Morning Briefing - November 08, 2018
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November 08, 2018

2018 Election Opens Up HASC, SASC Memberships

By ExchangeMonitor

The results of the Nov. 6 midterm elections, from the Democratic takeover of the House to the extra GOP pickups in the Senate, will be reflected in the two chambers’ armed services committees.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Democrats had taken control of 222 House seats and the Republicans control 196, with 418 out of 435 seats declared.

Twelve House Armed Services Committee (HASC) members are leaving this term either to retire or seek higher office, leaving key positions up for grabs in the new Congress. Already known departures included Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), current ranking member of HASC subcommittee on readiness, who lost her primary election.

HASC Democratic Reps. Beto O’Rourke (Texas) and Colleen Hanabusa (Hawaii) will also be leaving their seats come January after losing their races for senator and state governor, respectively.

Two HASC members are competing against each other in a race that remains undecided as of deadline Wednesday. Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are vying for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R) seat.

In addition to those anticipated departures, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), chair of the Military Personnel subcommittee, lost his race Tuesday against Democrat Jason Crow.

Meanwhile, HASC member Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) will take Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s seat, opening up another position on the committee.

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) lost two senior Democratic members Tuesday night, leaving several ranking member positions open come January. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) lost to Republican businessman Mike Braun by nearly 10 percentage points, according to the Associated Press. Donnelly, a former congressman who joined the Senate in 2013, is currently the ranking member of the SASC Strategic Forces subcommittee, and also serves on the Airland subcommittee.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) lost to Republican Josh Hawley, currently the state’s attorney general.

The committee could lose a third Democrat as Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has called for a recount in his election against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, as of deadline.


While Senate and House leaders will select new committee membership by January, it is widely expected that SASC leadership will remain the same – with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as chairman and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) as ranking member – and that HASC ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) will take the gavel, switching places with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).