After two years under Republican control of both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government, both the Republican and Democratic parties have been building to what many have called the election of a lifetime. Democrats had pushed for a “blue wave,” aiming to flip both the Senate and the House to progressive seats, whereas Republicans have tried to retain seats in the wake of criticism of Donald Trump.
On Nov. 6, voter turnout surged as Americans made their voice heard, to witness a significant blow to the Republican status quo. While Republicans kept control of the Senate, the House went to Democratic control, with the party taking more than two dozen seats that were previously under Republican control.
As far as the statewide election, voters have chosen a progressive agenda, passing initiatives on police reform and gun control, and electing Democrats throughout the state.
The Comet Tavern hosts an election night viewing party on Nov. 6.
Democrats take House of Representatives
In the House of Representatives, the Democrats’ took over two dozen seats, taking control for the first time in eight years. These seats were spread across the country, with some in Iowa, New York, Colorado, and Florida.
Several of these elections made history, with the House of Representatives getting more and more diverse.
Michigan and Minnesota saw the first two Muslim congresswomen—Ilhan Omar won readily in Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib won with over 90 percent of the vote in Michigan. Sharice Davids took a seat in Kansas, and Debra Haaland won in New Mexico, both of them becoming the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
As expected, high-profile candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her seat in New York, and a record-breaking number of women around the country won seats in the House of Representatives. Altogether, more than 100 women will serve in the House.
Midterm voter turnout was historic as well, with more than 100 million votes being cast in the House races, as compared to around 80 million in 2014.
Republicans retain power in the Senate
Despite losing ground in the House of Representatives, Republicans maintained their majority in the Senate.
Incumbents, including Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders kept their positions in almost every state. This also includes Washington state’s own senator Maria Cantwell.
Beto O’Rourke challenged Cruz in a higher-profile race in Texas, but Cruz kept his seat, with the historically Republican state staying red.
The Senate race in Mississippi resulted in a run-off, to be held on Nov. 27. The run-off will feature incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith challenged by Mike Espy.
Any legislation will have to pass through both chambers of Congress, and with Republicans controlling the Senate and Democrats controlling the House, that legislation may need bipartisan support to become law.
Progressive agenda passes in Washington state
Washington voters easily re-elected Senator Maria Cantwell, who had faced a challenge from Susan Hutchison.
Washington’s Representatives largely kept their seats, as well, including Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal, who represent the two districts that cover the greater Seattle area.
Republican Dave Reichert of District 8, however, did not seek re-election, so it was a key battleground for the U.S. House in Democrats’ attempt to take a majority. This district saw Kim Schrier running against Dino Rossi, with the results still unclear on the evening of Nov. 6.
Should Schrier win, this district will have a Democratic representative for the first time since its drawing in 2000, whereas a victory by Rossi would reinforce the Republican status quo in central Washington.
Washington voters also evaluated several ballot initiatives, and they voted to increase gun control, as well as to enact police reforms. Both of these initiatives passed with around 60 percent of the vote, as of the night of Nov. 6.
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