Nationally, the big winners were President Trump and Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi. The President now has a much stronger Republican Senate making it easier to appoint and confirm far right Judges. The House Democrats now have the subpoena power to hold hearings and successfully get the records they want. But they, in particular, would be wise to not overplay their hand. If the House develops an image of just holding hearings and working to get even with the Republicans, their majority may be short lived.
One shocker for me in Kansas was Representative Tim Hodge’s apparent loss in the Newton House District, although there are more votes to be counted that could change the final result. Tim is an exceptional talent and was an incredible freshman legislator. Bright, personable, and very hardworking, he really made a difference for his constituents which, as a freshman, is really rare. So what happened? I couldn’t come up with any reason until I found out Laura Kelly shockingly won Harvey county over Kris Kobach. It then became clearer to me. That area of Kansas was the only one that applauded my four-time veto of capital punishment. Supporting machine-gun-toting Kobach was too much for many Republicans, but their party loyalty would not allow a second vote to be given to a Democrat. If Governor Colyer had won the Republican Primary, Tim Hodge would certainly be heading back to Topeka for a second term.
Another shocker, and bitter pill, was Paul Davis losing the Second District Congressional race to soon-to-be Congressman Steve Watkins. This makes absolutely no sense. The Second District is fairly favorable territory for a Democrat. Davis had the experience of campaigning in 2014 for Governor to build on. As I’ve written before, Watkins would have never won a runoff election with any of the Republicans he defeated in August. He has serious problems with the truth and was certainly not ready for primetime as a candidate. What he did have was lots of money and no hesitancy using an unfortunate incident from many years ago over and over against Davis.
With 2020 and the Presidency now starting to get the political attention, Tuesday’s results do not seem to add to the candidate lineup for the Democrats or introduce any new Republican backup to President Trump. Had there been different results for Democrats in the Senate race in Texas or the Governor’s race in Florida, I might assess this election differently. And with some recounts and potential runoffs ahead, there will be more to learn in the weeks to come and, no doubt, more to say about the impacts of Tuesday, November 6th. What we can, I hope, all agree on is how great it would be if we were allowed a break from partisan politics and fundraising, at least until after the holidays.