Tags: republicans | take | senate | gop | wave | mcconnell

Wave Sweeps GOP to Senate Takeover

By    |   Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:47 PM

Republicans scored historic political victories Tuesday by seizing the U.S. Senate, expanding their majority in the House to near-record proportions, and winning several key governor races.

It was an early win, coming before midnight when many had expected to see recounts or very close races drifting into the wee hours. CNN officially projected that Republicans would retake control of the Senate at 10:32 p.m. on the East Coast, with its projection that Republican Thom Tillis would defeat Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

It was a much faster and far more sweeping result than even the most optimistic Republicans expected.

With 98 percent of North Carolina's vote tallied, Tillis enjoyed a 50,000-vote advantage. That projection gave Republicans the seats they needed to turn the Empire State Building red, in recognition of the GOP’s triumph.

"We are humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed with us, but this is not a time for celebration," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "It's time for government to start getting results and implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country, starting with our still-struggling economy."

In some circles, the reaction to the depth of Democrats’ electoral drubbing bordered on shock.

It’s been a generation since Republicans scored such a stunning Senate sweep. Tuesday’s election marked the largest net swing of Senate seats toward Republicans since the Reagan-led landslide of 1980.

“My God!” political consultant, commentator, and best-selling author Dick Morris on Newsmax TV’s exclusive election coverage. “This is probably one of the most significant midterm swings you’ve ever seen. And it took place on top of the 2010 midterm swing, without any real recovery by [President Barack] Obama at least on the legislative front, in 2012.

“Obama has taken a very decisive Democratic majority in both houses, and has destroyed it — probably for an entire generation,” Morris declared.

Other analysts — both Republicans and Democrats — were equally harsh.

"There will be nine seats most likely at the end of the election process," Democratic analyst and pollster Doug Schoen told Newsmax. "A complete repudiation of Obama. It’s not really a mandate for the Republicans, but it is a rejection of Obama's economic policies, his fight against Ebola."

The Obama presidency "has come full circle," said Republican strategist Bruce Haynes of Purple Strategies told Newsmax. "Almost all of the gains that he claimed in 2008 have now been given back.

"You saw a collection of states that he's won twice where the Republicans won statewide races tonight or are in dead heats in them as we speak," Haynes said.

"Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, the election of this president was a great opportunity for our country to move forward and leave some our past behind that none of us were very proud of," Haynes said. "That has happened and it will never be taken away and we have nowhere to go from here but forward in that regard.

"But politically, the president had an incredible opportunity that's been completely squandered," he said.

The results also reinvigorated the grassroots tea party movement, said several activists.

"Tonight is a big win for the tea party and for tea party values," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "The candidates who won around the country and in the Senate did because the candidates were talking about how to solve our economic problems, about the problems with Obamacare and how to restore healthcare freedom in our country, and also talking about how to stop executive amnesty and the amnesty of illegal immigrants.

"These are the issues tea party people care about and they resonated with voters," she said.

The GOP’s tour de force in the Senate will cost Sen. Harry Reid his job as majority leader   — itself a cause for widespread celebration by conservatives. Since rising to majority leader in January 2007, Reid had infuriated Republicans by running interference for Obama and refusing to allow any legislation, even budget resolutions, to come to the floor of the Senate if they risked embarrassing red-state Democrats.

Tuesday’s stunning setback for Democrats suggested Reid’s tactics ultimately had backfired. Also, his strategy of trying to win the election by launching a daily diatribe from the floor of the U.S. Senate against the Koch brothers, who in addition to supporting conservative causes are among the nation’s leading philanthropists, is likely to be questioned as well.

With GOP gubernatorial wins in key states such as Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida, the GOP sweep is also expected to have major repercussions for the 2016 presidential race. Those states could be a major launching pad for Republican efforts to recapture 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In retrospect, even the polls indicating that a major GOP wave was building in the election’s closing days failed to anticipate the scale of the stinging rebuke dealt to Democrats and President Barack Obama by the voters.

The bitter results came early and often for Democrats Tuesday. Republican Shelley Moore Capito was declared the winner over Democrat Natalie Tennant shortly after polls closed in West Virginia at 7 p.m. Tennant’s candidacy was mired from the outset in what Mountain State residents viewed as a war on coal coming from the White House.

In a race national Democrats tried to frame in terms of a GOP assault on gender inequality, Capito ironically will become the first woman elected to represent West Virginia in the Senate.

Another early setback for Democrats: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resounding victory in Kentucky over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. Democrats had hoped to punish McConnell for his stalwart opposition to Obama’s agenda. But at every turn, his campaign team succeeded in linking Grimes to Obama, whose job approval numbers there were stuck in the low 30s.

McConnell’s strategy was encapsulated by his campaign slogan: “Obama needs Grimes, and Kentucky needs Mitch McConnell.”

McConnell’s victory, combined with the GOP’s success in grabbing the Senate majority, means the senior senator from Kentucky is now considered the presumptive choice to be the next Senate majority leader.

In his victory speech, McConnell congratulated his opponent for running “a spirited race,” and struck a gracious note of reconciliation. His remarks appeared to aim at transcending the usual partisan divide.

“Tonight, we stand together as one nation united in the exercise of a great civic tradition,” he stated, “a tradition which never fails to remind us why our government is so resilient and admired, and why we are proud to call ourselves citizens of the greatest nation on earth.”

Democrats hoping to hold onto the Senate received a brief reprieve when incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen held on to defeat former Sen. Scott Brown in New Hampshire. But as the pace of election returns accelerated, the bad news for Democrats kept pouring in.

Tom Cotton was declared the winner in Arkansas over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, followed by former Gov. Mike Rounds’ victory in South Dakota.

In Montana, Rep. Steve Daines defeated Democrat Amanda Curtis in Montana. Curtis was a late entry into the race after incumbent Democratic Sen. John Walsh dropped out in the wake of a July New York Times report alleging Walsh had plagiarized large portions of a research paper submitted to the U.S. Army War College in 2007.

In Colorado, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner defeated first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Gardner’s victory will ensure his emergence as a major political force in the GOP. The Associated Press reports Gardner outraised Udall in the campaigns closing weeks, and ended the race with more than triple the incumbent’s cash on hand. Udall, meanwhile, played the gender card with such intensity that even Democratic donors began to complain that they were tired of his jeremiads on abortion rights.

Two more blows to Democratic hopes of holding their grip on the upper chamber: Businessman David Perdue’s defeat of Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn, and Tillis’s defeat of Hagan in North Carolina.

In some ways, the Tillis-Hagan race typified just how fiercely the headwinds were blowing against Democrats. Polls showed Hagan nursing a narrow lead over Tillis in the campaign’s waning days. National Democrats poured tens of millions of dollars into the race in a bid to turn the Tar Heel State into a firewall to stop Republicans. But ultimately, voter frustration was simply too strong.

Adding to the GOP wave, GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst announced at 11:41 p.m. that she had received a call from Democratic opponent Bruce Braley congratulating her on winning the race.  
 
“Well Iowa, we did it!” the rising GOP star told supporters at her victory party. “We did it!”
 
Ernst also reprised a line from one of the most successful ads of the 2014 campaign. Saying she grew up castrating pigs on an Iowa farm, Ernst said she would know how to cut pork in the Nation’s Capital.
 
“From the biscuit line at Hardee’s to the United States Senate,” Ernst said Tuesday.

“Thanks to all of you we’re heading to Washington … and we are going to make them squeal.”

McConnell’s concluding remarks seemed to capture the night’s enthusiasm, at least for Republicans.

“Tonight marks the end of one of the most exhilarating elections in U.S. history,” McConnell stated. “It also marks a beginning: Regardless of one’s political party, Election Day is always a moment of optimism and hope.”

House Republicans defeated 19-term Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia and Rep. John Barrow in Georgia while defending the seat of Rep. Michael Grimm, a New York Republican who faces a 20-count indictment on tax fraud and other charges. College professor Dave Brat won a House seat in Virginia, several months after he stunned Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican primary. 

Voters in Oregon and the District of Columbia approved ballot measures allowing the recreational use of marijuana by adults. Oregon will join the ranks of Colorado and Washington state, where voters approved the recreational use of pot two years ago. The District of Columbia could move in that direction unless Congress, which has review power, blocks the move. Alaska voters were also considering marijuana-legalization measures on its ballot

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Republicans scored historic political victories Tuesday by seizing the U.S. Senate, expanding their majority in the House to near-record proportions, and winning several key governor races. CNN officially projected that Republicans would retake control of the Senate at...
republicans, take, senate, gop, wave, mcconnell
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2014-47-04
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:47 PM
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