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Dems Take House in "Blue Wave"

Democrats reclaimed the House Tuesday, though in an election CNN's Jake Tapper early proclaimed "not a blue wave," which was echoed by Fox's Britt Hume, who said it looked like a blue night, but not a blue wave, though as the night wore on the House margin had CNN's John King declaring that it was, indeed, a blue wave in the House.

Historically the opposition party to the President picks up an average of 30 House seats and four Senate seats in the midterm. Republicans picked up 63 House seats and Six Senate seats, and control of the House, in the first midterm after President Obama's 2008 election, for example.

Fox called the House for the Dems early in the night, with CNN still saying they were ahead in the race and looking good and "in striking distance."

As expected, Republicans kept control of the Senate, at press time looking like they would increase their 51-49 margin, with Marsha Blackburn's victory in the Senate billed as the win that signaled that body would be out of reach for Democrats.

Congress will be divided and have to work together to get anything done legislatively, but look for Democrats to exercise muscular oversight of the Trump Administration, including the FCC, which could include investigations and subpoenas and a hearing blitz over net neutrality, media deregulation, media merger reviews, broadband subsidies and much more.

Blackburn (R-Tenn.) will be the first female senator from Tennessee. She is currently the chair of the House Communications Subcommittee, with the new chairman expected to be Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), the current ranking member.

A big potential loss for the Dems was Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), current ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, who at press time was losing his reelection bid to Republican Florida governor Rick Scott. Nelson has been a vociferous critic of FCC chair Ajit Pai and his deregulatory agenda as well as of social media giants and their data protection practices.

Scott eventually declared victory, but the margin was less than 5%, which triggers a recount, which Nelson has asked for.

Former Cuban TV journalist Republican Maria Elvira Salazar lost her bid to replace exiting GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-Fla.) in the House of Representatives. Salazar had worked for the Spanish-language networks Univision, Telemundo and CNN Español before being tapped by Republicans to try to hang on to Ros-Lehtinen’s southern Florida district, a heavily Hispanic area that Hillary Clinton won by double digits in 2016.

Winning his close reelection bid was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), familiar in communications circles for his opposition to the classification of ISPs under Title and as the senator who blocked the nomination of former FCC chair Tom Wheeler for months over the issue of disclosure requirements on political ads.

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) who last year won a special election to a House seat after famously body slamming a reporter, at press time was slightly ahead of Democrat Kathleen Williams, but with less than 25% of the vote in it was too close to call.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who hopes to regain her House speaker role, pledged to pursue broadband deployment as one of her goals for the new Congress as well as to drain her idea of the D.C. swamp.

The larger the margin of victory--at press time it was looking like as much as a 35-seat pickup--the better Pelosi's chance of being returned to the speaker post.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.