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

 

 

 

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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 TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves 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 PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous 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 McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 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 RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' 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 SchiffJan. 6 panel may see leverage from Bannon prosecution An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Stoltenberg says Jan. 6 siege was attack on 'core values of NATO' 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 WatersMcCarthy pledges to restore Greene, Gosar to committees if GOP wins House The Memo: Gosar censured, but toxic culture grows House votes to censure Gosar and boot him from committees 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 ComstockThe Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect The Memo: Trump pours gas on tribalism with Jan. 6 rewrite MORE (R-Va.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanColorado remap plan creates new competitive district Colorado governor says he was not exposed to COVID-19 after Aurora mayor tests positive Colorado mayor says he called protesters 'domestic terrorists' out of 'frustration' MORE (R-Colo.) and Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloProtecting the freedom to vote should be a bipartisan issue Former lawmakers sign brief countering Trump's claims of executive privilege in Jan. 6 investigation A conservative's faith argument for supporting LGBTQ rights 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 BarrAndy BarrThe IMF has lost its way Republicans press Biden administration to maintain sanctions against Taliban World Bank suspends aid to Afghanistan after Taliban takeover 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 PenceTrump endorses challenger to Hogan ally in Maryland governor's race Pence to headline New Hampshire event focused on Biden spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice MORE.

 

 

> Democrat Kendra Horn came out of nowhere in central Oklahoma to defeat incumbent Rep. Steve RussellSteven (Steve) Dane RussellKendra Horn concedes to Stephanie Bice in Oklahoma, flipping seat back to GOP GOP women's group launches six-figure campaign for House candidate Bice Bice wins Oklahoma GOP runoff to face Horn in November MORE (R-Okla.) The seat was once held by Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordConstant threats to government funding fail the American public GOP Senate candidate says Fauci is 'mass murderer,' should be jailed rather than 'hero' Rittenhouse Bill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate 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 CantorRepublicans eager to take on Spanberger in Virginia Virginia emerging as ground zero in battle for House majority McAuliffe's loss exposes deepening Democratic rift 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) CrowleyTrucker unseats longtime NJ Senate president by spending almost nothing — here's how Former lawmakers sign brief countering Trump's claims of executive privilege in Jan. 6 investigation Bottom line 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 NoemRepublican former South Dakota House Speaker challenging Noem Noem's daughter to turn in real estate appraiser license amid scrutiny Noem formally launches reelection campaign 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 NelsonThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Two trajectories to Mars by the 2030s Russian weapons test endangers the International Space Station 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) TesterFive Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Dark money group spent 0M on voter turnout in 2020 Biden to speak on economy Tuesday, with Fed pick imminent MORE, who was challenged by Republican Matt Rosendale. In Arizona, the race between GOP Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyBusiness groups, sensing victory, keep up pressure over tax hikes Kelly raises million in third quarter Ruben Gallego is left's favorite to take on Sinema MORE and Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was too close to call this morning.

Republican Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerAdvocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step The Memo: Rising costs a growing threat for Biden GOP senator: Decisions on bills not made based on if they hurt or help Trump or Biden MORE defeated Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampVirginia loss lays bare Democrats' struggle with rural voters Washington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight MORE in North Dakota, a significant pickup in Trump country (The Hill).

Indiana Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights 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 Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE lost to Republican challenger Josh Hawley (The Hill).

And Republicans prevailed in the South and the West: Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnChina draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai Sunday shows preview: Boosters open to all US adults; House Dems pass spending plan on to Senate Photos of the Week: President Biden, Kenosha protests and a pardon for Peanut Butter MORE (R) defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen, a popular former governor, for the seat being vacated by retiring Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  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 CruzGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Advocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step Ted Cruz ribs Newsom over vacation in Mexico: 'Cancun is much nicer than Cabo' 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 ManchinJoe ManchinWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season 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 BrownFive Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO Biden sidesteps Fed fight, disappointing progressive allies MORE (D) also prevailed against a GOP challenger, Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciTrump seeking to oust Republican Alabama governor over canceled rally: report Why Democrats' prescription drug pricing provision would have hurt seniors Governors' races see flood of pro-Trump candidates MORE (R-Ohio).

And Michigan Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate Democrats look to fix ugly polling numbers Ford announces plans to increase electric vehicle production to 600K by 2023 Biden, top officials spread out to promote infrastructure package MORE (D) handily defeated GOP challenger John James.

Nevada Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerNevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada MORE, the only GOP incumbent seeking re-election in a state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE won in 2016, became the sole Republican senator to be defeated — by Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenSenators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall America's clean energy future cannot stop at state lines Hillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs 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 RomneyGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai 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 Cordray.

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 PolisColorado loosens restrictions on antibody treatment, holds off on mask mandate Lobbying world Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Pfizer seeks authorization for antiviral pill 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 TrumpIvanka TrumpMeadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight Tucker Carlson rips Graham over report he told officers to shoot Jan. 6 rioters Graham told officers on Jan. 6 to use their guns on rioters: report 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.