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Key Federal Takeaways From the 2020 Election

    Client Alerts
  • November 09, 2020

One thing is certain – voters were engaged in this election. The nationwide turnout approaching 67% is the highest since 1900, according to the U.S. Elections Project. While many votes are still being counted, the nationwide results took on a clearer focus over the weekend.   

In addition to the White House, Democrats have picked up one Senate seat with two more to be determined in January runoffs. The story of the election for House Republicans was the success of Republican women candidates. Republican women flipped back six seats as of this afternoon, with Democratic women only flipping three seats, including two open ones in North Carolina. Overall, Republicans have cut into the Democratic margin in that chamber.

Joe Biden won the presidency, but his policy agenda would face some tough sledding in a divided Congress with the Senate likely still controlled by Republicans. For businesses in the Southeast and across the country, that would likely mean a new direction in trade policy but no dramatic changes with taxes or health care, although there are some tax policies Republicans and Democrats may be able to agree on. 

The White House

Joe Biden crossed the threshold he needed to win the Electoral College – 270 votes – when Pennsylvania was called in his favor. Despite ongoing litigation by the Trump campaign, every major media network from across the political spectrum has declared Biden the president-elect.

The final makeup of the Senate won’t be determined until January after a pair of runoff races in Georgia. Both Senate seats there are now held by Republicans, so it’s an uphill battle for Democrats to take back that chamber. Without the Senate, Biden will have to adjust his plans on several important issues:

Health Care

Biden’s most ambitious plans for expanding health care coverage, including a government-run insurance option and lowering the Medicare eligibility age, would come off the table if Republicans keep the Senate. And they would still be difficult lifts even if Democrats narrowly secure control of the chamber in a pair of Georgia runoff elections in January.


Biden ran on an aggressive tax agenda, including higher rates for wealthy Americans and corporations, along with expanded tax credits for lower income people and incentives for companies to return jobs to the U.S. If the Senate stays in Republican control, the president-elect will probably have to scrap much of his plan.

That’s not to say there aren’t areas where the two sides could agree. For instance, Republicans are also interested in using the tax code to lure jobs back to America. And there are parts of the 2017 tax overhaul that are nearing expiration that members of both parties would like to keep alive, including generous deduction rules for equipment purchases and other investments by businesses.


Biden’s most ambitious trade proposals could face roadblocks from a GOP-led Senate — once the White House gets around to them. At first, trade would likely take a back seat. Biden's campaign said any new trade deals would come after a “series of dramatic domestic investments,” but some things can’t be delayed. Trading partners would pressure Biden quickly to lift Trump’s unilateral tariffs. And Biden would have to name a new U.S. trade representative and decide whether to continue talks with Britain and Kenya started under Trump.

Georgia’s Congressional Delegation

In a rare twist, Georgia had 2 U.S. Senate races on the ballot this year. Incumbent Senator David Perdue (R) was up for re-election while Kelly Loeffler (R) faced the voters for the first time after being appointed to fill the seat held by Johnny Isakson (R). Both races featured more than two candidates and under Georgia law proceed to a runoff if no candidate receives 50% of the vote. 

As noted in our previous election alert, Senator Perdue’s race was initially too close to call. As of this morning, Senator Perdue leads Jon Ossoff (D) by a 49.7%% - 47.9% margin. The Libertarian candidate likely prevented Perdue from winning an outright majority. As such, Perdue and Ossoff square off again in January.

Raphael Warnock (D) currently leads the pack in the Loeffler race with 32.9% of the vote. Senator Loeffler is not far behind at 25.9%, followed by Rep. Doug Collins (R) with 20% of the vote. Warnock and Loeffler are headed to a runoff in January.

Georgia Democrats picked up one seat in the House delegation and now enjoy an 8-6 margin there.

Here are the results for all of Georgia’s U.S. House contests:

1st DISTRICT:      (i) Buddy Carter (R)

2nd DISTRICT:    (i) Sanford Bishop (D)

3rd DISTRICT:     (i) Drew Ferguson (R)

4th DISTRICT:     (i) Hank Johnson (D)

5th DISTRICT:     Nikema Williams (D)

6th DISTRICT:     (i) Lucy McBath (D)

7th DISTRICT:     Carolyn Bourdeaux (D)

8th DISTRICT:     (i) Austin Scott (R)

9th DISTRICT:     Andrew Clyde (R)

10th DISTRICT:  (i) Jody Hice (R)

11th DISTRICT:  (i) Barry Loudermilk (R)

12th DISTRICT:  (i) Rick Allen (R)

13th DISTRICT:  (i) David Scott (D)

14th DISTRICT:  Marjorie Greene (R)

North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation

North Carolina hosted the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history this year. And while the results have not been finalized, it is safe to say that Senator Thom Tillis (R) won reelection. With that, North Carolina Republicans maintain their 2-0 advantage in the Senate.

Democrats were able to cut into the Republican advantage in North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Democrats targeted two newly drawn districts to pick up two seats. Madison Cawthorn (R), Kathy Manning (D), and Deborah Ross (D) will be the newcomers joining the North Carolina delegation.

Here are the winners for all of North Carolina’s U.S. House contests:

1st DISTRICT:      (i) G. K. Butterfield (D)

2nd DISTRICT:    Deborah Ross (D)

3rd DISTRICT:     (i) Greg Murphy (R)

4th DISTRICT:     (i) David E. Price (D)

5th DISTRICT:     (i) Virginia Foxx (R)

6th DISTRICT:     Kathy Manning (D)

7th DISTRICT:     (i) David Rouzer (R)

8th DISTRICT:     (i) Richard Hudson (R)

9th DISTRICT:     (i) Dan Bishop (R)

10th DISTRICT:  (i) Patrick McHenry (R)

11th DISTRICT:  Madison Cawthorn (R)

12th DISTRICT:  (i) Alma Adams (D)

13th DISTRICT:  (i) Ted Budd (R)

South Carolina’s Congressional Delegation

As we noted in our previous election alert, South Carolina had one of the most watched and heavily funded U.S. Senate races this election cycle, in which Republican Senator Lindsey Graham defeated Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Additionally, South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District flipped back to the GOP just two years after flipping to the Democrats.

Here are the winners for all of South Carolina’s US House contests:

1st DISTRICT:      Nancy Mace (R)

2nd DISTRICT:    (i) Joe Wilson (R)

3rd DISTRICT:     (i) Jeff Duncan (R)

4th DISTRICT:     (i) William Timmons (R)

5th DISTRICT:     (i) Ralph Norman (R)

6th DISTRICT:     (i) Jim Clyburn (D)

7th DISTRICT:     (i) Tom Rice (R)

For more information, please contact me or your regular Parker Poe contact.