Although final results of the Presidential election are still pending, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Policy Department can provide a summary of results for the Senate and House as of today.
In Mississippi, all four incumbents – Rep. Trent Kelly, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Michael Guest and Rep. Steven Palazzo – for office of the U.S. House of Representatives were re-elected to their posts, all on significant majority votes. Incumbent U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated former U.S. Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy again, receiving 55% of the vote over Espy’s 42%, from the latest news reports.
It appears the Republican Party will retain the majority in the U.S. Senate. Final results are still pending in the North Carolina Senate race between incumbent Thom Tillis (R) and Cal Cunningham (D), as well as the Georgia Senate race where incumbent Senators David Perdue (R) and Kelly Loeffler (R) did not garner a majority vote in their respective races. It appears Georgia could possibly have both of their U.S. Senate seats on a run off ballot on January 5. Loeffler will face challenger Raphael Warnock (D) and Perdue will face challenger Jon Ossoff (D).
The Senate Republican and Democratic Caucuses will meet to set their leadership election in the coming weeks. If Republicans hold their majority in the Senate, it’s anticipated U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) will chair the Agriculture Committee, with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) as ranking member. Other key Senate committee leadership expectations include: Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) – Commerce, Science, & Transportation; Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) – Appropriations; and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) – Environment & Public Works.
It appears the Democratic Party will retain the majority in the U.S. House. Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-MN) was defeated by a Republican challenger, leaving his position open. An election will be held between the top three Democratic House members who serve on the committee for the chairmanship. Those members are Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH). Due to the retirement of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Republican House members who serve on the committee will also caucus for the ranking member position of the committee. Top members to be considered for this position are Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) and Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-PA).
According to today’s reports, House Democrats will hold caucus leadership elections on November 18 and 19. Committee leadership elections will be held on November 30. House Republicans will hold their leadership and steering committee elections on November 17. The steering committee will determine committee leadership and membership at a later date.
As we head into the next farm bill discussion, it’s significant to note that only one of the four principals on the agriculture committees were in those leadership positions when the 2018 Farm Bill was written. Farm Bureau will continue to update membership as election results continue to be announced.