Newly-elected members of the House of Representatives gathered for their freshman class photo on the steps of the Capitol on November 18, 2014.
On Election Day, November 4, 2014, voters across the United States cast their ballots in the midterm elections. The midterm elections are always held halfway through a President’s four-year term. The midterms are important because a large number of seats in the U.S. Congress are up for election. Many states also have races for governor and other local offices.
In this year’s midterms, Republican candidates won most of the major races in the country. In January 2015, when the members of the new Congress meet for the first time, the Republicans will have a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There will also be 104 women serving in the new Congress, the largest number in history.
The Republicans have controlled the House since 2011. In this election, they gained 13 more seats, giving the party its largest majority since World War II. In Utah, Mia Love became the first African American female Republican elected to Congress. Republican Elise Stefanik of New York is the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the first veteran elected to Congress who served in both the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.
Republicans also had a major victory in the Senate, which the Democrats have controlled since 2007. Republicans won the majority after gaining nine seats. Their candidates won Senate seats previously held by Democrats in eight states—Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Joni Ernst will become Iowa’s first female senator. Ernst is also the first female combat veteran ever elected to the Senate. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will also become the first female senator for her state.
Republicans did well in the governor races, too. Republican governors were reelected in Kansas, Florida, and Wisconsin. Republican candidates also won in states such as Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois. Democrats had a victory in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Tom Wolf defeated Republican Governor Tom Corbett. Democratic governors were reelected in some states, such as Connecticut, Colorado, and California. In Rhode Island, Democrat Gina Raimondo is set to become the state’s first female governor.
The Republican majority in Congress could make it hard for Democratic President Barack Obama to achieve his goals in the final two years of his presidency. Many Republicans disagree with the President’s ideas about how to run the country. Still, members of both parties hope they can work together and make progress in areas where they can agree.