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In The News: 2010 Midterms Come To A Close

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On Tuesday night, the Republican Party was able to take control of the House of Representatives and make sizeable gains in the Senate.  In the House, Republicans picked up 60 seats for a total of 239, while the Democrats lost 60 seats leaving them with 183 seats. The Republicans only needed to win 39 seats to take control of the House, so they greatly expanded their number. The Senate proved to be just as surprising to the electorate. Republicans picked up six seats for a total of 46 and Democrats lost six seats for a total of 51, allowing the Democrats to keep the majority in the Senate. As of the current elections result status, there were still three Senate races that were undecided and the House had 13 undecided races.

 “With their voices, the American people are demanding a new way forward in Washington,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner in a reaction to last night’s Republican victory.

Even though the Republicans will have a majority in the House, neither party will have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, which requires 60 seats. Many of the races were very contentious specifically those that were in swing state districts.

 In Virginia, Republican candidate Robert Hurt defeated the incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello 50.8%-47.1% for the Virginia fifth congressional district. In another upset, incumbent Rick Boucher was defeated narrowly by Republican challenger Morgan Griffith 51.2%-46.4% for the ninth congressional district.

 For the Senate, Republican and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, the son of House member from Texas, Ron Paul, defeated Democrat Jack Conway 55.9%-44.1%. In Delaware, Democratic candidate Chris Coons beat another Republican candidate and Tea Party star Christine O’Donnell 56.6%-40%. In one of the most contentious races, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada will hold onto his seat defeating Republican Sharron Angle 52.2%-44.6%. One big defeat for Democrats occurred in Wisconsin where longtime incumbent Russ Feingold was knocked off by wealthy businessman Republican challenger Ron Johnson 51.9%-47.1%.  

 California’s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana was defeated 53.8%-46.2%.  The state also saw wins for Senator Barbara Boxer, the incumbent Democrat, who beat her challenger Carly Fiorina 52%-42.5%. Additionally, former Governor Jerry Brown won the governorship again by beating Republican candidate Meg Whipman 53.6%-41.2%.

The Republicans were able to get a boost in this election through the rise of the Tea Party Movement. They also ran on a platform of lowering the deficit, cutting taxes, creating jobs, and bringing new governmental reforms to Washington, D.C. Earlier in the fall, the Republicans published the “Pledge to America” that discussed their plan to rebuild the country. The top focus for most voters still remained in the economy, which usually registered with about 43% according Gallup. Another big issue for Republicans was reducing the size of the government with their pledge to repeal the Healthcare Bill that passed last spring and roll back major portions of the new financial regulation bill that passed in the summer.

RC student reaction to the elections was a bit indifferent to the whole process. Many saw the election cycle as just the same old, same old.

“They were very predictable,” said Paul Vines ‘12.

Other students saw Tuesday’s elections as a reaction to the current party in power, noting how this is a very common trend.

“The elections reflect not what the people actually think, but hatred towards the party in power,” said Alea Bier ’13.

Photo Credit: Reuters