A Preliminary Take on the 2020 Election Results (With More to Come)

Published by Peter Lawrence on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 12:00am

As of the writing of this post, the presidential election remains uncalled, and it appears that it may take several days for results to be clear.

As for Congressional races, Democrats currently have a net gain of one seat in the Senate with five seats uncalled. Democrats are projected to retain control in the House, albeit likely with net losses of at least five seats, according to AP.

President

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won states called by the Associated Press (AP) with a total of 248 electoral votes while President Trump has 214 electoral votes and there are 87 remaining electoral votes. Biden has so far flipped Arizona, Wisconsin and the second congressional district of Nebraska, but no other state. President Donald Trump has not yet won a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina have yet to be called. Of these uncalled states, Biden is currently ahead in Nevada and Michigan, while Trump is ahead in North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

If all vote counting were halted and recounts or litigation fail to change the results, Biden would be elected with the bare minimum of 270 electoral votes, but vote counting continues and could change who wins the uncalled states. Trump has officially requested a recount of the vote in Wisconsin, where Biden leads by about 20,000 votes. As was the case for Hillary Clinton, Biden is ahead in the national popular vote and appears likely to keep that lead when the votes are confirmed.

Senate

In this election there were 23 Republicans up for reelection, including two in states where Clinton won in 2016 (Colorado and Maine). There were 12 Democrats up for reelection, including two in states where Trump, won in 2016 (Alabama and Maine). As of the writing of this post, Republicans have won at least 49 seats, while Democrats have won at least 46 seats, including two Independents, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who generally vote with Democrats. Five races remain undetermined: Alaska, both Georgia races, Michigan and North Carolina, the results of which will determine control of the Senate.  The Georgia Senate special election is headed to a Jan. 5, 2021 runoff between Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rafael Warnock, and while Republican Sen. David Perdue leads in the other Georgia Senate race, he could also end up in a runoff election with Democrat Jon Ossoff. Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is leading his race and Republican John James is narrowly leading incumbent Democrat Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan. Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan has a significant lead in Alaska, although that race hasn’t been officially called. Given these leads and the history of Democrats failing to win Senate runoff elections in Georgia, Republicans appear more likely than not to control the Senate in the next Congress, regardless of who wins the White House.

Blog Chart: Senate Races as of Nov. 4, 2:45pm ET
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Blog Chart: Key Senate Races as of Nov. 4, 2:45pm ET
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Senate Finance Committee

Assuming Republicans retain control of the Senate, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Id., will likely become Senate Finance Committee Chairman, as current Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa is term limited, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will be the top Democrat. Two Republican members of the Finance Committee–Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.–retired. Three other Republican Committee Members—Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. were reelected, as was the sole Committee Democrat up for reelection, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. That means there will likely be one or two new Republicans added to the Committee to fill the vacancies created by the Roberts and Enzi retirements.

House

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were up for re-election. Currently, there are 232 Democrats, one Libertarian (former Republican Justin Amash of the 3rd Congressional District of Michigan) and 198 Republicans, with four vacancies–one of which were previously held by Democrats and the other three previously held by Republicans.

According to the AP at the time of this writing, Democrats have been declared the winner in 200 seats, Republicans in 185 seats and 50 seats are still uncalled.  Of the called races, Democrats have flipped at least two seats in North Carolina (2nd and 6th congressional districts) and Republicans have flipped at least seven seats:  Florida’s 26th and 27th congressional districts, Iowa’s 3rd congressional district, Minnesota’s 7th congressional district, New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district, Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district, and South Carolina’s 1st congressional district. Assuming other races proceed as predicted, AP projects the House will remain in control of the Democrats.

Blog Chart: House Races as of Nov. 4, 2:45pm ET
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Ways and Means Committee

With Democrats retaining control of the House, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., will remain chairman of the Ways & Means Committee.  Of the 42 current members of the Ways and Means Committee, two did not seek re-election and are retiring: Reps. Kevin Marchant, R-Texas. (who is the lead House Republican sponsor of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act), and George Holding, R-N.C.  Most of the remaining 40 were re-elected; only Reps. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., and Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y. are in danger of not being reelected.

More to Come

To learn what these results mean for the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), new markets tax credit (NMTC), historic rehabilitation tax credit (HTC), Opportunity Zone and renewable energy communities, please listen to the special edition of the Tax Credit Tuesday podcast later today, register to attend the Nov. 19 Novogradac 2020 Election Effects on Community Development Tax Incentives Webinar, and read the December issue of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits.