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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 11-7-22

It’s election week! Like me, you’re probably looking forward to the end of television ads, phone calls and texts, and other campaign-related activities. We normally cover what’s happening in Congress and the administration in the Washington Weekly Update, but this edition will focus exclusively on what to keep an eye on as election returns start coming in tomorrow night.

Early Reporting States/District
While some states (I’m looking at you, Pennsylvania) will take an excruciatingly long time to tabulate their votes and declare winners, there are some races I’ll be looking at early in the evening to get a sense about whether the predictions I made about a month ago for Republicans to take the House of Representatives with a 238-seat majority were accurate. You may recall, I also predicted Republicans would retake the majority in the Senate as well with 52 seats. I got a little guff for making that prediction—things looked awfully different a month ago and it appeared Democrats were reclaiming some footing. Although their prospects did look brighter back then, what I saw was a “dead cat bounce.” The dynamics of the elections this year were always an uphill climb for Democrats and I continue to believe they will not fare well tomorrow night. So, where do we look to get an idea of how the night will go?


Virginia has two Congressional seats I will be watching as polls close at 7 p.m.:

The Seventh District race is on everyone’s list of early contests and for good reason. This is the seat once held by former Majority Whip Eric Cantor, who was ousted in a primary by former Congressman David Brat. The Seventh District voted in moderate Democrat Abigail Spanberger in 2018, which was a really good year for Democrats. The congresswoman held on in 2020, receiving 50.9% of the vote that year. If challenger Yesli Vega gets an early victory nod, this will likely set the tone for the evening and portend the return of a Republican-controlled House.

The Tenth District is a suburban district that is home to much of Virginia’s horse country and used to be Republican-leaning, but has increasingly been trending Democrat. Incumbent Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton won in 2018 and recent polls have her and challenger Hung Cao, a retired Navy captain, neck-and-neck. If Wexton holds on, it could mean the red wave many pundits have predicted won’t be as big as they thought.

New York
New York has six seats in play this year and when New York Democrats prevailed on their redistricting plan, the conventional thinking was that only three seats were really supposed to be competitive. As things stand right now, even New York’s 17th District is in the toss-up column—this is the district of current Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Sean Patrick Maloney. Republicans should carry at least three of the six seats in play, but if they notch wins four or five here, it could signal larger gains for Republicans. The other race I’ll be watching in New York is the governor’s race. Incumbent Kathy Hochul’s lead has steadily depleted to challenger Lee Zeldin, who is currently a Congressman. If Zeldin prevails, it could be a big night for the GOP.

New Hampshire

Senator Maggie Hassan is seeking reelection, her first since being elected in 2016 by a margin of 1,017 votes. Her challenger, retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc, was once viewed by Democrats as the least-electable Republican in the primary. Polls show Bolduc with a slight edge to incumbent Hassan. If Bolduc prevails, Republicans will have gone a long way to retaking the majority in the Senate.

The First District of New Hampshire is a swingy seat and incumbent Congressman Chris Pappas was thought to have a clear advantage because once again, Democrats thought Republican primary winner Karoline Leavitt was not a viable candidate in a general election. Polls show this seat now leaning Republican.

Incumbent Marco Rubio is favored to win reelection, but it’s not the outcome of the race that gives hints on how strong the wave is, it’s the vote margins in Miami that portend of things to come. If Rubio can perform strongly in Miami, that would signal Congressional races in Florida are going to tilt heavily Republican. Republicans maximized gains in the redistricting process, so we will see two seats and maybe a third flip from Democrat to Republican representation. Florida Republicans have two very effective candidates at the top of the ticket with Rubio and Governor Ron DeSantis, and if they both show strong results, it will confirm, in my mind at least, the GOP will hold the gavels in 2023.

Election Effects on Private Clubs
Since I came on board NCA staff, we have taken steps to ensure the association is positioned to work with both Democrats and Republicans. Our focus is on policy rather than the political stripes of the team holding the majority in Congress. While that is the case, a good portion of NCA’s policy agenda is better suited with a Republican majority. The biggest impact a change in power means for private clubs is a reduction in legislative actions that are contrary to the policy positions that were recently reaffirmed by the NCA Board of Directors. Perhaps the most significant, at least from a legislative perspective, is the reduced probability of changes to labor policy being high on the priority list. The potential for tax changes that could affect the private club community directly is also diminished, though not entirely.

Past experience has shown that while a Republican majority in Congress can and does reduce potential threats, the party occupying the White House has control of the regulatory apparatus and businesses face no slowdown here, particularly with respect to labor policy. Regardless of who controls the gavels in Congress, the current administration has already signaled a regulatory agenda full of policy changes that will affect private clubs. The Department of Labor is in the midst of collecting comments on a few proposed rules that will make it more difficult to classify an independent contractor, increase the overtime threshold, make it easier to declare businesses joint employers and other regulatory actions clubs will need to keep an eye on and push back against. The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is also in the process of redefining the waters of the United States (WOTUS) and examining chemical uses that we’ll need to stay engaged on in the months ahead.

Republicans controlling the House and Senate for the next two years means we’ll probably have some additional drama over increasing the debt ceiling, appropriations battles that threaten government shut downs, and myriad investigations—some justified, others of dubious significance. Whatever the outcome, the 2024 presidential race is already in sight for both parties, so expect the pettifoggery to begin post haste.

Racquet Renaissance Club Trends Webinar Nov. 15

Racquet sports of all types are enjoying a renaissance at club properties. The latest Club Trends magazine covers how pickleball and now padel are leading the way as popular new options, while traditional favorites such as tennis, squash and platform continue to increase their strong followings. In this webinar, presenters from McMahon Group, NCA, Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace and Club Benchmarking will share insights on how clubs are maximizing the appeal of all racquet sports, both to attract new members and increase usage and revenues from current members of all ages and from all categories.

Free to the entire club community. Register here.