Unlike 2016’s shocking election result, the expected outcome of the election this past November actually came to be. Democrats won a majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives taking control of the lower house for the first time since 2010, and Republicans managed to hold onto control of the U.S. Senate and expand their majority. AAHOA members Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) won reelection to the U.S. House.
At the time of this printing, there are still a handful of House races that are too close to call. No candidate in Mississippi’s Senate race won a majority, and the top two finishers, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy (D) are headed for a runoff on November 27. After a full recount in Florida, Governor Rick Scott (R) has defeated Bill Nelson and secured the seat for U.S. Senate.
A Divided Congress
The end of a unified Republican government means that the next two years may be vastly different than the last. In the coming weeks, party leaders will lay out their agenda for the new Congress. In order for there to be progress, deals must be cut and compromises must be made. This is the question looming over Washington: will the Democratic House and Republican Senate be able to pursue bipartisan legislation in the interest of governing, or will they pursue divergent paths that take the country nowhere?
What does a divided Congress mean for hoteliers?
Democratic control of the House means that two pieces of legislation that passed the House but died in the Senate last session, the Save Local Business Act and a bill to stop drive-by lawsuits, will probably not get any traction this time around. The tax cuts and other key provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that are set to expire in 2026 will likely not be made permanent in the next two years. But while the outlook for some legislation that impacts hoteliers may be rather dim at this point, it is key to remember that over fifty Members of Congress did not seek reelection. There will be many first-time lawmakers in Washington, and this presents numerous opportunities to educate them about our industry, our story, and our future.
Gubernatorial Results: Democrats Retook Several States, Fell Short in Georgia, Likely Florida
While Republicans maintained control over 26 states, Democrats picked up seven governorships. Tony Evers denied Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a third term, and Democratic candidates won in Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Maine. The two most publicized and closely-watched races in Georgia and Florida have gone to the Republican candidates. Former Secretary of State Brian Kemp avoided the chance of a runoff election against Stacey Abrams by gaining over 50 percent of the vote. She conceded after the gap became too large to overcome even with last-minute votes being tallied. The same goes for Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis, his opponent Andrew Gillum conceded after the Florida recount showed that he trailed DeSantis by over 30,000 votes.