The sun rose over a different Washington this morning. Republicans have taken control of the Senate, and Democrats are reeling after rough losses.
This is what happened last night. So what comes next? Stay here for a constant stream of updates and analysis. We’ll be highly caffeinated and largely awake.
WHAT WE’RE WAITING FOR Alaska’s Senate race is still up in the air. About a dozen House races remain undecided, most of them in California. President Obama will hold a press conference at 2:50 p.m.
BY THE NUMBERS Track every race result in the nation here.
Sarah Mimms on what to expect from Mitch McConnell’s Senate.
Billy House on the House’s bigger Republican majority, and what that means for John Boehner.
Stephanie Stamm with a map of the new House (hint: lots of red).
And Tim Alberta on the other winners (Christie, Cuomo) and losers (Hillary Clinton) of these midterms.
There are races still undecided, and we won’t forget them. But it’s looking like today won’t be the end. Thanks for sticking with us over a wild 24 hours, and we’ll be back tomorrow — and after — with plenty of news and analysis. And maybe, eventually, results from Alaska.
Nancy Pelosi is running again 4:09 p.m.
The House minority leader intends to put her name in for leader again for the next Congress, she told members of the House Democratic caucus in a letter Wednesday afternoon. “I respectfully request your support, your comments, and your participation.”
Angus King is staying with the Democrats 3:55 p.m.
The Republican Senate will not gain yet another member to their caucus.
The independent senator from Maine will stay in the two-year relationship he’s had with the Senate Democratic caucus, he announced at a 3:30 press conference. It’s a question Sen. Angus King has been asked repeatedly, particularly after casting votes with Republicans. If the GOP took the Senate majority, would he switch?
His answer: “I’ll make that decision at the time based upon what’s the best decision for Maine. And that time has now come,” King said.
His rationale to stay put was four-fold.
1. Sen. Susan Collins, the other Maine senator, is a Republican. It benefits the state to have members who can work both caucuses.
2. It’s an advantage to have a senator in the same party caucus as the president.
3. He couldn’t ignore how well the Democratic caucus has treated him and his state, citing appointments to the Armed Services Committee and the SeaPower Subcommittee. His independence has always been respected in the Democratic Caucus.
4. And lastly, he and Collins help pull their colleagues toward the center. -Rachel Roubein
Follow along here.
Eric Cantor appears 2:40 p.m.
The former House majority leader made a rare appearance on national television Wednesday afternoon ahead of President Obama’s remarks. He had a few words of advice.
“I think that what the public really needs to hear from the president is, he is committed to working with Capitol Hill, working with the Republicans, and that he’s not going to demonstrate his ‘my way or the highway’ way of operating that’s been in the past,” he said on CNN. “I think the big signal to Republicans in Washington is going to be whether this president is going to execute his executive order on the issue of immigration that’s been so widely reported.”
Obama, Cantor said, could potentially reconcile with Republicans if he does not take executive action on immigration.
Cantor, who lost his Virginia primary in June, echoed McConnell on what’s not going to happen this year: a government shutdown. “I don’t think there is a member of leadership or most of the House members who would say shutting down the government, attempting to or getting near default on the debt, or any of those kind of things, are helpful in terms of the Republicans’ ability to garner the confidence on the country on how to lead,” he said.
The Republican who defeated Cantor, Dave Brat, won his race Tuesday night. -Marina Koren
Don’t forget Donald Trump 2:24 p.m.
McConnell speaks 2:11 p.m.
Fresh off his own win in Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell laid out his vision for a Republican-controlled Senate during a press conference this afternoon. “The first thing I need to do is get the Senate back to normal and that means working more,” he said. National Journal‘s Lauren Fox has the full story here.
Gov. Malloy embraces Obama, and wins re-election in Connecticut 1:28 p.m.
Some Democrats steered clear of President Obama this election, but not Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has defeated GOP challenger Tom Foley, with Foley conceding Wednesday afternoon, after a weekend visit from the president. Malloy also overcame the sudden decision Sunday by independent Joe Visconti to drop out of the race and endorse Foley.
Malloy was hit on his decision early in his term to raise taxes to help close an unprecedented 18 percent state budget deficit he inherited. He countered that his administration has stabilized the state’s finances and created of 60,000 private sector jobs. But Foley, a wealthy private equity executive and former ambassador to Ireland, argued Connecticut’s recovery from the recession should be better.
The races we’re still waiting on 1:27 p.m.
There are still just over a dozen races that have yet to be called by the AP. Some highlights:
In the Senate, we’re still waiting on an end to the Alaska race pitting incumbent Democrat Mark Begich against Republican Dan Sullivan, who is currently leading. Mark Warner’s race against Ed Gillespie in Virginia still isn’t called, although Warner has declared victory.
Arizona’s second district, where incumbent Ron Barber is trying to fend of Republican Martha McSally in Gabby Giffords’ old district.
Seven races in California are currently too close to call, including Democrat Ami Bera’s seat (who is currently down), and Mike Honda’s race against fellow Democrat Ro Khanna. We’re still also waiting to see if Carl DeMaio’s bid against Democrat Scott Peters pays off in the state.
In New York, long-time Democrat Rep. Louise Slaughter’s race still isn’t called, although she has a slight edge over her Republican challenger, Mark Assini.
The big remaining governor’s race: Still no answer for Alaska, where incumbent Republican Sean Parnell is getting a tough challenge from independent Bill Walker. In Connecticut, Republican Tom Foley has conceded, although AP hasn’t yet made it official. -Matt Berman
Reince Priebus vaunts GOP reboot 12:41 p.m.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee is pointing to a shakeup of party strategy to help explain why the GOP won big last night. “After the Growth and Opportunity Project, we fundamentally changed our strategy to expand the electorate and build permanent relationships in communities,” Priebus said in a Wednesday event, referring to a Republican party report that he commissioned in the aftermath of the 2012 election. The report reflected on the GOP’s failings leading up to a sweeping Democratic victory in 2012.
“We made a strategic decision to prioritize low-propensity voters, and we invested in a new data-driven ground game,” Priebus said Wednesday. “The results speak for themselves. We won with our new strategy, and we beat the other side at their own game.” -Kaveh Waddell
Prominent Dem: The world stepped on our candidates’ economic message 12:32 p.m.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a key ally of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said Senate Democrats could have concentrated more on their economic message. But the world got in the way.
“I do believe that we lost the focus on the core economic issues. It wasn’t totally as a result of taking our eye off the ball. It was partly as a result of the fact that you have all these other crises emerging that dominated the airwaves in the last three or four weeks, things like Ebola, things like ISIS,” Van Hollen, who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee several years ago, said on MSNBC Wednesday. He said House Democrats did a better job of keeping their eye on the economy. “House Democrats have been focused on this economic message all along. I think that in many of the Senate races, the focus was elsewhere,” said the Maryland lawmaker who is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
He noted that ballot measures to boost the minimum wage passed in a quartet of states — Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Alaska. “These are all red states. So I do believe as we move forward we have got to focus on those core economic issues, bread and butter issues,” Van Hollen said, citing issues including student debt and ending tax breaks that he said encourage U.S. companies to move jobs overseas. -Ben Geman
Mark Warner’s lawyer is “100 percent certain” the Democrat will prevail in Virginia 12:30 p.m.
“‹Marc Elias, the Democratic election lawyer who’s representing Virginia Sen. Mark Warner in the aftermath of his surprisingly close election with GOP candidate Ed Gillespie, told reporters on a conference call that he’s “100 percent certain” Warner will be sworn in for a second term.
“There is nothing we’ve seen so far in the process of Election Day or today that suggests anything other than the senator’s lead will remain solid,” Elias said.
Virginia’s recount laws allow candidates to request a recount if the final vote margin is less than 1 percentage point. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday, Warner led Gillespie 49.1 percent to 48.5 percent, or a margin of about 12,000 votes.
“It’s simply a matter of basic math: 12,000 votes is a close election but it is not a recountable election,” Elias said. “There is no precedent in Virginia “… for a 12,000-vote lead, out of 2 million votes, to lead to an even plausibly successful recount.”‹” -Emily Schultheis
What happened in Virginia? 12:20 p.m.
Has the GOP done enough to prove it can really compete for 2016? 12:17 p.m.
Republicans proved they are making progress in appealing to voters by winning the swing states of North Carolina and Colorado, but the electorate in midterms naturally favors them already. In 2016, they’ll have to grow their national appeal. The best way to do that is to legislate sensibly and make sure that they do something to appeal to Latino voters over the next two years. -Lauren Fox
What a Republican Congress means for a deal with Iran 12:14 p.m.
Congressional Republicans have been vocal about their opposition to President Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and now that they control both houses, they can use their increased leverage to force the president’s hand.
Democrats in Congress have generally blocked Republican moves to negotiate more aggressively with Iran over its nuclear program. But “the new Senate GOP majority is going to take a much, much tougher line toward any deal,” a senior Republican aide told the Washington Post. -Kaveh Waddell
Will the new Congress actually be able to do anything? 12:08 p.m.
If you listen closely to what Republicans said in the days leading up to election, you’ll make out a common theme. Namely that the party is newly committed to bipartisanship and getting things done in Congress.
It’s a message that’s somewhat at odds with another current in their messaging that vows to stop Obama’s agenda. But Republicans insist those missions are compatible, or a good way to get elected anyway. Their overwhelming victory Tuesday, from statehouses to the Senate, suggests that at least the latter is correct.
It’s also an important message to emphasize ahead of 2016, if they want to improve perceptions about the efficacy of a Republican-controlled Congress. Whether compromise will happen, is another thing. But I’ve compiled some of their best promises here. -Lucia Graves
High-profile Keystone pipeline advocate on the brink of losing in Nebraska 11:48 a.m.
Election night brought a filibuster-proof Senate majority in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. But across Capitol Hill, there’s a strong chance that one of the pipeline’s most enthusiastic GOP backers won’t be back to enjoy the more pro-Keystone Congress. Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry is trailing Democratic challenger Brad Ashford, a state senator, by several thousand votes as the counting continues, the Omaha World-Herald reported early this morning. But Keystone opponents can only celebrate so much — Ashford signed a letter to the State Department in March that urged approval of the project. -Ben Geman
Hickenlooper snags second term as Colorado governor 11:22 a.m.
Despite a rockier-than-expected end to his first term, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper won a second one over Republican ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez Tuesday in Colorado, according to the Associated Press.
Hickenlooper’s approval ratings soared during his first two years in office, but they sank in 2013 as he and Democratic legislators enacted a slew of progressive measures, including new gun control laws. Still, Hickenlooper was able to overcome Beauprez, who managed a higher percentage of the vote than in his first run for governor in 2006, when he lost by more than 20 points. But some of the luster that once put Hickenlooper’s name in presidential conversations has definitely come off. -Scott Bland
Minimum wage gets bumped up in four states — all of which voted in Republicans 10:48 a.m.
Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska approved measures to raise the minimum wage in the same night they voted Republicans into Congress. The movement to raise the minimum wage, traditionally a liberal cause, captured as much as 69 percent of the vote in Alaska and 65 percent in Arkansas.
The states’ new minimum wages range from $9.75 in Alaska to $8.50 in Arkansas and South Dakota, and will kick in over the next few years. In two states — Alaska and South Dakota — the minimum wage will continue to rise with the rate of inflation.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. Right now, 23 states have laws that require a higher hourly wage, and three more states’ wage hikes will take effect in January. President Obama and congressional Democrats have pushed for a much higher federal minimum wage of $10.10, but Republicans have so far blocked these proposals. -Kaveh Waddell
Eric Cantor offers warning to ex-colleagues, sizes up new Congress 10:01 a.m.
Vanquished former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sees a couple of keys to a productive 2015 in Washington. Cantor, in a CNBC interview Wednesday, said that if President Obama goes ahead with his planned executive action on immigration, it would “really aggravate” things on Capitol Hill.
But Cantor also offered a warning to the GOP’s right flank: Don’t mess with new federal spending legislation that will replace the current stopgap measure that expires on Dec. 11.
“There may be a small group and a minority that can thwart that, and say we don’t want to complete anything and let’s just kick the can into next Congress so we don’t have to negotiate with Harry Reid one last time,” Cantor said. “If that happens, I think equally, there could be some trouble signs about what to expect in 2015.” Cantor, who shockingly lost his June primary to tea party-backed challenger Dave Brat, is now a managing director with the investment bank Moelis & Company. -Ben Geman
What a GOP Senate means for Obamacare 9:52 a.m.
Republicans won a Senate majority in part by pledging to repeal Obamacare. Now they have to figure out what to do instead. Read National Journal‘s Sam Baker on the delicate balance Mitch McConnell has to strike here.
Democrats are pointing fingers at Obama for last night’s losses 9:28 a.m.
Democrats are picking up the pieces after losing dozens of congressional seats to the GOP last night, and some are turning their anger on the president. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told MSNBC last night that the president’s energy policies hurt his party’s chances in coal country.
A Senate Democratic aide told The Hill that “it was President Obama dragging candidates down across the country.”
And David Krone, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief of staff, told The Washington Post that Obama didn’t do Democrats any favors. “The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent,” he said. “What else more is there to say?…I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean that the message was bad, but sometimes the messenger isn’t good.” -Kaveh Waddell
Scott Brown worked out his loss at the gym this morning 9:19 a.m.
The former Massachusetts senator was defeated by Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire’s Senate race. Brown’s campaign focused heavily on current events, including the threats of Ebola and terrorist group Islamic State, but that wasn’t enough to get him back to Congress.
The press conferences are coming 9:07 a.m.
Mitch McConnell will hold one at 2 p.m., and President Obama at 2:50 p.m.
The current status of weed legislation in America 9:01 a.m.
Alaska this morning joined Oregon, Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. And in D.C., voters approved a measure that legalizes possession — but not sale — of marijuana, pending a review by local government. During this review period, Congress can also step in to block the measure.
Guam passed a more restrictive pot measure Tuesday afternoon, allowing for medical marijuana use. A similar medical marijuana bill failed in Florida, where it fell shy of the 60 percent support it needed to pass. -Kaveh Waddell
Mitch McConnell sets his Senate agenda. Hint: no government shutdowns 8:45 a.m.
Time‘s Jay Newton-Small has an interview with Mitch McConnell out this morning, in which the future Senate majority leader seemed “giddy.” McConnell promised there would be no shutdowns, nor would there be a full repeal of Obamacare. What his Senate will be doing, however, is “approving the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing the medical device tax, trying to restore the 40-hour work week, trying to get rid of the individual mandate.”
And what about undoing the nuclear option? “Oh, we’ll discuss that when we get back,” McConnell said. And immigration reform? “We’re going to discuss that after the election.” -Marina Koren
This is the Republican Senate on energy 8:33 a.m.
Could a GOP-controlled Congress force Obama’s hand on Keystone? How about EPA rules? National Journal‘s Clare Foran and Ben Geman explain here.
Chris Christie says GOP victory isn’t about him, while making the TV rounds 8:29 a.m.
The New Jersey governor stopped by all five major networks this morning to offer up his analysis of what the Republican electoral sweep means for his party going forward. On NBC’s “Today,” Christie said that he shouldn’t get credit for Republicans’ major gains, despite his aggressive campaigning in the leadup to the election.
“It’s not about me,” he told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “I was happy to help. I’m glad to have their confidence, but that’s all it is.” He also appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “This Morning,” CNN, and Fox News. Still not about him, though. -Kaveh Waddell
Rand Paul says Hillary Clinton didn’t help Democrats 8:22 a.m.
The Kentucky senator is diving right into the 2016 race, and he didn’t hold back on Hillary in an appearance on CNN. “I don’t think she was an asset. I think that she, the Clintons, for a long time have been perceived as ‘Oh, hey, they can help Democrats convince people in the South, there [will] still be some conservative Democrats,’ but guess what? It doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “Even in their home state in Arkansas, it didn’t work last night. They campaigned heavily in Iowa; didn’t work in Iowa. They campaigned heavily in Kentucky.”
The other winners and losers 7:49 a.m.
Plenty of 2016 contenders had something at stake in the midterms. Read National Journal‘s Tim Alberta on who gained ground (Christie, Cuomo), and here’s who didn’t (Hillary) here.
Obama called McConnell last night 7:22 a.m.
A White House official tells CNN that the president called Mitch McConnell after the Kentucky senator won re-election last night to congratulate him, and left a message. “The president is anxious to get to work and put the midterms behind him,” Jim Acosta writes. But doesn’t Obama know everyone hates getting voicemail?
Obama press conference to come this afternoon 6:43 a.m.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest just tweeted that the president will hold a news conference this afternoon.
Nearly 20 House races still uncalled 6:34 a.m.
The morning after Election Day, around 20 House races remain undecided. Most of them are clustered in California, which is both home to a number of swing districts and a state with a reputation for counting ballots slowly. Arizona also has multiple districts still up in the air for the second consecutive election. In 2012, late counting in both of those states favored Democrats.
A number of surprisingly close races from around the country also dot the uncalled map: Veteran Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., a longtime ally of Nancy Pelosi who represents a liberal-leaning district, has only a few hundred votes on her unheralded challenger, and the AP is withholding a call on the race. Same goes for Democratic Rep. John Delaney in Maryland, while Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., is actually behind his challenger in the Central Valley with the initial precinct count coming to an end.
No one is talking recounts yet, but in a few places, House races are still bleeding into overtime. -Scott Bland
Which states split the most tickets? 6:20 a.m.
On a mostly one-sided Election Day, a handful of states managed to defy one-party sweeps — or at least elect statewide candidates with widely disparate margins.
In Massachusetts, for example, Republican Charlie Baker claimed a narrow two-point win in the governor’s race despite Democratic Sen. Ed Markey’s 34-point reelection.
That trend held in Michigan and Illinois, where Rick Snyder and Bruce Rauner claimed their state’s governorships despite double-digit losses from the GOP’s respective Senate candidates. Snyder’s spread swung 17 points from Democrat Gary Peters’ performance in the Senate race, while Rauner pulled a 15-point margin from Sen. Dick Durbin’s easy reelection.
Even in states where one party claimed both marquee statewide races, the margins weren’t always uniform. Sen. Jack Reed cruised to victory in Rhode Island by 41 points, while Democratic counterpart Gina Raimondo sweated out a four-point win in the governor’s race.
And on the GOP side of things, Maine Gov. Paul LePage eked out a just-sufficient plurality of voters, currently leading his opponent by four points; meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins is running up a 36-point lead. -Alex Brown
It’s not over yet 6:01 a.m.
At least not for several key areas, like Senate races in Alaska and Virginia and the governor’s race in Colorado. Results are still coming in for California’s 52nd district, where Republican Carl DeMaio maintains a very slim lead over Democrat incumbent Scott Peters.
What We're Following See More »
"Senior White House official Jared Kushner and his legal team are searching for a crisis public relations firm, according to four people familiar with the matter. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has quietly called at least two firms, these people said. The inquiries have occurred in the past two weeks, and officials at the firms were asked not to discuss the conversations with others."
"The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Sinclair Broadcasting Corp $13.3 million after it failed to properly disclose that paid programming that aired on local TV stations was sponsored by a cancer institute, three people briefed on the matter told Reuters. The proposed fine, which covers about 1,700 spots including commercials that looked like news stories that aired during newscasts for the Utah-based Huntsman Cancer Institute over a six-month period in 2016, could bolster critics of Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co."
"The day after the suicide of Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, his widow announced that she plans to run for his seat. 'Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over,' Rebecca Johnson said in a statement Thursday to multiple news outlets. 'These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can't be allowed to win the day. I've been fighting behind my husband for 30 years and his fight will go on.'"