Call it a blue wave, call it a light ripple, call it a changing of the tides; Whatever it was, ag lawmakers, for the most part, stayed dry.
Of the 52 members of the House Ag Committee and Ag Appropriations Subcommittee seeking reelection, only a handful lost. It was a dicey night for many GOP incumbents, and Democrats are projected to pick up 33 seats with a few races still pending. But despite all the turnover, only three Republicans on the panels fell short in their reelection efforts.
Here’s a look at some of the key farm policy races from election night:
- The House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee had two of its members lose their reelection efforts. Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder lost 53 percent to 44 percent, to Democrat Sharice Davids, who is set to be the first LGBTQ member of Congress from Kansas and one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in the U.S.
- Iowa Republican David Young was another vulnerable Republican who would lose to a woman candidate, in this case Democrat Cindy Axne. She ended up with a 2.5 point lead in a race that was rated anywhere from Lean Democrat to Toss Up.
- Iowa’s 4th Congressional District became a race to watch late in the election season after previously supportive groups, including the political action committee for dairy cooperative Land O’Lakes, pulled support from Rep. Steve King’s reelection bid. King ended with a win of about 4 points, well short of the just over 22-point victory he enjoyed in 2016.
- New York Republican John Faso was the only House Ag Committee Republican to fail in his reelection effort, falling to Democrat Antonio Delgado by about 3 points.
- California Republican Jeff Denham was leading in one of the closest races of any of the 435 seats in Congress, but early Wednesday morning, the race was still too close to call. The contest for the state's 10th Congressional District had been rated a Toss Up or Likely D race.
- Collin Peterson, the likely chair of the House Ag Committee in the next Congress, had emerged as a potentially vulnerable incumbent on election night before eventually winning his race by about 4.5 points. The Minnesota Democrat, serving in a district where Donald Trump held a 61-31 advantage over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, has long been viewed as a Republican target due to the conservative nature of his district.
- The GOP made a pickup in the Minnesota district left open by Democrat Rick Nolan opting not to return to Washington. Nolan’s district was claimed by Republican Pete Stauber, a former pro hockey player and police officer. The seat vacated by Minnesota's Tim Walz, who was elected as the state's next governor, was too close to call at press time.
- Illinois offered some intrigue on election night with an assist from an overly-eager race call from CNN. The network briefly called the 13th Congressional District race for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who was seeking to unseat Rep. Rodney Davis. But Davis would go on to squeak out a victory by about 2 points. Rep. Mike Bost was also viewed as a potentially endangered Republican, but he won his race by about 9 points.
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