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Americas

Republicans seize House, Democrats hold Senate

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-11-03

US President Barack Obama's Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but close wins in California and Nevada allowed them to keep a slender lead in the Senate.

Watch FRANCE 24's special coverage of the US midterm elections, featuring live results, comment and analysis. And tune in for President Barack Obama's speech at 6 pm (GMT+1).

The 2010 US midterm elections saw Republicans reverse the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and make important gains in the Senate, where President Barack Obama’s party barely held on to its lead.

As opinion polls and analysts predicted in the run-up to the vote, a Republican tide boosted by the rise of the conservative Tea Party was the major trend of the latest US elections.

Obama called Republican leaders, including new speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, after their victories to offer congratulations and promised to seek "common ground". Boehner takes over as Speaker from Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul became the first Tea Party-backed candidates to win Senate seats, signalling a political future for the anti-establishment movement that has been the big story of the midterms.
 
Republican candidates also won Senate races in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, adding salt to injury by taking Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois.

But Senate wins by incumbent Democrats Barbara Boxer in California, Ron Wyden in Oregon and Harry Reid in Nevada, brought a huge sigh of relief to their party as it struggled to preserve its majority in the upper chamber. Democrats Michael Bennett in Colorado and Patty Murray in Washington were also clinging to slim leads in their Senate races as votes were still being counted.

And not all Tea Party stars were giving victory speeches. As expected in Delaware, Republican Christine O’Donnell lost the Senate match-up to Democrat Christopher Coons.

Republicans are expected to take control of the House by surpassing the 40 seats needed to seize the lower chamber to hold 248 seats to the Democrats' 183. The Democrats will likely maintain a slim lead in the Senate with 51 seats to the Republicans' 46.

The GOP lost control of the House of Representatives back in 2006.

Speaking to supporters, Boehner said: “The American people have sent [President Obama] an unmistakable message tonight: ‘change course’,” adding that despite their many victories, election night was not a time for Republican celebration, but instead to start reshaping Washington.
 
The predicted Republican gains in Congress will likely bring about legislative gridlock. Most, if not all Republicans, have campaigned heavily on the promise to fight the passage of legislation favored by President Obama. Although Obama was able to pass comprehensive health and finance sector reforms, major legislation on income-tax cuts, energy and immigration policy is still pending on the president’s agenda.

Republicans had also made net gains at the state level, picking up eight governor seats previously held by Democrats. In New Mexico, outspoken district attorney Susana Martinez , also a devout fan of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, became the first female Hispanic governor in the country. In South Carolina Republican candidate Nikki Haley became the country’s first Indian-American governor.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were contested on Tuesday, and around one-third of the 100 Senate seats. Voters nationwide also voted for state legislation and officials.

Several local US media reported better-than-expected turnout for the midterms.


Date created : 2010-11-03

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