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Armed Services committees and the election: Here’s what we know


WASHINGTON — As results for key congressional races and the presidency continue to roll in, several Senate Armed Services Committee leaders are still battling tough races.

But here is what we do know, as of mid-morning Thursday. This story will be updated as results come in:

Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, the chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, is leading in his race against Democrat John Ossoff, potentially denying Democrats what would have been a vital pickup for seizing control of the Senate. It’s also too soon to call the race between Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump for the state’s 16 electoral votes.

Democratic hopes of controlling the Senate for the first since 2015 appear to be slipping. To win the Senate, Democrats would have to gain three seats if Biden prevails against Trump, or four seats if Trump wins the election.

• Senate Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Thom Tillis, R-N.C., led challenger Cal Cunningham by 96,000 votes and declared victory Wednesday, but Cunningham refused to concede while more than 117,000 absentee ballots were outstanding.

• Senate Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee Chairman Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, on Thursday morning appeared to have a 60,000-vote lead on Independent challenger Al Gross, with only half the votes counted. However, Alaska’s tally is expected to take days as officials count mail-in ballots.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, prevailed in similarly tough race. The Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee chair and a member of Senate Republican leadership is also the first female combat veteran elected to Congress.

Michigan Democrat Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking member on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, prevailed Wednesday night in a razor-tight race against businessman and Iraq war veteran John James. Hours after Biden defeated Trump in the state, Peters was roughly 60,000 votes ahead.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both won reelection handily, and if the Senate stays in Republican hands, they will almost certainly stay in their leadership roles.

• Senate Airland Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cotton, R-Ark., had no Democratic challenger and won reelection. Senate Cybersecurity Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rounds, R-S.D., also won. New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, another senior member of SASC, easily won a third term. All three were projected wins.

• SASC Republican Sen. Martha McSally, the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, lost to Mark Kelly, an astronaut and retired Navy captain, in Arizona. She has yet to concede, however.

• SASC Democrat Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., lost decisively to Republican opponent Tommy Tuberville.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., soundly defeated his Republican challenger, while two lead Republican contenders to replace Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, as ranking member ― Reps. Mike Turner of Ohio and Mike Rogers of Alabama ― also won reelection.

• Two Democratic freshmen on HASC ― Reps. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico ― lost seats that Democrats flipped in 2018. As of Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., was trailing his Republican challenger but refused to concede until absentee ballots are counted.

• Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon, a former Air Force one-star general whose policy positions sometimes clashed with Trump, carved out a reelection win. Because Nebraska awards its electoral votes by congressional district, NE-02 was also a crucial win for Biden.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., won reelection. Slotkin, a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, is at the top of an influential class of Democratic freshmen who have hands-on national security experience. Addressing supporters Wednesday, she reportedly said Biden will win in Michigan, but there may be a tumultuous transfer of power.

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