The midterm elections are only a few months away, and the political environment is already heating up. No matter what the election results hold, the composites industry has an important stake in the 2018 election with significant outcomes for the industry.
Democrats face an uphill battle in the Senate as they defend 26 of the 35 seats up for reelection. While the Republican Party holds only a slight 51- 49 majority in the Senate, for the balance of power to shift, Democrats need to hold all 26 seats and flip two Republican seats. Based on those odds, Republicans hold a better chance of maintaining the status quo in the Senate.
Although Republicans have a 238-193 seat majority in the House, this chamber is more likely to flip in favor of the Democrats. Of the 435 seats up for reelection in the House, Democrats need to keep all their seats and flip 24 Republican seats to gain control. Republicans lost several seats in the 2016 election, are currently defending districts that historically tend to be toss-ups for either political party and are fighting to keep several open seats. Based on those odds, House elections are worth watching.
Of the seats up for reelection, several long-standing composites industry allies are facing challenging campaigns in November. In the Senate, former chairman of the Congressional Composites Caucus, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) faces a challenging reelection in a state Trump won with significant margins. While it is unlikely that Tennessee will flip from Republican to Democrat, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) not seeking reelection this year, this will be another key race to watch in a state densely packed with composite companies. In the House, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a key ally in promoting composites in infrastructure, is fighting a tough reelection campaign in a battleground district that is becoming increasingly more Democratic leaning.
If either chamber flips, or if Republicans maintain their majority, the aftermath of the election is likely to have a noticeable impact on the composites industry. If the Republican Party fights off the Democrats, the Trump Administration has a greater ability to continue their efforts to identify and eliminate unnecessary government regulation and institute sensible regulations that do not have an adverse impact on businesses. However, if Democrats gain control of one of the chambers, the administration and Republican Party will have a harder time continuing their rollbacks in the regulatory arena.