Recap of the 2016 Elections and What Lies Ahead

Recap of the 2016 Elections and What Lies Ahead

Below is a summary of the Presidential, Congressional, and State Elections of 2016, and an outlook on potential changes to key federal education lawmaking positions in 2017.  

Photo: \ CatLane


597 days after the first person announced his candidacy for President of the United States, the 2016 election came to a close with Donald J. Trump winning the Electoral College vote over Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Trump has been duly elected President of the United States and the House of Representatives will certify his nomination in early January 2017.  Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

Below are some further details on the presidential election


Electoral College Vote (270 needed to win):

Trump (Republican)  290 

Clinton (Democrat)   228


Popular Vote:

Trump    61,005,518        (47.1 percent of the vote)

Clinton   62,116,731       (48.0 percent of the vote)


States that flipped to the Republican candidate in 2016 from the Democratic Candidate in 2012:

Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (Michigan has not certified its votes but currently leans to the Republican Candidate Trump)



Republicans held control of the Senate by a margin of 52 to 48 (2 Independents caucus with the Democrats). 

Two States flipped from Republican to Democrat:

Illinois (Tammy Duckworth newly elected)

New Hampshire (Maggie Hassan newly elected)


Seats listed by pollsters as toss-ups or leaned Democrat on the eve of Election Day that were held by Republicans:

Florida (Marco Rubio)

Indiana (Todd Young)

North Carolina (Richard Burr)

Missouri (Roy Blunt)

Wisconsin (Ron Johnson)


Additional Senate Notes:

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will remain Senate Majority Leader.  Furthermore, it is anticipated that there will be little, if any, change in Republican leadership. 
  • Democrats have elected Senator Charles Schumer (D-KY) to be Minority Leader, replacing the retiring Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).
  • Democrats have elected Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) as Senate Minority Whip, the 2nd ranking position in the Democratic caucus. 
  • Democrats have elected Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as Assistant Democratic Leader, the 3rd ranking position in the Democratic caucus. 



While Democrats gained 8 seats, Republicans maintain a clear majority in the House of 239 to 193.

Additional House Notes:

  • Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been unanimously chosen by his Republican colleagues for another term as Speaker of the House. 
  • Democrats postponed their leadership elections, moving them from this Thursday until the week after Thanksgiving.  This indicates there may be a challenge to current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. 



President-Elect Trump and his transition team, led by Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, are currently making decisions on Cabinet appointments.  While appointments must be confirmed by the new Senate after the President’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, nominations to Cabinet posts will likely be announced before the end of 2016.  Below is a list of candidates rumored to be under consideration for President-Elect Trump’s Secretary of Education

  • United States Congressman Luke Messer
  • William Evers, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution
  • Tony Zeiss, former President of Central Piedmont Community College
  • Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana and current President of the Purdue University System
  • Gerard Robinson, Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
  • Tony Bennett, former Florida Commissioner of Education and the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
  • Eva Moskowitz, Democrat who founded the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York, NY
  • Michelle Rhee, Democrat former Chancellor of Washington D.C.’s public schools
  • Dr. Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon and former Presidential candidate (He’s indicated we will not serve)


Senate Education Committees:

The Senate will complete committee assignments until after the new Senate reconvenes in January 2017.  However, it is likely that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his post as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Patty Murray will remain as ranking member. 

It remains unclear who will chair the new Senate’s Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Committee currently where Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) serves as the chairman and Senator Murray as ranking Member. 

House Education Committees:

The House will also complete their membership assignments in early January 2017.  Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has announced she will officially run for chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee Subcommittee, a position made open by the retirement of outgoing chairman Joe Kline (R-MN).  Representative Bobby Scott (D-GA) has made no indication on whether he plans to serve in his current position of ranking member of the Education and Workforce Committee.

It remains unclear who will chair the new House’s Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee where currently Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) serves as chairman and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) serves as ranking member. 

ESSA          Photo: Willard/iStock/Thinkstock



Capitol Hill Republicans and the incoming Trump administration are nearing agreement on a plan to fund the government at current levels through March 31, 2017.  Vice President-elect Pence plans to meet with both sides this week, and the following, to see if lawmakers can come to this agreement.  If this passes, items NAfME has been tracking, such as funding for Title IV-A of ESSA and Perkins reauthorization, will be dealt with by the 115th Congress.