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Summary of Mid-Term Election Results

Wednesday, November 5, 2014  

Yesterday’s mid-term elections were a victory for the Republicans. The Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, added to their majority in the U.S. House and gained more governors’ mansions in the states.


U.S. Senate
In the Senate there were 33 seats up for election. The Democrats have controlled the Senate since 2007, and going into the mid-term elections yesterday, the Democrats held 55 seats--53 Democrats and two independents caucus with them from Maine and Vermont--and the Republicans held 45 seats. The Republicans needed a net gain of six seats to take control, which meant keeping all their existing seats and taking six seats away from the Democrats and the Democrats needed to retain their seats in the mid-term elections. Prior to the election, it was expected that the Republicans would take some Senate seats, but the question was would they win enough for control.

After the election, the Republicans had a net gain of seven seats from victories in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. In Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, Republicans picked up a seat held by a retiring Democrat. Republicans defeated incumbent Democrats in Arkansas (Senator Mark Pryor), Colorado (Senator Mark Udall) and North Carolina (Senator Kay Hagan). The results of three Senate races have not yet been decided. In Alaska, the incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich is in a close race with the Republican challenger Dan Sullivan, who is leading by 3%. In Virginia, the incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner has a narrow lead over challenger Ed Gillespie in race not yet officially decided, although Warner has declared victory. If there is less than .5% difference between the candidates, a recount is automatic. If the difference is .5% or more, the Republican challenger can request and pay for a recount. In Louisiana, Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy will go to a December 6 runoff as neither got 50% of the votes.

U.S. House
Going into the elections, Republicans controlled the House with 233 seats—15 more than the 218 needed for a majority. Immediately after the election they had picked up a net of 13 sets, giving the Republicans the largest majority they’ve had in the House since 1949. There still are some House races pending so this total can change.

State Elections

The main focus of the state elections was on the gubernatorial races. Going into the elections yesterday, Republicans held the governor’s office in 30 states, the Democrats held the office in 19 states and one state—Rhode Island—had an Independent as Governor. The governor’s mansion was in play in 36 states. The Republicans held 22 seats that were up for election, 19 of which were an incumbent Republican running and 3 were an open seat due to term limit or retirement. The Democrats held 14 of the governor’s mansions subject to election, of which 9 were an incumbent Democrat running and 4 were an open seat.

Going into the elections, it was expected that the Democrats would take a few of the governors’ mansions. The Republicans had several controversial and/or unpopular incumbents running in Florida (Rick Scott), Kansas (Sam Brownback), Maine (Paul LePage), Michigan (Rick Snyder), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett) and Wisconsin (Scott Walker). The Republicans held all these states expect for Pennsylvania. In addition, Republicans took over the governors’ mansions from the Democrats in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts. Maryland likely was the largest upset of the mid-term elections.

As of today, the Republicans took 24 of the 36 governors’ races and the Democrats had eight. The races in Alaska, Colorado and Connecticut are too close to call yet. The independent challenger Bill Walker is leading incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell in Alaska, and the incumbent Democratic governors in Colorado and Connecticut have thin leads. In Vermont, neither Democratic candidate Governor Peter Shumlin nor Republican challenger Scott Milne got 50% of the vote so that the Democratic legislature will choose the new governor.

State Legislatures

In the state legislatures, Republicans held 59 chambers, while Democrats held 39 of them. There is a unicameral, non-partisan chamber in Nebraska. At this point, election results still are being tallied in some places, but most of the chambers that held elections this year are expected to remain under the same partisan control. As of today, Republicans have retained their control of 59 chambers, the Democrats hold 26 chambers, West Virginia’s state senate is tied 17 to 17, and the control of 12 chambers is undecided. Notably, the party control is undecided for the state senate chambers in Colorado, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, as well as the state house chamber in Washington.

Insurance Commissioner

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) and Georgian Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) both were re-elected to a second term. In Kansas, Ken Selzer (R) was elected as the Insurance Commissioner. He replaces Sandy Praeger, a Republican. The new Republican governors in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts will appoint new insurance commissioners and the new Democratic Governor in Pennsylvania will do the same.

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