Republicans took control of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, a result that transforms the political dynamic in Washington and gives the GOP new power over President Barack Obama ’s final two years in the White House.
Republicans won Senate seats from West Virginia to Colorado and beyond to assemble a majority of at least 52 seats, expanded their margin in the House—possibly to levels not seen in decades—and won key governor races.
The sweep left Democrats without a majority in either chamber for the first time since 2006.
“It’s time to go in a new direction,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) who is in line to become Majority Leader, after he defeated his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by a decisive margin. “We can have real change in Washington, and that’s just what I intend to deliver.”
A slow economic recovery and a series of jolting events, including an Ebola outbreak and the rise of Islamic State in the Middle East, left many voters anxious and looking for change.
The 2014 midterm elections were good to Republicans. WSJ’s Jerry Seib spoke to Jim Kessler of Third Way about what went wrong for the Democrats. Photo: Getty
Tuesday’s balloting featured 14 competitive gubernatorial races. Republicans rolled up victories in most top-tier governors’ races, with Govs. Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Scott Walker of Wisconsin all notching wins. Republican Bruce Rauner defeated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois However in Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf defeated GOP Gov. Tom Corbett.
Republicans scored some unlikely wins in gubernatorial races, including in Massachusetts and Maryland, two Eastern states with large populations of Democratic votes. In Maine, the state’s Republican governor was reelected, and in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback rode the Republican wave to victory in an election in which he looked unsteady at times.
Were Tuesday’s Senate results a Republican wave or a referendum against President Obama? University of Chicago’s Steve Edwards and WSJ’s Simon Constable discuss. Photo: AP
Vermont’s governor’s race seems poised to produce an unusual outcome: since no candidate is likely to win a majority of the vote, the state’s legislature will be given the responsibility of picking among the two leading candidates.
By the end of the fall campaign, Democrats were struggling in swing states that were touted as building blocks of the party’s ascendancy, including Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. Republicans’ ability to compete in those states bodes well for their prospects in the 2016 presidential race and suggests a possible reshaping of the national political map.
Not since 1980 has the GOP beaten more than two incumbent Senators. On Tuesday, they knocked off at least three.