After scoring a historically unprecedented come-from-behind victory the political establishment never saw coming, President-elect Donald J. Trump seems poised to face a Congress that will remain firmly under Republican control.
In a conciliatory early morning victory speech, Trump acknowledged that Democrat Hillary Clinton called him to concede and offer her best wishes. Trump, who will be sworn in at 12 Noon on Jan. 20, said he congratulated the former secretary of state on her hard fought campaign and thanked her for her years of public service.
At time of writing, party standings in the incoming House of Representatives and the Senate weren’t dramatically different from the current Congress.
In the current 114th Congress, there were 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the House. In the Senate, there were 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats (including Independents who caucus with the Democrats).
As of 3:00 a.m. Eastern time, it appeared in January that there would be 52 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the Senate. Results were incomplete in the Senate race in New Hampshire.
In the unlikely event the Senate is split 50-50, Republicans would still control that chamber because Vice President-elect Mike Pence will become the presiding officer in that chamber and get to break tie votes. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reportedly said he’s not committed to staying a Democrat if it’s a 50-50 Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will keep his job. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is next in line for the post of Senate Minority Leader. He handily won reelection in his state last night.
According to the New York Times, House standings as of January will be 235 Republicans and 181 Democrats. There are 19 House races that have not yet been resolved.
House leaders Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), all easily won reelection.
Ryan is likely to face a challenge when he seeks reelection as Speaker of the House. Many conservative Republican House members are upset with Ryan, claiming he is just as squishy a moderate as former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
In Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district (Philadelphia) state representative Dwight E. Evans (D) crushed his opponent James Jones ® by a margin of 10 to 1. Evans is a rare bird in the Democratic Party. He has been attacked by fellow Democrats for years for supporting school choice, but he took down a corrupt incumbent congressman, Chaka Fattah, in April primaries. Fattah resigned from Congress in June after being convicted on federal corruption charges. Evans believes in school choice so strongly that he co-founded a group called Black Alliance for Educational Options.
In Iowa’s 4th district, conservative champion and favorite target of the Left, Steve King ®, easily won reelection.
On to the Senate.
In the open Senate seat in Indiana held by Dan Coats ® who is retiring, former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) was soundly beaten by Rep. Todd Young ®.
In Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul ®, who sought the Republican presidential nod, easily triumphed over Lexington mayor Jim Gray (D).
Sens. Richard Shelby ® of Alabama and Sen. John McCain ® of Arizona easily picked off Democratic challengers. In South Carolina, Tim Scott, the GOP’s only black senator, bested Thomas Dixon (D), a fellow African-American. In Missouri, Sen. Roy Blunt ® triumphed over Jason Kander (D) who mounted a spirited, populist-style challenge. Kander had a compelling TV ad in which he assembled an AR-15 rifle blindfolded.
In Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) was narrowly reelected, beating back a tough challenge by conservative Darryl Glenn ®. In the open Senate seat in Maryland held by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), who is retiring, Rep. Chris Van Hollen trounced House of Delegates member Kathy Szeliga ®.
In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio ®, who flamed out spectacularly while seeking his party’s presidential nomination, easily brushed aside a challenge from Rep. Patrick Murphy (D). During the presidential run Rubio said he wouldn’t seek reelection but after he dropped out he changed his mind. Rubio is undeniably conservative but he has disappointed many in the party by supporting so-called comprehensive immigration reform.
In Georgia, Sen. Johnny Isakson ® coasted to victory over Jim Barksdale (D) garnering enough votes to cancel the runoff election that had been scheduled for Jan. 10, 2017. In North Carolina, Sen. Richard Burr ® turned back a strong challenge by former state representative Deborah K. Ross (D).
In Illinois, moderate Sen. Mark Kirk ® was pulverized by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D). Kirk called Trump “too bigoted and racist” to be president and even cut a TV ad attacking Trump. Duckworth’s campaign pummeled Kirk accusing him of portraying himself as “a liberal Democrat.” Conservative Review gives Kirk a rating of 17 percent which corresponds to an “F” grade.
The Senate race in New Hampshire was too close to call at press time. Sen. Kelly Ayotte ® was behind Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) by 1,000 votes with 88 percent of precincts reporting. Last night election officials in Dover extended voting hours there.
In the open Senate seat in Nevada held by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) who is retiring, former state attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto (D) edged out Rep. Joe Heck ®, a medical doctor and U.S. Army brigadier general, in a hard fought race. Cortez Masto was instrumental in a historic prosecution that led to the election fraud conviction of the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
In the open Senate seat in Louisiana held by Sen. David Vitter ®, who is retiring, there are two dozen candidates in contention. Only the top two vote-getters will proceed to the Dec. 10 runoff election, regardless of party affiliation. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, the top candidates were State Treasurer John Kennedy ® with 25 percent and Louisiana Public Service Commission member Foster Campbell (D) with 18 percent.
In Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey ® narrowly defeated environmentalist Katie McGinty (D), an Al Gore acolyte. AP and NBC News called the race for Toomey who was leading his opponent by two percentage points.
In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson ® turned back a serious challenge from former Sen. Russ Feingold (D). Johnson came into office as a Tea Party favorite but lost some conservative support when he said he supports an immigration amnesty. Johnson also criticized other Republicans for trying to defund Obamacare. Despite these ideological blemishes, he won a second term which he has promised will be his final term.
In the open Senate seat in California held by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), a progressive champion who is retiring, there was no Republican candidate. State Attorney General Kamala Harris (D), a radical left-winger in the style of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, blew Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) out of the water. The mainstream media paid a great deal of attention to the race because both candidates are women of color.
In Alaska, incumbent Lisa Murkowski ® defeated Joe Miller who was running under the Libertarian Party banner. Tea Party favorite Miller previously ran as the official Republican candidate six years ago. Even though she lost the Republican primary in 2010, Murkowski conducted a successful write-in candidacy. She caucused with the GOP in the Senate.