Republicans Ride Wave Election to Congressional Majorities

Republican members of the 114th Congress are sworn in at the U.S. Capitol January 6, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The 2014 midterm elections marked a major win for the Republican Party—and a setback to President Barack Obama, as he begins the final two years of his second term. The Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, bolstered their majority in the House of Representatives, and gained several more governorships and statehouses. Many observers viewed the election as a “referendum” on the president’s performance—and voters, in effect, indicated they don’t approve.

The most significant aspect of this “wave” election was the overturning of Democratic control of the Senate. Prior to the vote, Democrats held a 53-45 advantage in the upper house of Congress (there are two Independents, who were not up for reelection). The Republicans gained 9 seats and now hold a 54-44 edge. The new majority leader in the Senate is the senior senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell. As the 114th Congress began business on January 3, Republicans held a 247-188 majority in the House, having picked up 38 seats. Republican John Boehner was reelected as Speaker of the House.

Nationally, Republicans also won big. They now hold governorships in 31 states, having achieved key wins in Arkansas, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Democrats gained the governorship of Pennsylvania. Nine state senates or houses of representatives that formerly were Democratic-controlled now have Republican majorities. None “flipped” the other way.

According to some observers, the challenge for Republicans will be to show that they can “govern.” Doing so would increase the party’s chances of winning the White House in 2016. For the next two years, however, the federal government is still divided—with a Democratic president in office who can veto legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. If gridlock prevails, the electorate will have to decide who to blame for inaction in Washington.

Image credit: © Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Related Links

  • The Republican Wave Sweeps the Midterm Elections
    This article puts the overall picture of the midterm elections into perspective as a “wave” election favoring the Republican Party.
    (Source: The Atlantic, November 5, 2014)
  • Election Results, 2014
    This “interactive almanac of US politics” presents full results from the 2014 elections, updated to include the various delayed outcomes; includes numerous maps and charts.
    (Source: Ballotpedia; accessed January 6, 2015)
  • Election 2014
    This website includes a variety of stories related to the 2014 midterm elections.
    (Source: Real Clear Politics; accessed January 14, 2015)

One Comment

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