Democrats are celebrating victories this morning in yesterday’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as other local races across the country. In the most high-profile race, Ralph Northam defeated Ed Gillespie for the Virginia governorship by a nine-point margin, four points more than Hillary Clinton’s victory in the state last year. That fact has some political analysts viewing last night’s results as an early indicator for next year’s midterm elections, particularly as exit polls suggest that voters viewed the Virginia and New Jersey races as a referendum on President Trump. The next election to watch is in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore are vying for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became Attorney General earlier this year. Election day for that race will be on Dec. 12.
In Washington today, the House will consider a bill (H.R. 3043) on hydropower policy that would streamline some permitting requirements and designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the primary federal regulator of hydropower facilities. The bill has been opposed by some environmental groups, but will likely enjoy broad support as it was advanced out of the Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote in June.
The Senate will continue its work on confirming President Trump’s nominees for various federal agency posts. Roll call votes are expected today on the confirmation of Peter Robb to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board and to invoke cloture on the nomination of William Wehrum to be Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).