By Roman Orsini
Last week, the U.S. midterm elections resulted in Republican control of the Senate for the first time since 2006. In this election, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 36 Senate seats, 36 governorships and their state legislatures were up for vote, according to CNN.
In the Senate race, Republicans have taken Senate seats from Democrats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota while expanding their hold on the House. The election was predicted to be close yet, in reality, swept a large infusion of Republicans into Congress at the state level, according to CNN.
Eighteen-year-old Saira Blair (WV-R) was elected to the West Virginia Legislature. Blair is the youngest person to be elected to a state office after running her campaign from her dorm room, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The election cost a record $3.7 billion between advertisements and donations for candidates. This figure was the highest ever for a midterm election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY-R) has become the Senate majority leader after winning a close election, replacing former majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (NV-D). In a speech, McConnell spoke of Americans being frustrated with Washington’s dysfunction. Indeed, America’s approval of Congress stands at a record low of 12 percent, according to the Huffington Post.
“(The Senate) basically doesn’t do anything. We don’t even vote,” McConnell said in his speech.
The state of the economy was the largest issue in these elections. According to the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of Americans felt improving their job situation was a top priority in their voting choice. Healthcare and the federal deficit were among other top issues.
Elsewhere, the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, has been a decisive issue in U.S. politics since the law was passed in 2010. House Speaker John Boehner (OH-R) and McConnell have vowed to repeal the act within the last two years of Obama’s presidency, having already voted unsuccessfully to repeal it numerous times already. The Republican leadership, however, maintains job growth as a top priority, according to Politico.
The election follows low approval ratings for President Obama and dissatisfaction with his policies. Following the election, Obama blamed the efforts of himself and his White House team for failing to persuade the American people, according to the New York Times.
“The American people overwhelmingly believe that this town doesn’t work well,” Obama said in a statement. “As president, they rightly hold me accountable to do more to make it work properly. I’m the guy who is elected by everybody.”