Midterm Elections 2010: Results, Reactions & Post Election Wrap-up to Historic Republican Sweep

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

STATS & RESULTS

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    2010 Election: Live results (USA Today):

    U.S. House RESULTS: D 187 – R 239
    CURRENT: D 256 – R 179

    U.S. Senate RESULTS: D 53 R 46 CURRENT: D 57 – R 41

    Governor RESULTS: D 17 – R 29 I – 3
    CURRENT: D 26 – R 24

    Washington Post:
    Senate: D 53 – R 46
    House: D 186 – R 239
    Governor: D 18 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

  • Steny Hoyer mulls bid for minority whip
  • Nancy Pelosi announces she will run for minority leader: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has tweeted that she will run to lead Democrats in the House of Representatives.
  • Unemployment rate holds at 9.6 percent: The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in October, as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.
  • A.P. Projects Democrat Patty Murray Will Hold Washington Senate Seat: The Associated Press is projecting that Senator Patty Murray, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, will defeat her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in Washington State.
  • Democrat Wins Illinois Governor Race: Gov. Patrick J. Quinn was declared the winner of the race for governor of Illinois by The Associated Press this afternoon…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • In Connecticut, Two Men Prepare to Be Governor: Thursday was the first full day of work for the transition team of Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat who was certain he was the winner in the race for governor of Connecticut. Dannel P. Malloy, the former Democratic mayor of Stamford, was declared the unofficial winner. It was also the first full day of work for the transition team of Thomas C. Foley, the Republican who was equally sure he was the victor. Clearly, one of these men was going to be terribly disappointed. But when and how was still, well, unclear…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Oregon: Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor: Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley are locked in a tight race for governor in Oregon after a big- spending campaign that… AP, 11-4-10
  • Murkowski acts like victor but questions linger: Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is acting as though she already has pulled off an improbable victory after her write-in candidacy, enthusiastically thanking supporters and telling them they’ve made history. She may have won. Or she may be overly optimistic. The race is far from over…. – wApO, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored huge and historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even the great performance the party had in congressional races. GOP candidates picked up about 650 Democratic-held seats, the most in nearly half a century. Republicans now control more legislative seats than at any time since 1928.
    “To describe this as a Republican wave would be a vast understatement,” says elections expert Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They won in places where we didn’t see it coming, and they won in places where we did see it coming,” he says. The shift will have a big effect on spending, taxes, public education and how political districts are drawn…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Revolution in the States The GOP also made history down ballot on Tuesday: Here’s a prediction: Democrats and liberals will soon preach the virtues of Congressional redistricting reform. The reason is the historic losses Democrats suffered on Tuesday at the state level that have set Republicans up to dominate the post-2000 Census process of rewriting district lines.
    The GOP’s failure to take over the U.S. Senate has masked the arguably more important story that Republicans picked up at least a record 680 state legislative seats nationwide. That’s more than even the 472 seat gain in 1994, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and more than the previous record of 628 seats by … – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race: President Obama trails some top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the favorite for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a close second
    Nearly three-quarters of Democrats say they want to see the party renominate Barack Obama in 2012… – CNN, 11-4-10
  • Poll: Obama Would Beat Palin in 2012: The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
    And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.
    The former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate would beat Obama 52% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup, the survey reveals.
    While there’s no clear GOP frontrunner, 21% Republicans said they’re most likely to back Huckabee, 20% said they’d support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14% said they’d back Palin and 12% were for ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
    Romney would also beat Obama 50 % to 45%, but Obama would beat Gingrich 49% to 47%…. – US News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin’s ‘Take Back the 20′ PAC scores a bull’s-eye: During the 2010 midterm elections, Sarah Palin went hunting for Democrats and nearly bagged her limit. “Take Back the 20,” Palin’s political action committee, targeted 20 congressional districts across the country that John McCain carried in 2008 but had Democratic representatives in Congress.
    The results are eye-opening. Palin succeeded in 18 of 20 districts, losing in West Virginia’s 3rd House District. At this time, the race in Arizona’s 8th House District is too close to call.
    The 18 Republican winners unseated freshman politicians, congressional veterans and even House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • Religion’s role in the November 2010 election: It may surprise some, but here are two typical pre-election statements made at churches and synagogues. From first-hand experience interviewing people in America’s two largest religions — Christianity and Judaism — about 50 percent of Bible and Torah believers often don’t let their faith influence their voting. It’s more about party affiliation and the economy…. – Yahoo News, 11-4-10
  • Parsing the Myths of the Midterm Election: Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths. Before it hardens into accepted fact, some of the new conventional wisdom might benefit from one more spin on the potter’s wheel: The Mandate Myth
    The Return to the Republican Fold
    The Lost Youth Vote
    Disaster for the President
    Mythmakers, or Debunkers, Know What They’re Talking About – NYT, 11-5-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory: Jubilant over their landslide victory in the House and their pickup of six Senate seats, Republican leaders nevertheless face a dilemma as they debate how to exert their new authority. Their energetic conservative base is eager to thwart President Obama’s every move, and if Republicans fail at doing so, they risk disappointing the supporters who turned out in vast numbers for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But if Republicans overreach, and ultimately deliver very little, independents could return to the Democratic fold in time to reelect Obama…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • Are GOP leaders going too far with their criticism of Obama?: The president certainly has been getting it from GOP leaders the past few days. But the real question regarding Obama, the Republicans say, is: ‘Is he getting it?’…. – CS Monitor, 11-5-10
  • Obama Says Jobs Report Is Encouraging for Recovery: President Barack Obama said today’s employment report is a sign that the economy is recovering from the “terrible damage” caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression. Still, recent increases in private sector employment are “not good enough,” Obama said at the White House. “The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high.” Obama spoke before leaving for a 10-day trip through Asia that is focused on trade and expanding U.S. exports. In remarks directed at Congress, he said the U.S. can’t afford to get “mired” in partisan battles over policy while countries such as China move forward to expand their economies…. – Bloomberg, 11-5-10
  • Obama admits failing to sell successes to Americans: US President Barack Obama acknowledged he had failed to persuade Americans of his administration’s successes, following an election hammering which saw his party lose control of the House of Representatives.
    “We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people,” Obama told CBS show “60 Minutes” in excerpts released Friday. “We haven’t always been successful at that,” the president added. “I take personal responsibility for that, and it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward.”… – AFP, 11-5-10
  • Introducing Sarah Palin’s ‘non-political’ Alaska: It’s a tricky thing, being “non-politcally political.” But, gosh darn it, that’s exactly the type of social media campaign that TLC has launched around its reality series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which premieres Nov. 14. Days after launching the show’s website, spalaska.com, TLC hosted a launch party Thursday night in Manhattan to show clips of the show and to convey the site’s mantra: “It’s not political!”… – LAT, 11-5-10
  • It’s Reaction Day, which is like Election Day but lazier: The New York Post: “HUMBLED” reads the main hed; “My fault, pres says day after Dems lose 61 seats in House.” The picture is worth a few more words: eyes downturned and closed, his mouth in a pout that gathers more flesh under his lower lip than you probably thought he had on his whole head.
    Daily News: “WOE BAMA!” is the News’ slightly less serious wood for the Obama shellacking story, advertising four pages of coverage of Reaction Day. It’s a similar, but more close-cropped pouty Obama we get here. But it’s time to move on, right?… – Capital New York, 11-4-10
  • GOP asserts new strength, targets Obama programs: Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul.
    At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to “focus on the economy and jobs” as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation’s newly elected governors two weeks later…. – AP, 11-4-10
  • US president Barack Obama’s torment at election ‘shellacking': President Barack Obama’s rivals did cartwheels of jubilation yesterday after seizing control of the US Congress. Victorious congressman Ed Perlmutter’s extravagant acrobatics marked the Republicans’ biggest win in the mid-term elections since the Great Depression of 1938. But their capture of the House of Representatives left American politics in paralysis last night as the right-wingers looked set to hamper a major economic stimulus plan by Obama’s Democrats.
    In a White House press conference yesterday, the humbled President sighed: “I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. “It feels bad. It’s hard. I take responsibility. I’ve got to do a better job.” The man who swept to the White House two years ago conceded: “Some election nights are more fun than others.”… – Mirror UK, 11-4-10
  • Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama: Barely an hour after President Barack Obama invited congressional Republicans to post-election talks on Nov. 18 to work together on major issues, the Senate’s GOP leader had a blunt message: His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.
    “The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
    “I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people’s agenda forward,” Obama said of the upcoming meeting with lawmakers. “It’s not just going to be a photo op.”… – AP, 11-4-10
  • Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan: “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked. “The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.” The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback.
    How they did it is the story of one of the most remarkable Congressional campaigns in more than a half-century, characterized by careful plotting by Republicans, miscalculations by Democrats and a new political dynamic with forces out of both parties’ control. The unpredictable Tea Party movement, the torrent of corporate money from outside interests and an electorate with deep discontent helped shift the balance of power in Washington. The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office. Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove. That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic party strategist likened it to “nuclear Whac-a-Mole.”… – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The power shift may not last with Tea Partiers looking to disrupt their own leaders…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Rivalry Tests Tea-Party Clout: House Republicans are embroiled in a leadership struggle just days after their sweeping electoral victory, testing how much influence tea-party passions will have on how lawmakers run the chamber. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who raised money for many House candidates and was deeply involved in the Republicans’ campaign efforts, is running for chairman of the House Republican Conference, the No. 4 position in the House GOP, with the backing of party leaders. His opponent is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of tea-party activists who is known for her colorful statements. Some GOP leaders believe she would be less effective, but many tea-party activists see this as a test of whether Republicans are listening to them…. – WaPo, 11-4-10
  • In state capitols, GOP engineers historic shift: Republicans scored historic successes in state legislative elections Tuesday, exceeding even their performances in congressional races…. – USA Today, 11-4-10
  • Survivors’ scenarios could help in 2012: Figuring out why 29 vulnerable Democrats won while others lost could help leaders of both parties as they prepare for the 2012 elections…. – USA TODAY, 11-4-10
  • Boost for Keeping All Bush Tax Cuts: President Barack Obama is open to considering the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts for a year or two, the White House confirmed Thursday, putting to a likely end any debate over whether to extend the breaks for high-income families. Instead, Congress is poised to grapple with a different set of questions when it returns this month for a final session of the current term: How and for how long should lawmakers grant an extension?…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • White House Pushes Back on Tax Cuts for Wealthy: While President Obama again signaled interest in finding common ground with Republicans in the wake of their electoral triumph, the White House on Thursday drew a firmer line against making permanent Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Mr. Obama and Republicans agree on extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the vast majority of Americans, but the president has opposed making them permanent for income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for households, essentially the richest 2 percent of Americans. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year…. – NYT, 11-4-10
  • Health-Care Industry Still Braces for Change: Repeal of the federal health-care overhaul was central to many Republican campaigns this season. But even with the House changing hands, health insurers, drug companies and hospitals said they were planning as if the law will stick…. – WSJ, 11-4-10
  • Palin’s Endorsements Lay Base for a 2012 Run: If Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, decides to run for president in 2012, she will now have plenty of help. In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary in the nation, Ms. Palin can count on the support of its newly elected senator, Kelly Ayotte. When the presidential campaign moves to South Carolina, the state’s new governor, Nikki Haley, will owe her one. And out West, Susana Martinez, who will take office as New Mexico’s governor, will be ready to help during a potential general election matchup with President Obama as the two parties battle over the growing number of Hispanic voters in the Southwest. Ms. Palin was not on any ballot. But the self-described “Mama Grizzly” had plenty at stake on Tuesday night as she sought to bolster her credentials as the Republican Party’s most powerful kingmaker and the voice of the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Ms. Palin had endorsed dozens of candidates, including ones in some of the highest-profile races…. – NYT, 11-4-10

QUOTES

  • Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation” After Midterm Defeat, Humbled President Acknowledges Failures in Exclusive “60 Minutes” Interview: “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday. “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.” – CBS News, 11-5-10
  • Obama: Put politics aside to grow economy: “Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs,” he said at the White House after the Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. “The most important competition that we face in the new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy, and our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.” “Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still, so we can’t stand still either. We have to move forward.” – CNN, 11-5-10
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a speech to the Heritage Foundation: “We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same time recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.”… “But the fact is … it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.”….He reiterated that his overriding goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”
  • Exclusive: Boehner Expects ‘Whale of a Fight’ With Obama Over Taxes in Lame Duck Session: “We’re not in control,” Boehner said. “And I’ve not been party to any of these conversations. I’m for extending all of the current tax rates for all Americans.”… “The American people want us to find common ground,” he said. “And I’m hoping that the president heard what the American people had to say the other night.” – Fox News, 11-4-10
  • Sarah Palin: The Midterms: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward: Have an intelligent message, and fight for your right to be heard…. – NRO, 11-4-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Richard Norton Smith: Voters to Republicans: Don’t Get Too Comfortable: “Let’s face it,” says Richard Norton Smith, a history professor at George Mason University, the outcome “is schizophrenic.” He says voters demand change, then punish lawmakers who made change possible. Voters insist they want representatives who work across the aisle, yet reward the ones who make sure that doesn’t happen. “They claim to want to address fundamental issues, including the budget deficit, but don’t want to take the costly steps to get us there,” says Smith…. – Business Week, 11-4-10
  • Gil Troy: Obama 2.0 Must Lead from the Center Humbly and Substantively: The American voters gave President Barack Obama a good, old-fashioned political whupping on Tuesday. It was a stunning political reversal as Mr. Yes We Can became Mr. Why Can’t They Understand and Appreciate Me? President Barack Obama must learn his lesson from this political drubbing. To redeem his presidency, he must do what he originally promised to do, lead from the center—humbly and substantively….
    Obama still has the time and the national good will to recover. Most Republican campaign commercials targeted Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or big government, not the president. This nuance reflected Obama’s personal popularity, despite his 55 percent negative job approval rating. Moreover, the economy could still revive, unemployment could fall, the Republicans could self-destruct by misreading this election as an invitation to showcase their extremists.
    Political greatness, in fact personal greatness, does not come from winning all the time, but from knowing how to turn devastating defeats into incredible opportunities. The true test of Barack Obama the man and the president has begun. – HNN, 11-4-10
  • Tevi Troy: Secondary Purge: Politico has a piece on an expected shakeup of the White House staff in the wake of the Democrats’ historic election defeat. This may be a good idea, but it’s important to remember that the White House has already engaged in one of the more extensive White House staff shakeups in recent memory, replacing the chief of staff, the head of the National Economic Council, the national security adviser, and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers over the last few months. The election debacle may prompt more heads to roll, but purging more staffers will not solve the White House’s problems…. – NRO, 11-4-10
  • Obama’s ‘shellacking’ puts his legacy in jeopardy: “It was conciliatory and rambling. He was flailing to find issues to compromise on,” said Princeton University public affairs professor Julian E. Zelizer. “It wasn’t the image of someone who’s decisive and in control.” The president by nature is a consensus seeker, Zelizer said. “He’s not totally comfortable with the political part of the job.” The more Obama leans toward the center to appease the Republicans, however, the more he risks alienating his liberal base. In that case, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who wisely stayed off the stump this election season — may become a more viable 2012 presidential candidate for the Democrats, Zelizer said…. – AMNY, 11-4-10 
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