Dear Commons Community,
It was the Republican Party coming out on top last night as election results were tallied from around the country. As reported in the New York Times:
“Resurgent Republicans took control of the Senate on Tuesday night, expanded their hold on the House, and defended some of the most closely contested governors’ races, in a repudiation of President Obama that will reorder the political map in his final years in office.
Propelled by economic dissatisfaction and anger toward the president, Republicans grabbed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a shrewd Republican tactician, cruised to re-election and stood poised to achieve a goal he has pursued for years — Senate majority leader.
An election that started as trench warfare, state by state and district by district, crested into a sweeping Republican victory. Contests that were expected to be close were not, and races expected to go Democratic broke narrowly for the Republicans. The uneven character of the economic recovery added to a sense of anxiety, leaving voters in a punishing mood, particularly for Democrats in Southern states and the Mountain West, where political polarization deepened.
The biggest surprises of the night came in North Carolina, where the Republican, Thom Tillis, came from behind to beat Senator Kay Hagan, and in Virginia. There, Senator Mark Warner, a former Democratic governor of the state, was thought to be one of the safest incumbents in his party, and instead found himself clinging to the narrowest of leads against a former Republican Party chairman, Ed Gillespie.
Those contests were measures of how difficult the terrain was for Democrats in an election where Republicans put together their strategy as a referendum on the competence of government, embodied by Mr. Obama.
House seats where Democrats had fought off Republican encroachment for years were finally toppled. Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was easily re-elected in Wisconsin, a state that voted twice for Mr. Obama. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, once considered endangered, finished the night on top. And states that had seemingly been trending Democratic, like Colorado and Iowa, fell into Republican hands.
With at least a nine-seat gain and most likely more, House Republicans will have close to 245 seats, the largest Republican majority since the Truman administration.
“Barack Obama has our country in a ditch, and many of his lieutenants running for the Senate were right there with him,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “The punishment is going to be broad, and it’s going to be pretty serious.”
If the past several years were not bad enough, it is going to be an even tougher two years to come for President Obama.