The tidal wave of Republican victories expected by many pundits in the 2010 election has now landed on shore.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, where the GOP needed to win 39 seats from Democrats in order to take over leadership, poll returns now indicate Republicans will pick up at least 49 seats, with several races yet undecided.
In the U.S. Senate, where the power struggle was expected to be much closer, current voter returns indicate Republicans made gains but garnered just shy of the 10 seats needed to overcome the Democrats’ 59-41 edge, with only a few races yet undecided.
Among the 37 states where the governor’s mansion is up for grabs (and where Democrats held a 26-24 advantage going into this election), Republicans are projected to claim victories in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming – all previously held by Democrats – among others.
Notably, the transfer of power on Capitol Hill means Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – who powered several bills through Congress, including the health-care reform act branded as Obamacare – will lose her position as House speaker in 2011.
“This is going to be a big day,” said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who is the leading Republican in line to be the new speaker of the House.
For those who think the government is spending too much and bailing out too many, Boehner told the Associated Press, “This is their opportunity to be heard.”
Democrat pollster Doug Schoen put it even more bluntly: “This is a complete repudiation of the Democratic Party.”
In the other house of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., entered the night expecting a close race with tea-party favorite Sharron Angle, but began to pull away in the late hours of the evening and was proclaimed the winner.
Final results of several election battles may not be known, even after all polls close. Tight races, absentee ballot counts and even recounts may come into play, even while allegations of voter fraud and election anomalies threaten to plague the results.
In Nevada, for example, according to an Associated Press report, Republican Party legal counsel David O’Mara may have cause to challenge the results, for he has already filed a 44-page complaint alleging voter logs in a pair of Nevada counties showed the number of ballots cast was larger than the number of voters who signed the election registers.
Angle’s campaign has also alleged Reid and Democratic union backers were illegally buying votes with free food and Starbucks gift cards as well as pressuring casino workers into voting.
WND’s Voter Fraud Hotline has also brought to light several instances of alleged impropriety at polls around the country.
Regardless of any potential court battles that may stem from fraud allegations, however, the sweeping Republican victory has major implications for the near future. The Democrats’ loss of the U.S. House, coupled with what many pundits are suggesting is a resounding referendum on President Obama’s policies, will profoundly affect the administration’s ability to push its legislative agenda.
Furthermore, changes at the state level may have sweeping consequences in the upcoming redistricting process for the 2012 election. Of the 36 legislatures that control congressional redistricting, 23 chambers in 17 states entered the election within five seats of tying or changing hands. As Republican victories mount in governorships and state legislatures, the swing could grant the GOP a lasting boost in future elections as well.
Many commentators have credited the tea parties with driving an anti-incumbent fever in the electorate, as the grassroots movement demanded Congress reject federal health-care mandates and stop skyrocketing government spending. The Democrats in power, however, pushed both, becoming clear targets for voters looking to oust unresponsive legislators.
Noted Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action and WND columnist: “We tried to warn them – 9 million times – with pink slips that tripled the Washington Monument in height. Maybe next time they’ll listen.”
Races under the microscope
The evening brought conclusion in some races to months of heated media attention, while leaving some still to be decided.
GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, for example, who garnered perhaps the largest share of news coverage in the past few weeks, was unable to upset Democrat Christopher Coons, the clear victor in Delaware’s election to fill Vice President Joe Biden’s former seat.
In Florida, tea-party favorite Marco Rubio completed his bid to first topple Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican primary race for a Senate nomination and then beat Crist again in the general election.
Fox News analyst Brit Hume, speaking of Charlie Crist, the former Republican who continued his run for Senate as an independent, said, “This may be the singlemost flexible politician I’ve ever seen.”
The president is scheduled to hold a full press conference in the White House East Room at 1 p.m. tomorrow, presumably to comment on today’s election.
Surmising that Obama will deliver a message urging the new Congress to work with him in bipartisan cooperation, radio host Laura Ingraham said, “It’s always an end to partisanship when Republicans make significant advances. … It’s kind of predictable. … I hope Republicans don’t fall for the Lucy-and-the-football, you-gotta-be-bipartisan-kind-of-thing now.”
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee John Cornyn of Texas also addressed working with Obama in the wake of today’s Republican surge:
“I think here’s a chance not only for the nation to make a midcourse correction, but for President Obama, as well,” Cornyn said. “If he’ll work with us on those issues-like getting Americans back to work, cutting spending and debt, then I think he’ll find a more-than-willing partner in the GOP.”
The senator, however, also issued Obama a warning:
“If he’s going to continue to not listen to the American people and lecture them and tell them what he thinks is good for them despite their wishes, then I think we’re in for a pretty tough period,” Cornyn said. “And the electorate will cast their judgment for 2012.”