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 John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border 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 PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing 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 McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill 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 RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea 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 SchiffSchiff says Trump intel chief won't comply with subpoena over whistleblower Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Schiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' 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 WatersBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Democrats' impeachment message leads to plenty of head-scratching 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 ComstockGun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (R-Va.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R-Colo.) and Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloPelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House The Hill's Morning Report - Congress returns: What to expect Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback 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 Hale BarrFarm manager doubts story horse bit Pence: report McConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates McConnell campaign criticized for tombstone with challenger's name 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 fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Majority of voters say federal officials staying at Trump hotels is a conflict of interest Trump names finalists for national security adviser 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 LankfordDemocrats press for action on election security GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank 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 CantorEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington GOP faces tough battle to become 'party of health care' 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington 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) CrowleyOcasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office 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 NoemNew South Dakota law requiring 'In God We Trust' sign to hang in public schools goes into effect Trump: If I say I should be on Mt. Rushmore, 'I will end up with such bad publicity' Transportation Department seeks to crack down on pipeline protests: report 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 NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups 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) TesterGOP Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of year Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 MORE, who was challenged by Republican Matt Rosendale. In Arizona, the race between GOP Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE and Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was too close to call this morning.

Republican Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerPrimary challenges show potential cracks in Trump's GOP Castro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline EPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects MORE defeated Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE in North Dakota, a significant pickup in Trump country (The Hill).

Indiana Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries 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 McCaskillEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Ocasio-Cortez blasts NYT editor for suggesting Tlaib, Omar aren't representative of Midwest Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE lost to Republican challenger Josh Hawley (The Hill).

And Republicans prevailed in the South and the West: Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnThe evolution of Taylor Swift's political activism Kellyanne Conway responds to Taylor Swift criticism by invoking pop star's lyrics Is there internet life after thirty? 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 announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' 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 CruzDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Prospects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Ted Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report 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) ManchinKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Senate Democrats to hold the floor to protest inaction on gun violence 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 BrownBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system MORE (D) also prevailed against a GOP challenger, Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciMedicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise GOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, 'investigation would have wrapped up very quickly' House Ethics Committee extends probe into Renacci MORE (R-Ohio).

And Michigan Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks USDA cuts payments promised to researchers as agency uproots to Kansas City MORE (D) handily defeated GOP challenger John James.

Nevada 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, the only GOP incumbent seeking re-election in a state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE won in 2016, became the sole Republican senator to be defeated — by Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Key endorsements: A who's who in early states 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 RomneyLobbying World Republicans wary of US action on Iran The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 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 CordrayTrump administration asks Supreme Court to take up challenge to consumer bureau Watchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves 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 PolisDemocrats grill BLM chief over plans to move officials out of DC Colorado governor pokes fun at FaceApp Number of openly LGBTQ elected officials rose nearly 25 percent since 2018: report 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 TrumpTrump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 2020 is not a family affair, for a change 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.