This past Tuesday, several important elections were held nationwide. Most eyes honed in on the heated Presidential election where incumbent Barack Obama (D) faced off against challenger Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA). In the end, Obama was re-elected to a second term as President with 303 electoral votes. Governor Romney ended with 206 electoral votes. A candidate needed a minimum of 270 out of 538 total votes in order to win the presidency.
In his victory speech, Obama took time to thank his supporters and those that have worked with him during the course of his first term, such as his Vice President Joe Biden and those who worked on his campaign. Mostly, he thanked those that became so impassioned about the election. “Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference,” Obama said.
On his opponent Governor Romney, the newly re-elected President Obama added, “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.”
In his concession speech, Governor Romney stated that he ran for office because he was “concerned about America.” He went on to add, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work â€¦ And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.”
At time of writing, it is still undecided as to who exactly won the state of Florida. Politico has Obama 49.9% and Romney at 49.3% with third party candidates like libertarian Gary Johnson earning less than a full percentage point of the votes. Amid talks of a potential recount, the Romney camp has come out and said that they expect that Florida will eventually go blue for the presidential race. Previously, the swing state was the scene of the bitterly contested recount in the knife-edge 2000 presidential election.
Democrat Timothy Kaine was elected as Virginia’s next U.S. Senator, narrowly defeating Republican George Allen in a hard-fought contest that came down to the wire. Both men have served as former governors of Virginia and, in the nineteen month long campaign, both men traded blows. Kaine attributed his victory to the success of grass-roots support and “people power” and also thanked Allen for more than 20 years of elective service to the commonwealth. In his concession speech at the Omni Richmond Hotel downtown, Allen said he was “inspired by the people of Virginia and their unshakeable belief in the promise of the American dream.”
Allen also said in his concession speech that he called Kaine to congratulate him and insisted yet again, despite the virtrolic attack ads from both sides and differing political views, that they remain friends. Allen pledged his “cooperation and support as he undertakes the solemn task of representing the people of Virginia in very difficult times in our nation’s history.”
In the House of Representatives, Virginians elected a high majority of Republicans to fill those seats. Republicans claimed Virginia’s 1st District (R. Wittman), 2nd District (S. Rigell), 4th District (R. Forbes), 5th District (R. Hurt), 6th District (B. Goodlatte), 7th District (E. Cantor), 9th District (M. Griffith), and 10th District (F. Wolf). Democrats picked up the 3rd District (B. Scott), 8th District (J. Moran), and 11th District (G. Connolly). All those elected were incumbents kept in power.
The recent election saw some higher than expected numbers of people coming out to vote. The young adult demographic (roughly ages 18-25) showed approximately 75% of the record numbers reached in the surge of support for Obama back in 2008.
According to CNN’s early exit polls, 73% of voters were white, 13% African American, 10% Latino and 3% Asian.
According to Latino Decisions, 75% of Latinos nationwide voted for Obama. CNN’s exit polls claimed that 93% of African Americans voted Obama. The same polls also showed that up to 55% of women nationwide cast their votes for Obama.
The recent election also saw a record number of women ever elected to Congress. Twenty-women will now serve in the 100-member Senate and at least 81 of the 435 seats in the House will be represented by women. A number of congressional districts and Senate seats will now have their first female representative. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has been an elected member of the House of Representatives since 1999 and will now move to the upper chamber as the first openly gay female senator. Her state has recently passed a resolution banning gay marriage within Wisconsin.
Several major policy decisions remain in the minds of the American people, who are watching the newly elected very closely. With the looming “fiscal cliff” that was put in place during the debt ceiling talks and the still sluggish economy, the newly elected and recently re-elected will have an enormous amount of work ahead of them. The election left the Senate with a slim Democratic majority, the House a Republican majority and the Democrats in the White House. Some have already started to weigh in on these important, upcoming issues.
In the House of Representatives, House Speaker John Boehner was emboldened by the renewed Republican majority in the House, has released a statement in which he makes it clear that he doesn’t intend to let Obamacare get though the House. “While Obamacare is the law of the land, it is costing us jobs and threatening our health care. Speaker Boehner and House Republicans remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table,” Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Obama is working to recalibrate his cabinet for his second term. Among high ranking officials expected to go are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson. It is also speculated that Attorney General Eric Holder and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood may be replaced. It should be noted that Obama has overseen one of the most stable cabinets in history, which is to say that his cabinet is devoid of the many random disruptions of people retiring that past Presidents have seen of their cabinets. There is expected to be a massive second term shift in Obama’s cabinet as Obama seeks to fill key positions in his second term White House.
Given the split majorities in Congress, many pundits have already begun to speculate what direction the next four years will take. Some have already begun to speculate on who shall be running for president come 2016. However, most have turned their scrutiny on those who won their Tuesday race. Whether newly elected or recently re-elected, all shall face the tasks and trials ahead as the chosen representatives of the American people. As a nation, we collectively hope that they are not only up to the task, but that they represent us with dignity, honesty and with our best interests at heart no matter what side of the aisle they sit on.