Ag Policy Blog

GOP Closer to Winning House, But Senate Control Will Have to Wait

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Three Democratic House members on the Agriculture Committee lost their seats after the votes were tallied on Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Associated Press had yet to call more than 50 House races. Republicans were still on a path to gain control, but hold a smaller-than-expected majority. (DTN image by Nick Scalise)

NOTE: Article updated at 6:30 a.m. Central on Thursday.

OMAHA (DTN) -- Eyes on Wednesday turned mainly to western states where most of the outstanding House races remain to be called.

In the House, Associated Press had yet to call 39 races as of Thursday morning. Republicans had won 207 House seats and Democrats had 189. It takes 218 seats to win the majority.

The Senate seems like a replay of 2020. Each party has 48 seats with undecided races in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. The fate of the Senate will likely come down to the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff between incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in his race against Republican Herschel Walker.


At least three Democratic incumbents on the House Agriculture Committee had elections called against them on Wednesday: om O'Halleran of Arizona, Cindy Axne of Iowa, and Sean Maloney of New York.

Republican Rep. Mayra Flores, who had won a special election last summer in the Texas 34th District, also lost her bid for a full term in a district on the southeastern tip of Texas.

The House Agriculture Committee is expected to draft a farm bill in 2023, but the committee could be looking at educating a lot of fresh faces about farm-bill policy and programs.


ARIZONA: Rep. Tom O'Halleran, a three-term incumbent, lost to GOP candidate Eli Crane by about 19,000 votes in the Arizona 2nd District. Crane is a former Navy Seal and small business owner whose company had been promoted on the TV show "Shark Tank."

IOWA: Rep. Cindy Axne, a two-term incumbent in the Iowa 3rd District, lost to Republican Zach Nunn, a state senator and former Air Force Lt. colonel. Nunn won 50.3% to 49.7% and just over a 2,000 -vote margin. A Nunn win also puts a GOP lock on Congress for Iowa.

NEW YORK: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, in office since 2013, conceded his race Wednesday against GOP candidate Michael Lawler, a state assembly member and former executive director of the New York GOP. Maloney lost even though he chaired the Democrats campaign committee in the House.


CALIFORNIA: Two-term Rep. Josh Harder in the 9th District is leading GOP candidate Tom Patti, a county supervisor in San Joaquin County, which makes up most of the district. Harder leads by about 10,000 votes.

CALIFORNIA: Rep. Jim Costa, a veteran Democrat on the committee, was leading in his bid for a tenth term in a district representing Fresno. Costa was leading 53% to 47% early Wednesday with just under half of the vote reported.

CONNECTICUT: Rep. Jahana Hayes, elected in 2018, is leading in her 5th District seat by about 1,800 votes over GOP candidate George Logan. Hayes chairs the Ag Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations.

FLORIDA: Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., beat Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., a member of the House Agriculture Committee, in an incumbent-on-incumbent race. Lawson has served in the House since 2017, but redistricting pit Lawson and Dunn against each other.

GEORGIA: As expected, Rep. David Scott, a Democrat and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, won an 11th term in office. Scott carried 82% of the vote in his district.

KANSAS: The newest Democratic member of the Ag Committee, Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids, won her third term. Davids joined the committee in June.

MINNESOTA: Rep. Angie Craig, who has been on the committee for four years, won over Republican Tyler Kistner 51% to 46% in the Minnesota 2nd District race.

OHIO: Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who won her first congressional seat in 1982, won another term in the House. Kaptur joined the Ag Committee back in May.

VIRGINIA: Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who chairs the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, held onto her 7th District for a third term. Spanberger co-sponsored the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the House. The Senate has passed the bill, so this will be a piece of legislation to watch in the lame-duck session.

WASHINGTON: Rep. Kim Schrier -- another a member of the 2019 class -- is leading her race in the state's 8th District as of Wednesday afternoon. GOP candidate Matt Larkin is a lawyer, former state attorney general candidate and co-owner of a pipe-product company. Schrier was up 53% to 47% with a lead of more than 12,000 votes.


Overall, most Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee were in safer districts. A few races stood out.

MINNESOTA: Rep. Brad Finstad, a Republican and member of the House Agriculture Committee, has won a full two-year term. Finstad won an August special election to fill the seat after the death of Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., beating former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger, who ran as a Democrat, by 4%.

NEBRASKA: Rep. Don Bacon won a fourth term in the 2nd District against Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas by about 9,000 votes, a 52% to 48% margin.

PENNSYLVANIA: Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson won the 15th District with 70% of the vote. Thompson is in line to become committee chairman in January.

TEXAS: In the 34th District, Rep. Mayra Flores -- the newest Republican committee member of the committee -- lost to Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who was in the Texas 15th District, but tossed into the race with Flores by redistricting.


GEORGIA: All eyes are on Warnock who will now go to a runoff with Walker. This election set for Dec. 6 will now decide which party wins the U.S. Senate.

ARKANSAS: Sen. John Boozman, the committee ranking member, easily won his reelection to a third term.

COLORADO: Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat was able to win a third full term. Watch during the lame duck session to see if Bennet is able to get an agricultural immigration bill passed.

IOWA: Sen. Chuck Grassley -- the 89-year-old Republican won his eighth term in the Senate.

KANSAS: GOP Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Ag Appropriations Subcommittee, won another Senate term.

MISSOURI: State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, defeated Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine, an heir to the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch brewery. Schmitt will replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt.

NORTH CAROLINA: Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican, won the seat to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

NORTH DAKOTA: Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican, won a third term. Hoeven is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees USDA, the FDA and related agencies.

OHIO: J.D. Vance, a Republican who became famous for writing the book "Hillbilly Elegy," defeating Rep. Tim Ryan, to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Sen. John Thune, the Senate Minority Whip, and a member of the Agriculture Committee, won a fourth term.

VERMONT: Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat, won the Senate race. As the successor to retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a former Senate Agriculture Committee chairman and a leader on agricultural policy for decades, Welch is likely to seek a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom contributed to this report.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


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