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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Federal Elections Recap

  • 2020-12-03T16:00:00.000+0000
  • Author: Laure Fabrega

Former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as the winner of this year’s presidential elections. Biden gathered 306 delegates and beat incumbent President Donald Trump who received 232 (51.1% to 47.1%). Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin flipped from red to blue, compared to 2016.

Californians chose Biden at 63.5% v. 34.3% for Trump (Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received 61.8 percent of Californians’ votes in 2016). California Senator Kamala Harris will be the first woman, African American, and Asian American to become Vice President. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will fill her seat by appointing a new Senator after she formally resigns. The new appointee will serve out the remainder of Harris' term through 2022.

While it is too early to tell what a Biden/Harris Administration will mean for our industry, we can expect measures to more aggressively address the covid-19 pandemic, repeal President Trump’s regulatory agenda and 2017 tax law provisions, reinstate Affordable Care Act provisions and further health care access and affordability policies, and strengthen relationships with allies and international organizations.

However, if the Senate remains controlled by the Republican Party, it will be difficult for a Biden Administration to push forward an aggressive agenda. Democrats currently have 48 seats and Republicans have 50. The two Georgia races will be decided in January run-offs and will determine the majority in the Senate. Democrats needed a net gain of three seats to take control of the Senate (current net gain of one seat). In the House, Democrats remain in control with at least 222 seats. The 117th Congress will be sworn in at the beginning of 2020.

In California, one race remains too close to call in the House: district 21 (Valadao v. Cox). David Valadao and T.J Cox are facing off for the second time (Valadao lost to Cox in 2018 by less than 1,000 votes). Another important comeback is that of Darrell Issa who decided not to seek re-election in his 49th district in 2018 after narrowly winning in 2016. He is now Congressman-elect for the more Republican-leaning 50th district, which had been vacant since January 2020 after former Rep. Duncan Hunter resigned due to campaign finance violations.

California currently has four confirmed freshman: Jay Obernolte who took over for Paul Cook who didn’t seek re-election in district 8, Young Kim who defeated incumbent Gil Cisneros in district 39, Michelle Steel who defeated incumbent Harley Rouda in district 48, and Sara Jacobs who was elected in the 53rd district, following Susan Davis’ retirement. California increased its number of Republicans from 7 to 10 or 11, depending on the result of district 21.