Mid-Term Elections Bring Change to Congress

By Dave Schryver posted 11-08-2018 13:40

After months of campaigning and over $5 billion spent on federal campaigns alone, the 2018 mid-term elections concluded on November 7. Historically, the party in control of the White House tends to lose seats in a mid-term election. For example, in the mid-term 2006 elections (with President Bush in the White House) the Republicans lost 30 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. In the 2010 mid-term elections (with President Obama in the White House), the Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate.

Given the trend, it was not a surprise to see the Democrats pick up seats in the House. Going into the election, the Republicans held the majority in the House and the Democrats needed to pick up 23 seats to gain the majority. While there are still some election result being finalized, the Democrats have picked up at least 27 seats and thus will have control of the House in the 116th Congress. While it is likely that Congresswoman Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be the Speaker of the House, it is worth noting that a number of Democrats have indicated that they would not support her for Speaker. It is possible that Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio,) who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for House minority leader in 2016, could run against her.

In the Senate, Republicans held a 51-49 majority going into the election. Republicans also had an advantage in that 26 of the 33 Senate seats up for election were held by Democrats (including the two Independents who caucus with the Democrats) and 10 of those Senators represent states that voted for President Trump in the 2016 election. Although there are still some Senate races that are too close to call, Republicans will increase their majority in the Senate by at least two seats and possibly three or four.
With Congress once again divided, we may see increased gridlock, which will make it harder to pass significant or controversial legislation. We have included below our thoughts on the impact the elections will have on the 116th Congress, which will begin in January. Now that the mid-term elections are over, the 2020 Presidential Election will start.

For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dschryver@apga.org.