The GOP scored some important national wins on Tuesday--victories that will help shape the future of the party.
Whether the Democrats were fired because of their philosophy or because of their failure to address the issues of joblessness, the economy, and spending, as several of my bloleagues here on Thomas Jefferson Street suggest, is really beside the point. The GOP is back from the brink.
“Election Day proved to be an even bigger ‘wave’ election than anyone anticipated,” said Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee Chairman who now leads the Republican State Leadership Committee. “Voters went to the polls and swept Democrats from office. As we enter a time with huge policy and political implications, new Republican officeholders will be given an opportunity to demonstrate commonsense conservative leadership and implement solutions that promise real results and positive change for voters."
Let’s take a look at the results as we now know them to be.
- With about 10 contests to be resolved the Republicans won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, taking them from a pre-election minority of about 180 to a post-election 239 seats, a swing so far of 60.
- The GOP picked up five seats in the U.S. Senate taking them from 40 to 55 which, though it may be on the low end of what was expected, includes the fact that not a single GOP Senate incumbent was defeated nor did the GOP lose control of any of the open seats it held going in to the election.
- The GOP won a net five gubernatorial races, including states important to the reapportionment and redistricting of the U.S. House of Representatives including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They also won, for the first time in decades, the governorship of Maine, regained the governorships in Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee, won the governorship of New Mexico (electing the nation’s first Hispanic woman governor), and held critical governorships in Nevada, Georgia, Texas, and Florida.
Down ballot the news was equally encouraging for the GOP.
- The Republicans won 16 of 30 races for attorney general (with California still outstanding), in the process winning five--Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio, and Kansas from the Democrats.
- The Republicans won 10 out of the 12 races where candidates for lieutenant governor ran separately from candidates for governor, taking seats In Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana while losing only California.
- The Republicans won 17 of 26 races for secretary of state, gaining that critical office in Arkansas, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Kansas, which had been held by Democrats.
The GOP also had a big night among state legislative chambers. There are still a few where final control remains in doubt, but in 26 states the Republicans now hold majorities in both legislative chambers, up from 15 before the election.
The GOP took control of the New Hampshire House and Senate, the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, the Minnesota Assembly and State Senate and, for the first time in decades if not more than a century, both legislative chambers in Maine, North Carolina, and Alabama. They also won back control of the Indiana House, the Pennsylvania House, the Ohio House, the Iowa House, the Montana House, the Colorado House, and the Michigan House of Representatives while not losing control of a single chamber they already held.
It is clear from the results that this was indeed a “nationalized” rather than national election and a referendum on Barack Obama’s performance over his first two years in office. In some ways the Democrats took an even bigger drubbing than they did in 1994--one that threatens to have consequences that last far longer than the last time the GOP rode a wave.