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Midterm Election for the Ages

The midterm elections of November 4, 2014,  were historic for more reasons than meet the eye. Most notably, the Republicans gained control of the Senate by capturing 52 of the 100 seats, giving them the majority. While netting a gain of 7, the GOP remarkably gave up no seats, while the Democrats gained no new seats, for a loss of 7. Republicans retained the House majority as well, winning 243 of 435 races, and gaining 15 seats while losing only one.

With his reelection in Kentucky and the Republicans’ newfound majority, former Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, will become Senate Majority Leader.

Gubernatorial races across the country were also dominated by the GOP, with 33 states now led by Republicans.

Here in Ohio, Republican John Kasich was reelected to a second term as governor, defeating his Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, by a near-record margin of 31 points. On the way to victory, Kasich conceded only two counties in the entire state. Very well respected among the Republican party, and following immense success during his first term and subsequent reelection, Kasich is now considered to be a serious Presidential candidate. Aside from the Senate majority, the possibly most talked-about storyline of the election is the Louisiana Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. Landrieu has represented Louisiana in the Senate since 1996, but on Tuesday she collected 42.1 percent of votes, only 1.1 percent more than Cassidy, and as neither reached 50 percent, they’re headed to a runoff on December 6th. Even being a three-term incumbent, Landrieu is now the decided underdog in this race.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has cancelled all advertising reservations ahead of the runoff. In contrast, the Republicans have $7.2 million in broadcast reservations set for the next four weeks in Louisiana. Cassidy has also added a challenge of his own for Landrieu, saying in a press release that, “For every time Senator Landrieu barnstorms the state with Barack Obama, I will participate in another debate.” With all this in mind, remember that the electorate for a two-way race such as this will be even smaller than the meager 30ish percent that voted on Tuesday. With the GOP base not letting up, and Republicans looking to add to their majority, turnout on December 6 is predicted to be overwhelmingly red.

Going forward, Republicans look to slow the Obama train and hope Tuesday’s victories will serve as a catalyst for putting a Republican in the White House in 2016. Democrats seek to recover quickly and now turn their focus to retaining the White House in 2016.

While what the events of November 4 hold for the future remain to be seen, the wind is now on the backs of the GOP, and for the first time in a long time, they are the masters of their own destiny.

Written by Chiru Gunawardena’17


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