2014 Elections recap: Republicans triumph in midterms

As the 2014 midterm elections wind down, here’s a brief recap of the major outcomes from important races in Virginia and around the nation and what those results mean for political control.

Before Tuesday, the Senate makeup stood at 53 Democratic seats and 45 Republican seats, with 2 Independents. In the election, Republicans were swept into the majority on the back of big wins in states like Colorado, North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa and West Virginia. Louisiana, another contentious state, was sent into a runoff election because neither major candidate was able to cross the necessary 50% vote threshold.

These results will give the GOP its first Senate majority in eight years, and ensure that they control both chambers of Congress for the remainder of President Obama’s time in office.

Here in Virginia, Senate candidates Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) ended up in a much tighter race than most pundits expected. As it stands now, Warner is slightly ahead, though the Associated Press has not yet officially called the race and will not do so until the number of outstanding votes can be verified. Even then, Virginia law would allow Gillespie to request a recount if the margin is less than one percent.

At Mason’s polling location in Merten Hall, 560 total votes were cast, with 368 for Warner, 141 for Gillespie and 50 for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.

Although the Senate race held many Virginians to the edge of their seats, outcomes in the House races were not nearly as surprising.

In Disctrict 11, which includes George Mason University, incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly escaped a challenge from Suzanne Scholte, a Republican. Mason students voted for Connolly by 343 votes to Scholte’s 168, with the remaining votes going to third party candidates or write-ins.

District 10, which includes parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Manassas, as well as Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick counties, elected Republican Barbara Comstock over Democrat John Foust by a 16-point margin.

In District 8, which encompasses Arlington, parts of Fairfax, and Falls Church and Alexandria, Democrat Don Beyer won with 63% of the vote over Republican candidate Micah Edmond.

Much of the national focus in this election was on control of the Senate, and rightly so – with the seven seats they picked up last night, the GOP now controls both chambers of Congress and has a lot more authority over legislative action than before. However, it’s important to note that the Republicans also increased their hold on the House of Representatives to 242 seats (NBC News predicts that number will be 250 once all is said and done), which is the largest GOP House majority since the 1940s, and they came out successful in nearly all of the close gubernatorial races.

Looking ahead, watch to see how well the Republican-controlled Congress and President Obama work together to pass important legislation. There are a number of big issues that will come up in the next two years, and the 2016 elections will fall to the Party that shows they can govern effectively and work with the other side.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond. No changes made. Creative Commons License.