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After a long and often controversial campaign season, the mid-term election results are in and the Republican Party has much to be thankful for. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Republicans claimed the House of Representatives with a historic 60-seat pick-up, securing a majority of 235 to 181. Democrats retained control of the Senate after a six-seat loss to Republicans and a majority of 51 to 46, according to RealClearPolitics. Recognizing the chance for his party’s redemption, a tearful John Boehner, the man expected to become the next speaker of the House, acknowledged Republican missteps and entreated President Obama to pursue real bipartisanship. The emotion from Boehner was startling, but to be sure, the battle was hard-won.
Despite immense White House investment in Joe Sestak, Republican Pat Toomey narrowly won the Pennsylvania Senate seat formerly occupied by Arlen Specter (51% to 49%). Both President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden had made multiple trips to campaign on behalf of Sestak, but to little avail. While Sestak defended his support of the Obama administration’s policies, including his vote for ObamaCare, the congressman may have benefited more by taking a page from West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s playbook. Now Senator-elect Manchin, the governor turned heads by fully repudiating his public endorsement of ObamaCare and airing a campaign ad in which he fired a rifle at a mock cap and trade bill, a measure which the president supports.
Perhaps more disappointing for the administration was the loss of the president’s former Senate seat in Illinois. Republican Representative Mark Steven Kirk defeated Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in another close race. Although both candidates were plagued by ethical problems, Giannoulias’s close affiliation with Obama and the omnipresent Democratic establishment of Illinois were not enough to secure a victory against Kirk, a fifth-term congressman.
Two three-way races, both strongly influenced by the Tea Party movement, have commanded significant national attention throughout the election. Much to the Democrats’ chagrin, rising Republican star Marco Rubio defeated both the Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek and Republican-turn-Independent candidate Charlie Crist in the race for Florida’s Senate seat. After losing the Republican primary to Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, Governor Crist pursued the seat as an Independent and tried desperately to characterize Rubio as a dangerous right-wing extremist. In the end, Crist did not find the same success as Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was also forced off the Republican ticket by a Tea Party favorite. Murkowski ran as a “write-in” candidate in the Alaska Senate race after being defeated in the Republican primary by the Palin-endorsed newcomer Joe Miller. After 70% of the vote had been counted, Murkowski led Miller by a four-point margin. Although a winner may not be officially decided for days, the situation looks very good for Murkowski, who would be Alaska’s first successful write-in candidate.
Despite widespread anxiety over unemployment and the economy, notable CEOs did not fare well against entrenched politicos in this year’s election. In the way of governors, Republican candidate Meg Whitman was defeated by Democrat Jerry Brown for California governor. Brown had previously served as California’s governor from 1975-1983 (and is returning for his third term) while Whitman was the former CEO of eBay. In Connecticut, Republican Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, lost the state’s Senate race to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal will be succeeding retiring senior Democrat Chris Dodd. Not to be overlooked, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California maintained a close but comfortable margin over her Republican challenger, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Although Fiorina had not yet conceded as of the predawn hours of Wednesday morning, Boxer enjoyed a five-point lead.
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