Election 2018 is in the books.
I didn’t see any major surprises. I expected the Republicans to hold the U.S. Senate, given the amount of seats the Democrats had to defend, especially in states won by President Donald Trump in 2016.
I believed that the Republicans were going to lose the House because of the number of competitive races. There were about 40 Republican House members not seeking re-election, either because they wanted to retire, go back to the private sector or believed that they would lose a re-election bid. Incumbents have a built-in advantage since over 90 percent of them get re-elected.
I had expected U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to be re-elected, but thought her margin of victory would be smaller than 2016, given the tough environment for Republicans. Stefanik beat Cobb 56 percent to 41 percent. In 2016, Stefanik won over Democrat Mike Derrick 65 percent to 30 percent.
Stefanik took some hits for her vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Democrat Tedra Cobb made a central campaign issue. Cobb already is expressing interest in a rematch in 2020. Click HERE to read my follow-up story the election.
I was not surprised that John Faso lost in NY-19. I think the commercial in which he hugged a woman with brain cancer and said “I promise” not to take away her health insurance was fatal to his campaign. People are concerned that his vote to repeal Obamacare would have led to people with pre-existing conditions being denied coverage.
Voter turnout was strong — higher than the 2014 midterms — but not as high as the 2016 presidential election. See my colleague Kathleen Moore’s story on turnout by clicking HERE.
I may be overly optimistic, but hopefully President Trump and the Democratically controlled House can accomplish something in the 116th Congress and it won’t be just a deluge of subpoenas and investigations. Among the priorities where they could find common ground are infrastructure spending and tackling the cost of prescription drugs – both of which Trump has mentioned as priorities.
In New York state, the Republicans lost their sole remaining bastion of power in the state Senate. Maybe Democrats will use the opportunity to pass the New York Health Act single-payer bill and the Child Victims Act. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers is poised to take over as majority leader.
Hopefully, the Democrats' tenure will go better than the in-fighting that happened in 2009-2010, which eventually led to breakaway Democrats splitting off into the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference.
Now, we have a respite of a couple months before people start declaring their bid for the 2020 presidential nomination and we can do this all over again.