Slideshow Twelve Races Bankers Were Watching on Election Night

Published
  • November 09 2016, 8:30am EST
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A look at the outcome of the most important races for the financial services industry.

GOP Retains Senate

Despite the strong focus on the presidential election, the fight for the majority in the Senate was at least as important to financial institutions. Republicans held off a tough challenge from Democrats, retaining the chamber by a razor-thin majority of 51 to 47. In addition to how this could impact legislative efforts at regulatory reform, the balance of power in the Senate could also make a difference for presidential nominations — including nominations to the National Credit Union Administration and other federal regulators — that must be approved by the Senate.

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Rubio Wins in Florida

Perhaps if Sen. Marco Rubio hadn't had such a tough time during his attempt to capture the Republican presidential nomination, Florida would have been considered a relatively safe seat for the GOP, but the Sunshine State was considered to be a competitive battleground race. But Rubio pulled off the win against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, garnering 52% of the vote to Murphy's 44%.

GOP Finds Safety in Indiana

Originally considered by many political pundits to be a "safe seat" for the GOP, Indiana earned battleground status when Democrat Evan Bayh – who is both a former senator and governor of the Hoosier State — tossed his hat into the ring to face off against Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young. Despite Bayh's strong name recognition, Young was able to keep his seat, winning 52% to Bayh's 42%. Libertarian Lucy Brenton took 5% of the vote.

Blunt Plurality for the Win

Despite Democrats funneling money into Missouri to help Secretary of State Jason Kander take the seat away from incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, the GOP kept this seat. With 99% of the polls reporting, Blunt won 49% to Kander's 46%, while the Libertarian candidate took 2%, the Green Party candidate 1% and another 1% to the Constitution party candidate.

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Masto Wins in Nevada

It was considered by some to be the Republican Party's best hope for winning a new seat in the Senate, by virtue of it being an open seat with no incumbent running, but Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the former state attorney general, pulled out the win with 47% of vote to Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck's 45%. Where did the other 8% of the vote go? With 98% of the polls reporting, the third largest vote-getter in this race was "None of these candidates" at 4%. The rest were divvied up among four independent candidates.

New Hampshire Still Too Close to Call

It's a little bit ironic when two political insiders try to portray themselves as outsiders, but that's what's happening in New Hampshire, where incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan are both selling themselves as independents. With 93% of the polls reporting, Ayotte has a lead of just over 1,000 votes.

Burr Retains Seat in North Carolina

In another example of a battleground state that normally wouldn't have been considered as such due to an incumbent being in the race, North Carolina's U.S. Senate race pitted incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr against former Democratic State Rep. Deborah Ross. Typically, it's tough for a state representative to make the leap from serving a relatively small section of the population in the legislature to representing the entire state in the Washington, especially when facing off an incumbent, but things were looking tight when Burr, who is currently the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, refused to start campaigning until after the Senate officially adjourned earlier this month. But the late start to campaigning didn't stop Burr from retaining his seat, winning 51% of the vote to Ross's 45%. The other 4% went to the Libertarian candidate.

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Toomey Pulls It Off in Pennsylvania

Incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey eked out a win with 49% of the vote, with 47% going to Kathleen "Katie" McGinty, best known for having served as an environmental policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. The other 4% went to the Libertarian candidate. Toomey and McGinty took very different tacks with respect to how they tied their races to any presidential coattails. Toomey largely distanced himself from fellow Republican Donald Trump, while Democrat Hillary Clinton campaigned on behalf of McGinty just last month.

Trump Takes the White House

There's been precious little detail offered on what Trump's financial policies will be when he takes office in January, but the expectation is that he will be pro-deregulation. Trump will have the opportunity to make critical appointments to the National Credit Union Administration and Federal Reserve Board in the short term and later to the other financial regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018.

Legalized Pot Wins More States

Voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota approved medical marijuana measures on Tuesday, while their counterparts in California and Massachusetts approved recreational pot initiatives, according to projections.

The projected results bring the number of states that have legalized cannabis to 28, a number that could rise to 29 when all the votes are counted in Montana, which also had a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot.

The outcome in Maine, Arizona and Nevada, which have already legalized medical marijuana but were considering recreational use measures Tuesday, also hung in the balance.

The growing number of states that have legalized at least some use of marijuana puts added pressure on lawmakers and regulators to smooth the way for credit unions and banks to serve legitimate pot businesses.

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Also Rans?

As fluid and unpredictable as this election season has been, some political pundits suggested some additional Senate races to keep an eye on would include Arizona (Republican incumbent John McCain beat Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick), Illinois (Republican incumbent Mark Kirk, who lost his seat to Democrat Tammy Duckworth), Ohio (Republican incumbent Rob Portman who handily beat back Democrat Ted Strickland) and Wisconsin (Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, who managed to retain his seat despite facing stiff competition from Democrat Russ Feingold).

In Louisiana, where a plurality is not sufficient to win, a runoff will be held Dec. 10 between Democrat Foster Campbell and Republican John Kennedy.


The Other (White) House

As most political pundits had predicted, the Republicans maintained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but saw their margin shrink to 45, with a handful of seats still undecided. But even a small change to that margin could make a big difference that financial institutions can't afford to ignore, as it means a shifting of committee seats that could impact how those committees get things done.