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United States general elections, 2006

From dKosopedia

The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial legislatures and many state and local races. The final result was a turnover of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Exit polls indicated that, the majority of Americans who voted in the midterm elections disapproved of the war in Iraq and was a major factor in the resulting Democratic gains. The other major issue according to exit polls was corruption in the poltical proccess, which was endemic in the previous GOP controlled 109th Congress.


Summary of results

The Democratic Party won a majority of the state governorships and the U.S. House and Senate seats each for the first time since 1994, an election-year commonly known as the "Republican Revolution". For the first time in the history of the United States, no Democratic incumbent lost, nor did Republicans capture any open House, Senate, or Gubernatorial seat previously held by a Democrat.

Democrats took a 233-202 advantage in the House of Representatives, and a 51-49 advantage in the United States Senate. The Senate figure includes two candidates who ran as independent candidates: one who pledged to align with Democrats and another who lost the Democratic primary but won the general election as an independent promising to caucus with the Democrats. The final Senate result was decided when Democrat James Webb was declared the winner in Virginia against incumbent George Allen. On November 9, 2006, Allen and fellow Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns (Mont.) both conceded defeat, ceding control of the Senate to the Democrats.

The election made Nancy Pelosi (D-California) the first-ever female and first-ever Californian Speaker of the House and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) the first Mormon Senate Majority Leader. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) became the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) became the first Buddhists in a United States governing body. Seven states banned recognition of same-sex marriage, while Arizona became the first state to reject such a ballot initiative. South Dakota rejected a ban on abortion under almost any circumstances, which was intended to overturn federal constitutional abortion-rights nationwide by setting up a strong test case that proponents hoped would lead to the overruling of Roe v. Wade.

Some of the House and Senate seats lost by the Republicans were originally won by them in the Republican Revolution of 1994. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Congressmen Charlie Bass (R-New Hampshire), John Hostettler (R-Indiana), Gil Gutknecht (R-Minnesota), and J.D. Hayworth (R-Arizona) all were elected in Democratic held seats in the 1994 elections and defeated in 2006. The Democrats also won back the Kansas 2nd and Ohio 18th, both lost to them in 1994. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-New York), also a member of the Republican "Class of 1994," was defeated.

Federal results

The Democrats gained six Senate seats by defeating Republican senators in the states of Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The Democrats secured a 51-49 majority in the Senate (Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Senator-elect Bernie Sanders of Vermont are Independents who likely will vote with Democrats on caucus issues). For the first time since the midterm elections of 1994, the Democratic Party gained control of both houses of the United States Congress.

United States House of Representatives

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were up for election.

Summary of the November 7, 2006 U.S. House election results:
Party Seats Popular Vote
2004 2006 +/−  % Vote  % +/−
Democratic Party 202 233 +31 53.6% 39,673,226 52.0% +5.4%
Republican Party 232 202 −30 46.4% 34,748,277 45.6% –3.6%
Independents 1 0 −1 0 501,632 0.7% +0.1%
Others 0 0 0 0 1,305,803 1.7% –1.9%
Total 435 435 0 100.0% 76,228,938 100.0% 0
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Special case: FL-13 (FL certified the Republican the winner, but this election is being disputed in court and congress.)

United States Senate

The 33 seats in the United States Senate Class 1 were up for election.

Main article: United States Senate elections, 2006
Summary of the November 7, 2006 U.S. Senate election results:
Party Breakdown Total Seats Popular Vote
Up Elected Not Up 2004 2006 +/− Vote  %
Democratic Party 17 22 27 44 49 +5 33,134,651 53.8%
Republican Party 15 9 40 55 49 −6 26,127,486 42.4%
Independents 1 2 0 1 2 +1 878,486 1.4%
Libertarian Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 600,991 1.0%
Green Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 402,800 0.7%
Others 0 0 0 0 0 0 408,335 0.7%
Total 33 33 67 100 100 0 61,552,749 100.0%
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State results


Main article: United States gubernatorial elections, 2006

Of the 50 United States governors, 36 were up for election. Twenty two of those contested seats were held by Republicans, and the remaining 14 were held by Democrats. Of the 36 governorships up for election, ten were open due to retirement, term limits, or primary loss. Although most governors serve four-year terms, the two exceptions, Vermont and New Hampshire, elect governors to two-year terms. As a result of the 2006 gubernatorial elections, there are now 28 Democratic governors and 22 Republican governors, a reversal of the numbers held by the respective parties prior to the elections.

State legislatures

Nearly all state legislatures were up for election. Prior to the general elections, with the exception of the nonpartisan Nebraska Legislature, 21 legislatures were controlled by Republicans, 19 by Democrats, and nine were split legislatures (where both houses are controlled by different parties). As a result of the 2006 elections, 23 legislatures were carried by Democrats, 17 by Republicans, and 9 legislatures were split. Democrats gained control of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, the Minnesota Legislature, the Iowa General Assembly and the New Hampshire General Court. In New Hampshire's case, both houses of the legislature flipped from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Republicans, meanwhile, did not gain control of any state legislature. Instead, state Republicans lost their majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, the Michigan Legislature, the Pennsylvania Legislature, and the Indiana General Assembly, turning those legislatures into split bodies.

Democrats gained or retained control of the state legislatures and governorships of 15 states, thus creating one-party Government in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. Republicans now control ten state governments, these being Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

The most dramatic change in party control occurred with the New Hampshire General Court, where Republicans held a 92 seat majority in the lower House and an eight seat majority in the upper Senate prior to the election. By the end of the evening, Republicans had lost 81 seats in the House and five in the Senate, giving control of the General Court to the Democrats.

Third parties

Third parties received largely mixed results in the 2006 elections. In the Maine House of Representatives, Green State Representative John Eder was narrowly defeated by Democratic rival Jon Hinck in a bitterly contested campaign over Portland's 118th District. Eder's loss deprived the U.S. Green movement's highest elected position in any state office.

In the Vermont House of Representatives, the Vermont Progressive Party successfully maintained its six seats within the chamber. The Vermont Progressive Party has in recent years become one of the most consistently successful third parties in the U.S. to be elected to higher office.

In Montana, Rick Jore made history becoming the first candidate of the right-wing Constitution Party to be elected to a state legislature, elected to the 12th District in the Montana House of Representatives. Jore initially won in 2004 by three votes, only to see the courts throw out enough ballots to give the Democrat the victory. In the 2006 elections, Jore won convincingly, garnering 56.2% of the vote.

Both the Libertarian and Reform Parties did not gain any state legislative seats.

Ballot initiatives

Voters weighed in on various ballot initiatives. These included:

Local elections

Numerous other elections for local, city, and county public offices were held.

A strange local election occurred in South Dakota; Marie Steichen was elected to Jerauld County commissioner, despite the fact that she died two months before the election. Her name was never replaced on the ballot, and voters who chose her were aware of her death.

In Richmond, California, a city of more than 100,000 residents, the Green Party challenger, city councilperson Gayle McLaughlin, unseated Democratic incumbent Irma Anderson and will now become the first Green Party mayor of a city of that size.

Two candidates in Nevada’s branch of the Constitution Party (United States), called the Independent American Party (Nevada), were also elected to office. Jackie Berg was elected Eureka County Clerk with 54.1% of the vote, easily topping Republican and Libertarian opposition. Also, Cel Ochoa will be the new constable in Searchlight, Nevada by virtue of winning 54.93% of the vote to defeat her Republican rival. Another Nevada Independent Party member, Bill Wilkerson, was elected to the Elko, Nevada School Board, in a non-partisan race.

In Missoula County, Montana, residents passed a measure to encourage the County Sheriff's Department to make marijuana enforcement a last priority.

In Dallas County, Texas, Democrats regained control in 41 out of 42 contested GOP judgeships, as well as the district attorney's office and the county judge's seat.

Election irregularities

There were scattered reports of problems at polling places across the country as new electronic voting systems were introduced in many states. The problems ranged from voter and election official confusion about how to use new voting machines to apparent political dirty tricks designed to keep certain voters from casting their votes to inclement weather suppressing turnout.

See Election 2006 irregularities


Many political analysts concluded that the results of the election were based around President George W. Bush's policies in the War in Iraq and corruption in Congress. At a press conference given to address the election results, President Bush called the cumulative results of the election a "thumpin'" by the Democrats.

Democratic agenda

Democrats have promised an agenda that includes withdrawing from the war in Iraq, raising the minimum wage, implementing all of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, eliminating subsidies for oil companies, restricting lobbyists, repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, lowering interest rates on college loans, expanding stem-cell research, investigating political appointees for actions taken during and leading to the war in Iraq, allowing current tax cuts to expire, and negotiating Medicare prescription drug prices. They plan to legislate these issues within their first 100 legislative hours of power in January 2007. According to Brian Wright, president of Democrasource, LLC (an Ohio based national political consulting group), “There’s no question, the administration and Iraq set the tone for this year."

Six point plan

Prior to the election in July 2006 Democrats unveiled a six-point plan they promised to enact if elected with congressional majorities. The plan was billed the "Six for 06 agenda" and officially called "A New Direction For America" and compared to the 1994 Republican "Contract with America". The six-points of the plan include: "honest leadership and open government, real security, energy independence, economic prosperity and educational excellence, a healthcare system that works for everyone, and retirement security".

Donald Rumsfeld

With apparent reference to the impact of the Iraq war policy, in a press conference held on November 8, Bush talked about the election and announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Bush stated, "I know there's a lot of speculation on what the election means for the battle we're waging in Iraq. I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made there." Prior to the election, Bush had stated that he intended to keep Rumsfeld on as Secretary of Defense until the end of his Presidency. However, Bush then went on to add Rumsfeld's resignation was not due to the Democratic victories on November 8. Rumsfeld's job reportedly had been on the line for several months prior to the election, and the decision for him to stay until after the election, if he was going to be let go at all, was also reportedly made several months earlier. All this led to his resignation.

Republican leadership

On the same day, then Speaker of the House, Representative Dennis Hastert of the 14th Congressional District of Illinois, said he would not seek the Minority Leader position for the 110th Congress.

Voting trends

In the aftermath of the election The Weekly Standard published a number of articles highly critical of how the Republican Party had managed the United States Congress. It called the electoral defeat for the G.O.P. "only a little short" of "devastating" saying the "party of reform... didn't reform anything" and warned that the Democratic Party has expanded its "geographical sphere of Democratic power" to formerly Republican-held states such as Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota while it solidified former swing states like Illinois as Democratic strongholds. In the New England region, popular Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island was defeated, despite having approval ratings near 60% and Republicans now only control a single district, the CT-04 seat held by Chris Shays, out of 22 congressional districts. The Democrats also became the clear majority in the Mid Atlantic region as well. Three Republican incumbent Congressmen were defeated in New York state, all from Republican regions upstate, and four Republican Congressmen were defeated in Pennsylvania. Democrats picked up seats in all Northeastern state legislatures holding elections, except Rhode Island, which remained unchanged (and Democrats clearly in the majority). Democrats kept both vulnerable Senate seats in Maryland and New Jersey, winning them by wider margins than predicted, and they won the heavily contested Senate seats in Missouri and Virginia.

The Democratic expansion into Indiana, Virginia, and Ohio has "seriously diminished the chances for future Republican success" it claimed. The paper, which has been described as the "quasi-official organ of the Bush Administration" also stated that more people would have to "bendover" to get anywhere in a political office and has called on Republicans to move to the center for the sake of the party's future viability saying "conservatives won't want to hear this, but the Republican who maneuvered his way into the most impressive victory... won ... after moving to the center" and that "the South is not enough space to build a national governing majority".


External links

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This page was last modified 23:40, 6 January 2007 by dKosopedia user Lestatdelc. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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