Wednesday, November 08, 2006

US Midterm Election Results 2006

The votes are (mostly) in and the democrats have taken the House of Representatives by what currently looks like a gain of 28 seats, when a gain of 15 would have been enough for a majority. This would give the Democrats 227 seats in the House (218 is needed for a majority). 14 House races are still undecided.

The fate of the Senate is still in the air, but it looks like it could be a 50-50 split. Currently it stands at 49-49 with the Democrats having picked up 4 senate seats. They would need to pick up 6 for the majority. Two senate races, Webb (D) vs. Allen (R, incumbent) in Virginia and Tester (D) vs. Burns (R) in Montana, are too close to call and the votes are still being counted.

A recount in Virginia, where Webb currently leads Allen by about 8000 votes (out of 1.17 vs. 1.16 million votes respectively when 99% of the precints are reporting in), is likely. The same may be the case for Montana, since Tester's lead there is only about 1500 votes with 96% of precints reporting. If the Democrats manage to win both of these very close races they will take control of the Senate as well. The GOP will technically retain their majority in an evenly split Senate (50-50), since the Vice President casts the deciding vote in the case of a tie. Although, if I recall correctly, they made some kind of a deal awhile back (when the Senate was split 50-50 the last time) not to use this deciding vote.

Looking at the overall picture, a gain of about 28 seats in the House can be considered a rather major victory for the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi is set to become the new Speaker of the House and she is the first female to hold that position, which is 3rd in the hierarchy of the Federal Government, after the President and the Vice President (i.e. she would lead the nation if the President and Vice President both die).

These (still partly projected) gains would be near or even slightly above the upper ends of the projections' spread, with projections usually varying from 10 to about 25 seats gains in the House and zero to about 6 seats gain in the Senate for the dems. Certainly would make it much more difficult for the GOP and President Bush to move forward with their agenda for the remaining two years of his term. Of course it can be said that those agendas have already been quite stalled for the last year or so.

Of the many races one is of local interest to me personally. Florida's 22nd congressional district, my "home district", saw the democratic challenger Klein beat the republican encumbent Shaw in a rather republican-safe area (affluent coastal areas, especially after the GOP-led redistricting).

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