2006-11-08 02:59:16 UTC
and Ohio and gained ground in the House Tuesday, challenging for control of
Congress in midterm elections shaped by an unpopular war in Iraq and
scandal at home.
Aided by public dissatisfaction with President Bush, Democrats also
elected governors in New York, Ohio and Massachusetts for the first time in
more than a decade.
"Let's give a big cheer to the American people," said House Democratic
Leader Nancy Pelosi - in line to become speaker if her party won the House -
as the returns rolled in.
In a remarkable comeback, Sen. Joe Lieberman won a new term in
Connecticut - dispatching Ned Lamont and winning when it counted most
against the man who prevailed in a summertime primary. Lieberman ran as an
independent, but will side with the Democrats when he returns to Washington.
Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania became the
first Republican senator to fall to the Democrats, losing his seat after two
conservative terms to Bob Casey Jr., the state treasurer.
In Ohio, Sen. Mike DeWine (news, bio, voting record) lost to Rep. Sherrod
Brown (news, bio, voting record), a liberal seven-term lawmaker.
In the battle for control of the House, Rep. John Hostettler (news, bio,
voting record), R-Ind., and Anne Northup of Kentucky both lost to their
Hostettler, Santorum and DeWine all won their seats in the Republican
landslide of 1994, the year the GOP won control of the House they were in
danger of surrendering in this election.
All 435 House seats were on the ballot along with 33 Senate races, elections
that Democrats sought to make a referendum on the president's handling of
the war, the economy and more.
Democrats piled up early gains among the 36 statehouse races on the ballot.
In Ohio, Rep. Ted Strickland (news, bio, voting record) defeated Republican
Ken Blackwell with ease to become the state's first Democratic governor in
16 years. Deval Patrick triumphed over Republican Kerry Healey in
Massachusetts, and will become the state's first black chief executive.
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer won the New York governor's race in a
Surveys of voters at their polling places nationwide suggested Democrats
were winning the support of independents by a margin of almost 2-to-1, and
middle-class voters were leaving Republicans behind.
About six in 10 voters said they disapproved of the way President Bush is
handling his job, and roughly the same percentage opposed the war in Iraq.
They were more inclined to vote for Democratic candidates than for
In even larger numbers, about three-quarters of voters said scandals
mattered to them in deciding how to vote, and they, too, were more likely to
side with Democrats. The surveys were taken by The Associated Press and the
History worked against the GOP, too. Since World War II, the party in
control of the White House has lost an average 31 House seats and six Senate
seats in the second midterm election of a president's tenure in office.
Voters in Vermont made Rep. Bernie Sanders, an independent, the winner in a
Senate race, succeeding retiring Sen. James Jeffords. Brooklyn-born
with an accent to match, Sanders is an avowed Socialist who will side with
Democrats when he is sworn into office in January.
Democrat Amy Klobuchar, a county prosecutor, won the Minnesota Senate race
to replace retiring Sen. Mark Dayton (news, bio, voting record), a fellow
Casey, a conservative challenger who opposes abortion rights, ran well ahead
of Santorum, a member of the Senate GOP leadership in search of a third
Next door in Ohio, Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown was defeating Sen. Mike
DeWine by a double-digit margin.
And in Virginia, Republican Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record) and
Democratic challenger Jim Webb were locked in a seesaw battle, neither man
able to break clear of the other as the vote count mounted.
Congressional Democrats, locked out of power for most of the past dozen
years, needed gains of 15 seats in the House and six in the Senate to
capture majorities that would let them restrain Bush's conservative agenda
through the rest of his term.
Bush was at the White House, awaiting returns that would determine whether
he would have to contend with divided government during his final two years
Pelosi was in Washington, waiting to learn whether her party would wrest
control of the House from Republicans.
Several veteran senators coasted to new terms, including Republicans Richard
Lugar in Indiana, Trent Lott in Mississippi and Olympia Snowe in Maine; Kay
Bailey Hutchison in Texas, Craig Thomas in Wyoming; and Democrats Robert C.
Byrd in West Virginia; Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts; Tom Carper in
Delaware; Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York; Debbie Stabenow in
Michigan; Herb Kohl in Wisconsin; Jeff Bingaman in New Mexico, Ben Nelson in
Nebraska and Kent Conrad in North Dakota and Bill Nelson in Florida, who
thumped former secretary of state Katherine Harris to win a second term.
Incumbent governors winning at the polls include Republicans M. Jodi Rell,
who was ascended to her post in Connecticut when scandal-scarred Gov. John
Rowland resigned, Sonny Perdue in Georgia, Mark Sanford in South Carolina,
Mike Rounds in South Dakota and Dave Heinemann in Nebraska. Also, Democrats
Phil Bredesen in Tennessee, Brad Henry in Oklahoma, Rod Blagojevich in
Illinois, Ed Rendell in Pennsylvania, Dave Freudenthal in Wyoming; Jennifer
Granholm in Michigan; Janet Napolitano in Arizona, Bill Richardson in New
Mexico; Kathleen Sebelius in Kansas and John Lynch in New Hampshire.
Voters also filled state legislative seats and decided hundreds of statewide
ballot initiatives on issues ranging from proposed bans on gay marriage to
increases in the minimum wage.
Equipment problems, long lines and other snafus delayed poll closings in
scattered locations, and Illinois officials were swamped with calls from
voters complaining that election workers did not know how to operate new
But overall, the Justice Department said polling complaints were down
slightly from 2004 by early afternoon.
The president campaigned energetically to preserve his party's majority in
Congress and its control over more than half the statehouses. He brought in
$193 million at about 90 fundraisers, most party events in Washington or
closed candidate receptions. Only at the last did he turn to traditional
open campaign rallies, jetting to 15 cities in the final 11 days.
With Bush's approval ratings low and the Iraq war unpopular, Republicans
conceded in advance that Democrats would gain at least some seats in
Congress as well as in statehouses across the country.
Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., was assured of re-election to his
11th term in Illinois. But his tenure as the longest-serving Republican
speaker in decades was at risk.
Of the 33 Senate races on the ballot, 17 were for seats occupied by
Democrats and 15 by Republicans, with one held by an independent. But that
masked the real story: In both houses, nearly all the competitive seats were
in GOP hands and Democrats were on the offensive.
My only concern is should I hide my true identity? A costume maybe?
My only concern is should I hide my true identity? A costume maybe?