(courtesty NAHB) NAHB Chief Lobbyist Jim Tobin provides an election analysis.
A sitting president who evoked strong passions at both ends of the political spectrum. A persistent virus. A recovering but sluggish economy. Motivated political bases. Record voter turnout. Consistent, durable leads in nationwide and swing-state polls for Democrat Joe Biden that proved to be, once again, inaccurate.
All these factors culminated in a long election night and a presidential race that went into overtime until it was finally called for Biden four days after the polls closed.
Biden will become the 46th president of the United States after resurrecting the Democratic Midwestern “blue wall” in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a razor-thin margin. He may also eke out wins in the reliable Republican strongholds of Arizona and Georgia, which have not been called yet.
It wasn’t just the presidential campaign that illustrated just how divided the nation is. Though Democrats were expected to flip the Senate and add to their House majority, as the dust settles it appears that the Republicans will hold onto control of the upper chamber. The tally currently stands at 48 Republican Senate seats to 48 Democratic seats, with two Georgia Senate races (GOP incumbents Perdue and Loeffler) headed to a Jan. 5 runoff and two contests in North Carolina (GOP incumbent Thom Tillis) and Alaska (GOP incumbent Dan Sullivan) that have not been called but favor the sitting senators.
While the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives remained firmly in Democratic hands, as forecast, House Republicans also had an unexpectedly good election night, recapturing some of the suburban seats they lost in 2018. With roughly 30 House seats still to be called, the House GOP appears poised to post a net gain of at least seven seats, thereby narrowing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s working majority.
NAHB highlighted the important role of housing in the election by honoring “Defenders of Housing;” supporting pro-housing candidates with BUILD-PAC contributions; and endorsing deserving candidates for election. As the 117th Congress is seated in January 2021, and with the Democrats regaining control of the White House, NAHB’s near-term priorities remain passing another coronavirus relief package and ensuring that the lumber, building materials and housing supply chain continue to recover.
Longer-term efforts will focus on ensuring a strong economy and creating a regulatory environment that supports housing production. Housing will continue to be the brightest spot of the economic recovery and NAHB will remain true to its mission to ensure that every American can achieve the American Dream of homeownership and have access to affordable rental housing.