Trump’s family and inner circle will almost certainly be a focus.

There is a contingent of Democrats who are eager to impeach the president. Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersJudd Gregg: Pelosi's olive branch...sort of Ocasio-Cortez: Removing Trump from office won't fix country's problems Financial Services Committee Republican: Maxine Waters's policies 'bad for America' MORE (D-Calif.) will likely chair the House Financial Services Committee. She will have subpoena power to get information from the president and the executive branch.

The Hill: What to watch for now.

Many of the GOP moderates who clashed with Trump will be gone and replaced by Democrats, who will be more hostile toward the president. Centrist stalwarts such as Reps. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door Ex-lawmakers face new scrutiny over lobbying Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Va.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanDenver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator MORE (R-Colo.) and Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Fla.) were all voted out of office.

Notable Races

> A handful of vulnerable GOP House members hung on, keeping Democrats from posting larger margins. Reps. Ross Spano (R-Fla.) and Andy BarrGarland (Andy) Hale BarrKentucky radio host: Schumer recruit can't beat McConnell On The Money: Wells Fargo chief gets grilling | GOP, Pence discuss plan to defeat Dem emergency resolution | House chair sees '50-50' chance of passing Dem budget | Trump faces pressure over Boeing Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds MORE (R-Ky.) won races that Democrats had circled as potential pickup opportunities.

> Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley (D) won her House race unopposed, becoming Massachusetts’ first black woman in Congress.

> Greg Pence (R-Ind.) won the House seat previously held by his brother, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceWhy do so many Democrats embrace hate speech? Overnight Health Care: Trump officials sued over Medicaid work requirements in New Hampshire | Analysis contradicts HHS claims on Arkansas Medicaid changes | Azar signals HHS won't back down on e-cigs Trump health chief backs needle exchanges in anti-HIV strategy MORE.

 

 

> Democrat Kendra Horn came out of nowhere in central Oklahoma to defeat incumbent 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-Okla.) The seat was once held by Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks GOP senators eye 'nuclear' move to change rules on Trump nominees Senate GOP goes down to wire in showdown with Trump MORE (R-Okla.) and Russell had never been elected with less than 60 percent of the vote. The Cook Political Report had rated the contest “likely Republican.”

> Democrat Abigail Spanberger defeated Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who shocked the political world in 2014 by upsetting then-Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan Cantor737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington House Republicans find silver lining in minority Top-level turnover sparks questions about Chamber MORE (R-Va.) in a primary.

> Ilhan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

> Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who stunned Washington by defeating Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyBeto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Ocasio-Cortez's favorable, unfavorable ratings up: poll Feehery: Dems' embrace of socialism makes a Trump reelection look inevitable MORE (D-N.Y.) in a primary earlier this year, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the age of 29. Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who defeated Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), is also 29.

> Texas elected its first Latina woman to the House, Veronica Escobar. Democrat Sharice Davids from Kansas became the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Republican Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemKentucky House approves bill to let people carry concealed guns without a permit Journalists seek federal, state support for right to inform the public The Hill's 12:30 Report: First test for Trump emergency declaration MORE became the first woman to be elected governor of South Dakota. A record number of women have been elected to the House (The Hill).

The Guardian: The candidates who made history in the 2018 midterms.

USA Today: Women and minorities make history on Election Night.

 

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SENATE: Republicans are ensured at least their 51-seat majority in the Senate, thanks to wins in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri, and with three races unresolved early Wednesday, Republicans hoped to expand their dominance with possible victories in Florida, Arizona and Montana (The Associated Press).

The Washington Post: 2018 Senate election results.

The upshot thus far enlarges the power and importance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who will work more closely with Trump next year while navigating around a Democratic-controlled House.

McConnell phoned the president Tuesday night to thank him for his help (The Hill).

The GOP will appear more in lockstep with the president next year as the party eyes the 2020 presidential race and focuses on trying to damage the Democratic brand, as embodied by left-leaning House leaders and committee chairs.

Trump’s positions on federal spending, health care, immigration, the judiciary and trade will be reflected in a more conservative Senate, and the upper chamber will serve as a protective force field as some Democrats advocate Trump’s impeachment (The Washington Post).

GOP Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, who took pains to separate himself from some Trump policies in a key swing state with a large Latino population, appeared to have narrowly defeated Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonEx-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances The Hill's Morning Report - Trump budget reignites border security fight 2020 party politics in Puerto Rico MORE (D-Fla.) Tuesday night but Nelson did not immediately concede the race (The Hill).

Outcomes also were incomplete early Wednesday in Montana, where Trump worked overtime to try to defeat Democratic Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSanders, Ocasio-Cortez back 'end the forever war' pledge Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ White House pleads with Senate GOP on emergency declaration MORE, who was challenged by Republican Matt Rosendale. In Arizona, the race between GOP Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArpaio's wife recovering after rattlesnake bite in Arizona Former astronaut running for Senate in Arizona returns money from paid speech in UAE The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE and Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was too close to call this morning.

Republican Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOn The Money: Trump reverses North Korea sanctions imposed by Treasury | Trump to nominate Stephen Moore to Fed | Monthly deficit hits record 4 billion | IRS expands penalty relief for taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Dems demand answers on rule targeting Planned Parenthood | Senators tell FDA to speed approval of generic insulin | Nearly 8 in 10 say drug prices are 'unreasonable' in new poll Senators tell FDA to speed up approvals of generic insulin MORE defeated Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Lobbying World Lobbying World MORE in North Dakota, a significant pickup in Trump country (The Hill).

Indiana Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying World Lobbying World Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down MORE, viewed for months as a particularly vulnerable Democrat in a red state, lost to Republican Mike Braun (The Hill), despite efforts by VIP Democratic surrogates, including former President Obama, to give Donnelly a late-in-the-contest boost.

In Missouri, a state Trump won in 2016 by 20 points, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE lost to Republican challenger Josh Hawley (The Hill).

And Republicans prevailed in the South and the West: Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTaylor Swift says she wants to get more involved in politics Bipartisan lawmakers introduce resolution supporting vaccines Hillicon Valley: Cohen stuns Washington with testimony | Claims Trump knew Stone spoke to WikiLeaks | Stone, WikiLeaks deny | TikTok gets record fine | Senators take on tech over privacy MORE (R) defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen, a popular former governor, for the seat being vacated by retiring Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump keeps tight grip on GOP Brexit and exit: A transatlantic comparison Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (The Hill).

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the progressive challenger backed by national celebrities and awash in campaign cash, lost after a dog fight in Texas against Republican Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNunes on Mueller report: 'We can just burn it up' 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Lawmakers clash over whether conclusion of Mueller investigation signals no collusion MORE, who turned to Trump for help in the final weeks of the race (The Hill). Despite his loss, O’Rourke remains a Democratic star with a future in showcase national politics, including presidential politics (Reuters).

There were Democratic Senate incumbents who held onto their seats Tuesday night: West Virginia voters sent Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written MORE (D) back to Washington for another term (The Hill), despite the president’s frequent appearances in the state to try to defeat him.

Ohio’s liberal Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Trump mounts Rust Belt defense Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses MORE (D) also prevailed against a GOP challenger, Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciGOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, ‘investigation would have wrapped up very quickly’ House Ethics Committee extends probe into Renacci Sherrod Brown says he has 'no real timetable' for deciding on 2020 presidential run MORE (R-Ohio).

And Michigan Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowTrump mounts Rust Belt defense Chris Evans talks NATO, Marvel secrets on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care: Senators grill drug execs over high prices | Progressive Dems unveil Medicare for all bill | House Dems to subpoena Trump officials over family separations MORE (D) handily defeated GOP challenger John James.

Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE, the only GOP incumbent seeking re-election in a state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP MORE won in 2016, became the sole Republican senator to be defeated — by Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE, a Democratic challenger often skewered by Trump using a pejorative nickname (The Hill).

The map this year helped Senate Republicans, who had to defend just nine seats compared with Democrats, who along with their two independent allies in the Senate defended 26 seats.

A notable and familiar face next year will be one of Trump’s most outspoken former critics, now an erstwhile ally. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Mueller report is huge win for President Trump Trump UN pick donated to GOP members on Senate Foreign Relations panel Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change MORE, a former GOP presidential nominee in 2012, heads to the Senate to represent Utah.

The Hill: Trump delivers for McConnell in the Senate.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

STATE WATCH: Two liberal hopes fell short in their bids for governor on Tuesday in contests where racial tensions boiled over.

Andrew Gillum, the African-American mayor of Tallahassee, lost to former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) in Florida. And in Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the state House of Representatives.

Republican Mike DeWine will succeed Gov. John Kasich (R) in Ohio, defeating Democrat Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordraySherrod Brown says he will not run for president CFPB confusing 'freedom of choice' with 'freedom to be fleeced' Consumer bureau chief to face lawmakers for first time since confirmation MORE.

Still, Democrats earned several key victories.

In Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers defeated Gov. Scott Walker, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

In Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Republican Kris Kobach, who was backed by Trump and served on the president’s controversial voter fraud panel.

And in Colorado, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisKamala Harris says she is open to abolishing Electoral College Trump: Campaigning for popular vote 'much easier' than for electoral votes Colorado governor signs national popular vote bill into law MORE (D) will become the first openly gay governor.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker coasted past incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in Illinois.

More from the states … Florida passed an amendment that will allow the approximately 1.5 million people with felony records in the state to vote (The Orlando Sentinel) … Missouri voted to legalize medical marijuana (KCTV5) … Alabama and West Virginia passed stricter abortion initiatives (CNN).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley jeasley@thehill.com & Alexis Simendinger asimendinger@thehill.com. Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

 

OPINION

Infrastructure needs, high drug prices can unite the next Congress, by former Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2SSxCQU

Trump’s tough love policy for China, by Joseph Bosco, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2AQHUu1

WHERE AND WHEN

The House and Senate will return to Washington to resume work on Tuesday.

The president has no public schedule.

The Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting that will end Thursday with a statement (MarketWatch).

Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim gives the keynote address at the Mexico Federal Telecommunications Institute forum on “Competition in the Digital Environment” in Mexico City at 10 a.m. CT.

ELSEWHERE

> Airplane safety: Boeing is close to issuing a safety warning on its 737 Max, the type of plane that crashed last week off the coast of Indonesia, warning that erroneous readings from a flight-monitoring system can cause the planes to aggressively dive (Bloomberg).

> Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpFive things we know about Dems' sprawling Trump probe Kushner to cooperate with Judiciary document requests Hillicon Valley: Kushner accused of using WhatsApp, personal email for official work | White House rejects request for Trump-Putin communications | Facebook left 'hundreds of millions' of passwords unsecured | Tech pressured to root out extremism MORE: China gave the president’s daughter initial approval for 16 new trademarks for a wide range of products, including “voting machines.” The approval occurs as President Trump continues wrestling with China over trade, and three months after Ivanka Trump said her personal clothing brand would shut down (CNBC).

> Science: Could a giant laser beam on Earth attract the attention of an extraterrestrial civilization and bring them to our planet for a visit? Some scientists think this is a good idea (Fox News).

> France: Six suspects were held Tuesday over a possible “violent action” plot aimed at French President Emmanuel Macron, anti-terror police reported (The Guardian).

> Yemen: The Saudi-led coalition armed and supported by the United States has redoubled attacks in Yemen as a dire humanitarian crisis poses risks of famine, the United Nations warns (The New York Times).

 

 

THE CLOSER

And finally … Before ballots were in and counted last night, politicians turned to polling for insights, while some D.C. denizens looked heavenward.