Election Day has passed but there are still plenty of questions remaining in the political landscape.
As of Nov. 10, there are still some outstanding races that will likely determine the political leanings of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and that makes any predicting of future national ag policy difficult.
“The election made everything clear as mud right now,” Collin Peterson, a former House Agriculture Committee chairman from Minnesota, said Nov. 9. “It looks like the Republicans will take the House, but not by a huge margin, and the senate might not be decided until a runoff in Georgia.”
Results are showing a nearly split Senate, with Democrats holding 49 seats and Republicans holding 50. The Senate race Peterson referenced between incumbent Democratic senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will determine which party holds the edge. That race will be determined in a Dec. 6 runoff election.
Democrats hold the tiebreaking vote in the case of a 50-50 split.
Having this tight of a midterm election may not be a bad thing when the next farm bill is discussed, Peterson said.
“Maybe having this close of a margin will help bring the next Farm Bill together,” Peterson said. “There will be challenges, and we’ve had those before, but hopefully people will learn from lessons of the past. I’m optimistic we can get it done.”
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Randy Russell, president of the Russell Group, agreed with Peterson’s optimism, but said the election was surprising to him.
“It’s fascinating to me how exit polls showed over 70% of the voters were dissatisfied with the state of the country, but when you look at the result, we pretty much voted for status quo,” he said.
He noted that often independent voters will choose candidates of the party not in power during a president’s first midterm election, but this didn’t appear to be the case this year. That limited what was expected to be a “red wave” in the national races.
In regional races, Iowa was swept by Republican victories. Chuck Grassley earned his eighth term as senator with 56.1% of the vote, his closest race since the 1980s. Republicans also took all four seats in the U.S. House, with Zach Nunn defeating the lone Democrat incumbent Cindy Axne by less than one percentage point.
Statewide, Kim Reynolds won reelection as Iowa’s governor with 58.1% of the vote, while Republicans hold a strong edge in both the State House and State Senate.
Illinois saw Tammy Duckworth win Senate reelection, with 55.8% of the vote. Democrats have won 13 of the 17 races for the House of Representatives, with one race yet to be determined as of Nov. 10.
J.B. Pritzker won reelection in the race for governor, while Democrats will hold the edge in the State Senate and State House.
In Missouri’s federal races, Republican Eric Schmitt won the election to take over for the retiring Sen. Roy Blunt with 55.5% of the vote. Republicans also won six of the eight districts for the House of Representatives.
Missouri’s State House and Senate will remain Republican controlled, with a 14-seat edge in the Senate and a 61-seat edge in the House.