Republicans Win Big in Midterm Elections

Florida Republicans celebrate Rubio's election

Republicans won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while also picking up at least six seats in the Senate. The gain of more than 60 seats in the House represents the largest turnover in a congressional election since 1948. The impact of the Tea Party was broadly felt, such as in the victory of Republican Marco Rubio in Florida’s Senate race. Republicans were victorious in several key governor’s races and also seized control of at least 17 state legislatures from the Democrats. State-by-state outcomes will shape the future of American politics as decisions affecting redistricting begin to be made next year, following the release of Census 2010 population data. (For further information on redistricting, see “Census 2010 Impacts Reapportionment.”)

Although some congressional races were still too close to call, aspects of the election were clear. According to exit polling data, conservative voters turned out in force, and most independents leaned toward the Republicans. Concerns about the struggling U.S. economy were uppermost on the minds of voters. An overwhelming majority of voters expressed disapproval of Congress, with 56 percent agreeing that government is “doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

Representative John Boehner of Ohio is expected to be named Speaker of the House when the new Congress convenes. While calling on President Obama to change course, Boehner’s party is likely to push an agenda focused on spending cuts to achieve deficit reduction, tax cuts and other measures to revive the economy, and rollback of the recently passed health care law. With Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats maintaining their slim edge in the Senate, the nation may be in for a phase of governmental “gridlock.”

Image © Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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