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Summary of State and Federal Election Results

Thursday, November 8, 2012  

Summary of State and Federal Election Results

Federal Elections

The last three elections have been wave elections. In 2006 and 2008, the Democrats swept into office in Congress and the states, and in 2010, the Republicans took back control of the House and many state chambers. With the electorate seeming sharply divided, no wave was expected this year, and the election largely retained the status quo in Congress. President Obama won a second term in the White House. The Democrats retained control of the Senate but did not get the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. The Republicans retained control of the House but by a smaller margin.


One-third of the U.S Senate was up for re-election. Going into the election, Democrats held 51 seats and had two Independents caucusing with them, and the Republicans had 47 seats. Of the 33 Senate seats up for re-election, 21 were Democrats, 2 were Independents that caucus with the Democrats and 10 were Republicans. While incumbents were running for many of these seats, some seats were open due to retirements.

After the elections, the Democrats had 53 seats and the Republicans had 45 seats. Independents won in Maine and Vermont. Vermont was the incumbent Senator Bernard Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats. In Maine, former Governor Angus King won as an Independent for the seat of retiring Senator Olympia Snowe (R). King has not indicated which party caucus he will join.

The Democrats took a seat from the Republicans in Massachusetts in defeating incumbent Senator Scott Brown (R). The Democratic victory in Connecticut is for the seat of retiring Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent that caucused with the Democrats. The Republicans gained the open seat in Nebraska of retiring Senator Ben Nelson (D). The Democratic victory in Indiana was for an open seat as the Republican candidate previously unseated six-term Senator Richard Lugar (R) in the primaries. The overall result is a net gain of two seats for the Democrats and a loss of two seats for the Republicans.


All 435 U.S. House seats were up for re-election. Prior to the election, the Republicans held 242 seats and the Democrats had 193. A majority is 218 seats. The Democrats needed a wave election to take control of the House. They needed to retain all their seats and win over 25 more from the Republicans, and that did not happen in this election. Currently, the Republicans have 232 seats and the Democrats have 191, with the votes still being counted for 11 seats.

Representatives Richard Hanna (D-NY) and Mick Mulvany (R-SC), sponsor and co-sponsor of H.R. 3534, our individual surety legislation this year, both won another term in the House. Representative Gary Miller (R-CA), who has been supportive of our Miller Act and federal procurement issues, also was re-elected.

Even though the Republicans retained control, the House will have a lot of new faces in the next Congress. As usual for an election following the ten-year redistricting, more incumbent members will not return to Congress. Some members were forced to run against a fellow incumbent from their political party in the primaries due to redistricting. Thirteen incumbents lost their seats in the primaries, seven Democrats and six Republicans, most due to redistricting, but some also were losses to a non-incumbent challenger. Twenty-one Democratic House members retired and 19 House Republicans also retired. Several states picked up a new seat in the reapportionment after the census, which created some new open seats. Given that 2010 freshman class in the House had over 90 members, even if all of them win re-election, the House will be composed of Representatives with lesser experience in the next Congress.

State Elections

The last election in 2010 was a wave election for the Republicans, and they had the advantage going into yesterday’s state elections as they controlled the majority of the state houses and were in charge of the redistricting after the 2010 census. Prior to the elections, the Republicans controlled both chambers in 26 states and the Democrats controlled both in 15 states. The Republicans and Democrats each control one chamber in eight states and Nebraska is the one unicameral state. Of the 99 chambers in the state houses, the Republicans controlled 59 chambers and the Democrats controlled 36. The House in Alaska and Oregon and the Senate in Virginia were tied.

State Governors

Currently, there are 29 Republican governors, 20 Democratic and one Independent. There were only 11 gubernatorial elections this year, with six incumbent governors seeking re-election and five governors that were term-limited. Republican incumbents were re-elected in North Dakota and Utah. Indiana elected a Republican to replace a term-limited Republican. In the eight states in which there was a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion, four states—Delaware, Missouri, Vermont and West Virginia had incumbents that won re-election. The main question in the gubernatorial races yesterday was whether the Republicans would gain some seats in the four states in which there was no incumbent Democrat governor in the race—Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Washington—or whether the Democrats could hold on to all of them. The Republicans took North Carolina and the Democrats took Montana, New Hampshire and Washington. The overall result is a net gain of one for the Republicans.

Insurance Commissioners

The incumbent insurance commissioners in Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, North Carolina and Washington were seeking re-election at the polls yesterday along with their Governor. Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart (D), Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen (D), North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin (D), North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm (R) and Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler all won re-election.

State Legislatures

Although over 80% of the state legislative seats were up for election, the potential for change in partisan control existed in less than 20 state chambers. These were the chambers in which one party currently controlled by only a slim margin. As of now, the Senate is no longer split down the middle in Alaska, but rather the Republicans have taken the lead. For the first time in history, both chambers in Arkansas are under Republican control. The Democrats appear to have retained their slim lead in the Senate and have taken the House from the Republicans in Colorado. In 2010, both chambers in Maine and Minnesota shifted to the Republicans and both have shifted back to the Democrats this year. The Republicans had a two seat edge on the Democrats in the New York Senate, which has now gone to a slim margin in favor of the Democrats. Democrats have broken the tie in the Oregon House and now have control.

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