Mid-term elections tipped the Congressional balance of power toward the GOP, as Republicans swept up the majority of seats in U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats held on to a tenuous lead in the U.S. Senate, with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) maintaining his position as Majority Leader after a bruising battle and close call against Tea Party opponent, Sharon Angle.
As of 6:30 a.m. with most precincts reporting, Republicans increased their presence to 239 seats, while Democrats fell to 183. Thirteen seats have yet to be called. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) will step aside as the first woman Speaker of the House, most likely for John Boehner (R-Ohio). The GOP now will have committee control as well as subpoena power over special investigations—a practice by both parties that has bogged down and distracted government.
For the majority of voters polled, “it was the economy, stupid”—a tag line from President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign—that caused such an historic wave of animosity toward the party in power.
Voters hold a dim view of both Republicans and Democrats, according to polls conducted by SurveyUSA and CNN/Time—which showed the most accuracy in predicting outcomes in this election, according to analyst Nate Silver. A large number of those winning ran on a platform of anti-White House rather than for tangible solutions to job creation and economic growth. Yet, looking into the background of those who won, it’s hard to tell if the economy will get better for the average citizen.
Wall Street seemed to be the big winner of the night. The majority of GOP candidates taking office were backed by financial institutions and lobbyists. The same was true when Congress tipped toward the Democrats four years ago.
The Republican majority’s future is still unclear, as the wave of small-government/low-taxes Tea Partiers voted in under the GOP banner are already marshaling against party leadership to hold true to the conservative ideals they felt were abandoned under President George W. Bush, when government spending grew.
Rather than pro-anything, the voter mandate reflected in non-partisan polls across the nation, most notably conducted by independent organizations and universities, calls for leaders to fix the economy (in a hurry!) and to work together. With the new shape of leadership, however, gridlock may be even stickier than the current situation promulgated by both parties.
Money didn’t win everywhere. Despite spending millions of her own dollars, Meg Whitman lost her bid for the governor’s mansion in California to former governor Jerry Brown. Challenger Carla Fiorini fell to incumbent Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer. While progressives lost in epic proportions, 123 openly gay candidates were elected to state offices, while in Iowa, three Supreme Court justices who voted against a ban on gay marriage were ousted. Medicinal and recreational marijuana referendums, most notably California’s Proposition 19, lost at the ballot box.
In Georgia, former U.S. Representative Nathan Deal was elected governor with 53 percent of the vote, despite being named by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington during his tenure. Deal resigned in March to run for governor – the same month the Office of Congressional Ethics released its report finding substantial reason Deal pushed policies and used his office to advance them that financially benefitted him self as well as family members. His resignation effectively placed him out of reach of disciplinary action.
Voters returned Johnny Isakson (R) to the U.S. Senate, and Savannahians maintained support for Democrat John Barrow, the region’s representative to Congress.
Georgia voters defeated new funding for trauma centers, but placed new limits on employees who leave a company to work for a competitor or to start their own business.Contact Amy Paige Condon.