The worst kept secret in all of politics is, “What are the key swing states?” in any election. At this point if you live in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida or Nevada, you do not need a reminder. The outcome of these states, in particular, will go a long way in deciding who will control the White House.
But some of the earlier swing states will set the stage as to how accurate pollsters are to start the evening. The races in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire had been targeted as “toss-ups” prior to the video of Trump’s comments being made public. That revelation has put both states back in the Clinton column, based largely on declining poll numbers among women voters. An early surprise in either state would likely mean that those revelations have not impacted him significantly or that the FBI’s recent announcement of the review of additional emails has damaged Secretary Clinton’s chances — either would set the stage for a very uncertain evening.
It will also be worth watching whether candidates are able to win states that are non-traditional for their party. For example, Secretary Clinton has been surprisingly competitive in Georgia, Utah and Arizona. Trump, meanwhile, has out-performed expectations throughout his campaign, and claims he will do well in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa.
Control of the Senate will come down to a few targeted races as well. Republicans are clinging to a four-seat majority while defending 24 seats to the Democrats 10. A Democratic pickup of five seats, or four seats and the White House, will flip control of the chamber. The key races that will determine control include:
Who controls the Senate will dictate the chamber’s agenda, and a change in leadership will have a dramatic impact at the committee level. In addition to the potential leadership changes, a flip in the Senate will also impact the committee ratios — the number of members each party has on each committee.
At the Senate Banking Committee, we will see new leadership regardless of who is in the majority. Current Chairman Shelby (R-AL) is term-limited. Sen. Crapo (R-ID) will become the top Republican with Sen. Brown (D-OH) either retaining his Ranking Member status or becoming Chairman under a Democratic majority. Additional races to watch include:
The Senate Finance Committee, which guides tax policy, is expected to retain its leadership; however, there are two races in particular worth watching:
U.S. House of Representatives
Control of the House is likely to remain with Republicans, as Democrats would need a gain of 30 seats to retake control. But Democrats are expected to pick up seats this cycle, which will also impact committee ratios. The extent of those changes remains to be seen.
Leadership of the Financial Services Committee is expected to remain intact; however, there are a few members who are in competitive races and will be worth watching, including:
After the election, it will be worth watching subcommittee leadership changes that will occur due to the retirement of Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Neugebauer (R-TX).
At the House Ways & Means Committee, leadership is likely to remain unchanged. Races to watch include: