5 Senate races that could impact federal management

Tuesday effectively brings to an end one of the most heated midterm election seasons in recent history, with several House and Senate seats hotly contested. Republicans are trying to maintain control of both houses of Congress, while Democrats are hoping for a blue wave to shift the balance of power.

For federal employees, these midterms could have significant consequences for matters such as agency reorganization plans, future pay raises and benefit changes. And while D.C.-area representatives are largely secure, according to predictions from RealClearPolitics, other legislators may not be so lucky. Click the map for a selection of key Senate races that could impact federal technology, management and workforce issues.

Note: Selected races are either hotly contested or in regions heavily populated with federal workers. Colors indicate current senators’ party affiliations.

Why should feds care?

In heavily Democratic Maryland and even in purple Virginia, both of which are home to large concentrations of federal employees, Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are projected to win re-election, respectively. But some fed-minded senators further west have tougher odds. RealClearPolitics declared the Montana and Missouri Senate races toss-ups while North Dakota was likely to go Republican as of Nov. 2.

Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester faces challenger Matt Rosendale for the Senate seat. Tester is the ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations’ subcommittee on Homeland Security. Also a member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, Tester along with 15 other Democrats urged VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to rethink some personnel moves at the agency. Last year Tester also introduced the Improving Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2017, which said veterans who met certain criteria could be eligible to receive care from a private sector provider.

North Dakota Democrat  Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces challenger Kevin Cramer. Heitkamp is the ranking member of the  Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Over the summer, she proposed an independent inspectors general agency, and in the fall she argued with other Democrats against pushing through government reorganization plans from the Office of Management and Budget. Heitkamp was also critical of proposals to privatize the U.S. Postal Service.

Like Heitkamp and Tester, Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill has expressed her opposition to executive orders issued in May to reorganize the federal government. McCaskill is the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and has said she is wary of the U.S. Census Bureau’s ability to meet cybersecurity needs for the upcoming 2020 Census.

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