Whether it meets your personal definition of a “wave” election or not, Republicans won a major victory at the polls on Tuesday, winning more than enough seats to take control of the Senate, bolstering their majority in the House to historic levels, and winning a number of close races for Governor.
“The American people have put their trust in the Republican Party,” said Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus.
“I won’t sugarcoat it – we always knew tonight would be a challenging night,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), who led Democratic re-election efforts in the Congress. “In short, it could have been worse.”
The outcome was hailed on social media by many in the GOP, like Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona:
It was a big night for Republicans at all levels, as they captured a net gain of seven seats in the Senate, led in an eighth race in Alaska, and licked their chops about the chance of winning a ninth in a December runoff in Louisiana.
“I’d like to congratulate Senator McConnell, who will be the new Senate Majority Leader,” said Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), as he watched the Republicans win a series of tight races in Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, along with blowouts in Arkansas and South Dakota.
The GOP also came close to winning a total shocker in Virginia, as Republican Ed Gillespie led for much of the night before falling behind Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA); Warner led by just 17,000 votes with over 99% of precincts reporting in a race that no one saw as a toss up.
If Democrats hang on to the seat in Louisiana, the GOP would have an edge of 53-47; a loss would make it a 54-46 Republican majority.
History in the House
The results were just as pleasing for Speaker John Boehner, who could have a Republican majority of 250 seats in the House, depending on the outcome of a series of close races.
That would be the largest GOP majority in the House since the Republicans controlled 270 seats after the 1928 elections.
“We are humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed with us, but this is not a time for celebration,” said Boehner in a written statement, as he tried to lay out legislative plans for 2015.
“Americans can expect the new Congress to debate and vote soon on the many common-sense jobs and energy bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support but were never even brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority,” Boehner added.
A number of close races were still unresolved as the sun came up on Wednesday morning, but the defeat of several Democratic incumbents in the House were noteworthy:
+ The last real “Blue Dog” Democrat in Congress lost, as Rep. John Barrow of Georgia was finally taken out by the GOP
+ Not only did Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) lose the Iowa Senate race, but Democrats also lost his seat in the Congress
+ Republicans knocked off at least two Democrats in New York, as Rep. Dan Maffei of Syracuse was blitzed in a swing seat that he won in 2008, lost in 2010, won back in 2012 and lost again in 2014
+ Republican Frank Guinta won back his seat in New Hampshire, which he first won in 2010, then lost in 2012
+ The GOP wave knocked off freshman Rep. Steven Horsford in Nevada, one of a number of Republican victories in the Silver State
+ The luck finally ran out for Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), as Republicans won all three House seats in the Mountain State.