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FROM THE HILL


ELECTIONS RECAP AND DEBRIEF O


Andrew Bray, NALP Vice President of Government Affairs


n Election Day 2018, after all the political advertisements, polling, and prognostica- tion ended Americans finally voted, and they voted in record numbers. Approximately 113 million voters participated in the 2018 midterm elections, making this the first midterm in histo- ry to exceed 100 million votes, with 49 percent of eligible voters participating in the election. The results of the elections will undoubtedly


have an impact on the landscape industry at both the federal and state levels. This summary provides a recap of the election results and, hopefully, some context with regards to impli- cations and impacts on the landscape industry.


FEDERAL CONGRESSIONAL RESULTS U.S. SENATE


On Election Day, Republicans took advantage of a favorable map and not only retained control but expanded their majority by two seats. Democrats were defending nearly double the amount of seats that Republicans were, but most importantly Democrats were defending several states that voted for Trump in 2016 and were considered “toss-up” states. In the toss-up states both Republicans and Democrats won five:


Republican Won Indiana (flipped)


Missouri (flipped) Tennessee Texas


Florida (flipped)


Democrat Won Montana


Nevada (flipped) New Jersey West Virginia


Arizona (flipped)


This was a good night for Republicans that at one point this summer looked in jeopardy of losing control of the Senate, but now hold a 53-seat majority. The majority is not filibuster proof (requiring 60), but it remains a majority to continue to work with the administration and to counter the Democratic-controlled Senate.


U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


Democrats regained the majority of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010, currently 235–199 (with one election still disputed; allegations of fraud in NC District 9, remains vacant to-date). The Democratic


majority is well over the 218 required to reach majority, but not as wide a margin as the Republicans held in 2018. The Democrats gained 38 seats from the


Republicans, which is a substantial amount but not nearly as large a margin as those that were projecting a “blue wave,” nor nearly as a wide a margin as President Obama’s first mid-term elections in 2010, when Republicans picked up 63 seats.


As expected, Democrats were successful in picking up seats in suburban districts in and around large metro centers. Many of the Republicans defeated in these districts tended to be more moderate, which reflected their constituents in these “swing-districts.” While moderate Republicans are exiting the House Republican Conference, more conservative members, especially the Freedom Caucus, have likely strengthened their position by winning soundly in districts that favored President Trump.


A similar dynamic will likely also be playing


out for the Democrats. Many of the newly elected Democrats, ran against President Trump and/or on a more progressive platform. Several of these candidates have voiced concern over Minority Leader Pelosi and the direction of the party not being progressive enough. As soon to-be Speaker Pelosi manages her caucus, she will certainly face constant pressure from an energized, emboldened and larger progressive block of the House Demo- cratic Caucus.


What does this mean? As the country be- comes more polarized on issues, the disagree- ments are reflected and then compounded by the make-up of the House of Representatives. Both Republicans and Democrats will struggle to find common ground due to louder voices and increasing numbers in the more extreme factions of each party. This will make it difficult for the House to pass legislative solutions but there will continue to be opportunities to propose fixes while also reintroducing our issues and our industry to the new class of Republican and Democratic representatives elected on Election Day.


30 THE LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONAL > JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


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