Democrats Gain Control of House, Republicans Keep Senate

Democrats flipped the House on Tuesday, while Republicans maintained control of the Senate. CREDIT: Architect of the Capitol/US Congress

Democrats on Tuesday picked up enough seats to gain control of the House for the first time in eight years, while Republicans strengthened their control of the Senate.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is expected to become the next speaker, will have her fair share of challenges as sequestration, which caps defense spending at $567 billion, is slated to return in Fiscal 2020. Meanwhile, the Defense Department is moving forward with plans to present two budgets—one for $733 billion and one for $700 billion.

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is expected to replace Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) as chairman, while Thornberry will likely assume the position as Ranking Member. Smith has spoken out against the President’s decision to deploy troops to the Southern border, supports the closure of Guantanamo Bay, and he has his doubts about the Space Force.

On the other hand, Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.)—the chairman and ranking member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee—both won re-election. The two leaders are among the biggest proponents of the Space Force, and were among the first to introduce the idea of creating a separate service for space.

Here’s how the other leaders of the HASC subcommittees faired.

  • Rob Wittman (R-Va.), a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, beat Democrat Vangie Williams, while ranking member Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) also held on to his seat, beating Republican Danny Postemski

  • Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, beat Democrat Sean Carrigan. However, Ranking Member Madeleine Bordallo of Guam lost her seat in the primary after serving for 16 years.

  • Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, beat Democrat Theresa Gasper, but Ranking Member Niki Tsongas will retire

  • Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, beat Democrat Tedra Cobb, while Ranking Member James Langevin (D-R.I.) also held onto his seat, defeating Salvatore Caiozze

  • Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), chairwoman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, beat Renee Hoagenson, and Ranking Member Seth Moulton (D-Mass) also won

  • Colorado Republican Mike Coffman, chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, lost his seat to Democrat Jason Crow. As of nearly midnight, it was still too early to say whether MilPers Ranking Member Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would hold on to her seat.

Thirty-five members of the Senate were up for re-election, including 12 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee—three Republicans, eight Democrats, and one Independent.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), the ranking member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, lost his seat to Republican Mike Braun. At midnight, the ranking member of the Cyber Subcommittee was in a tight race, which was still too close to call with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Of the 172 military veterans running for Congress, 33 are former or retired members of the US Air Force. Of those, 13 are incumbents. That does not include Martha McSally, a former A-10 pilot who gave up her seat on the House Armed Services Committee to run for the Senate. That race had not yet been called as of press time. Of the 33 USAF vets, 28 are former or retired Active Duty, two were Air Force Reserve, and three were Air National Guard.