Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Republicans take the Senate

Nick Damarodis

Election night was a sweep for Republicans after results from the November 4 midterm elections started to pour in. Voters across the country hit the polls with different intentions, but the largest area of concern was the economy. Many voters felt a need to vote for the Republicans to push against President Obama’s policies, in particular recent troubles with foreign policy and the difficult implementation of Obamacare.

Currently the Republicans have gained 8 seats in the Senate. Incumbents were defeated in Arkansas, Colorado, and North Carolina, and open seats led to GOP victories in South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Iowa and Alaska. Many of these states voted for republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, but had popular democrat incumbent senators who either retired or lost in this year’s wave election.

On election night, candidate Joni Ernst’s victory was the seat that gave Republicans the majority in the Senate. She declared that evening, “We’re going to Washington...Let’s make them squeal” with thunderous applause coming from the crowd. Ernst’s rising national attention has many republicans excited to see her in action in coming years.

Colorado’s senate race also helped the GOP reach their goal of six gains that evening, with candidate Cory Gardner winning a race that experts suggested as safely democrat. “Tonight, we shook up the Senate. You shook up the Senate” Gardner told the crowd on election night after the projection for his victory came out.

The Senate result from Alaska came out on Nov. 12, after several days of vote counting gave Republican Dan Sullivan a slim, but important seat for the GOP’s new senate majority.

Of all the races election night, the Virginia Senate race ended up being the surprisingly close race. Republican Ed Gillespie nearly defeated once popular incumbent democrat Mark Warner. Several pundits have argued that the closeness of this race alone proves how big the republican wave truly was.

Several unexpected gubernatorial gains were brought to republicans on election night as well, with gains in democratic strongholds Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Another governor’s mansion was won in Arkansas, even after the democratic challenger brought in favorite son Bill Clinton to help campaign for him. Republicans did lose one gubernatorial seat, Pennsylvania, but held on to competitive seats in Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, and the biggest swing state, Florida.

In the House, republicans also gained new seats in numerous districts with either democrat incumbents or districts that voted for Obama. In Utah’s 4th congressional district, the election of Mia Love brought the first black woman to ever represent the Republican party into the U.S. congress. In her historic speech, Love announced she “will return power back to the people and away from Washington” once she starts her term in office. Seats in Colorado and Virginia that were heavily targeted by democrats also stayed in republican hands election night.

Although there are not clear goals for the next congress, most republicans hope to make inroads in passing the keystone XL pipeline bill, corporate tax reform, and attempting to stop Obamacare. It looks like the President will be using the power of veto quite often for the next two years. Now both republicans and democrats will begin assigning leadership roles and creating legislation.

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