Post-Election Analysis: Congressional Leadership Changes

Nov 15, 2018

After last week’s midterm election, we observed the impact of the results towards the RV Caucus. With the dust finally settling, the current totals include a Democratic gain of 35-38 seats in the House (with 8 races still to be called) and a 2-3 seat Republican gain in the Senate (with the Florida Senate race headed to a recount and the Mississippi election headed to a run-off). This will result in just a few committee chairs changing in the Senate, while the takeover by the Democrats in the House will usher in all new committee chairs.

With the changes in leadership, members of the Senate RV Caucus will occupy two positions within the Senate Leadership and two Senate Committee Chairmanships. RV Caucus Co-Chair Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) was elected as vice chair of the Senate GOP conference and RV Caucus member Senator Todd Young (R-IN) was elected to serve as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman. RV Caucus member Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) will take over as chairman of the Commerce Committee.

The biggest domino to fall in the Senate was the retirement of Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT). This will allow RV Caucus member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to decide if he wants to chair the Finance Committee or remain as chair of the Judiciary Committee, as he is the most senior Republican on both committees. If he opts to remain with the Judiciary Committee, then Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) will take the Banking chair. If Sen. Grassley instead takes the Finance Committee chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would likely take over the Judiciary Committee.

In the House, a complete shuffling of chairs and ranking minority members will take place:


Leadership elections for House Republicans will take place this week, while Democratic leadership elections will occur the week after Thanksgiving.