Republicans and Democrats will split control of Congress next year, as Republicans expanded their control of the Senate, while Democrats won enough GOP-held seats to retake control of the House.
Democratic control of the House likely means President Trump's plans for new tax cuts, tougher immigration legislation and changes to the Affordable Care Act will be blocked. With Democrats and Republicans bringing vastly different agendas to Capitol Hill, the party divide will likely be extended into the 2020 presidential election.
Interest in Tuesday’s midterms was high, especially for a non-presidential election. The New York Times estimates 114 million votes were cast, surpassing the 2014 midterm’s 83 million votes, but not quite up to par with the 138 million cast in the 2016 presidential election.
Minorities, women, millennials and LGBTQ voters had an especially large turnout, partly because politicians from those demographics were prominent contenders in elections across the nation.
The Spectrum broke down key victories in national, state and local midterm elections.
The midterm election resulted in national historic firsts, with women and minority candidates earning more seats than ever before, according to USA Today. Women have never held more than 84 of the 435 seats in the house, but as of Wednesday morning, 95 women have been declared winners, according to The Washington Post.
Colorado elected Jared Polis, who is the first openly gay man serving as governor. Polis hopes to pass legislation to provide universal healthcare to Coloradans, free early childhood education and making Colorado a 100 percent renewable energy state.
Women of color claimed victories and dethroned veteran Republicans who would have played a key role in passing legislation on President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Anna Asare-Darko, a junior biology major, said she hopes there is no gridlock due to the split of Democrats and Republicans elected. She’s happy with the number of women and minorities who claimed victories.
“You could see that when people did vote, their vote mattered,” she said. “A lot of [these milestones] wouldn’t have happened if the younger generation didn’t go vote.”
Some of those milestones included New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez defeated long-time congressman Joe Crowley in June during the New York district primary election to earn her spot on Tuesday’s ticket.
New Mexico voters elected Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is their first Democratic Latina governor, as well as their first Native American Congresswoman Deb Haaland.
In Kansas, Sharice Davids became the first Native American and openly gay Kansan elected to Congress. Davids won the 3rd Congressional District seat, defeating Republican incumbent and Trump ally Kevin Yoder for the seat. If Yoder won, it would have been his third term as congressman.
Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
Omar is Minnesota’s first Somali-American candidate and woman of color to be elected in the state.
Ayanna Pressley ran unopposed to become Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman. Pressley was the first black woman to serve on Boston’s city council and defeated 10-term Republican incumbent Michael Capuano in the primary.
Cassidy Klaybor, a sophomore social sciences interdisciplinary major, is excited to see how Congress will be affected by having more women in office. She is also surprised that the democrats managed to regain control of the House during a Republican presidency.
“I lean left myself and after the 2016 presidential election, I kind of lost hope a little bit,” Klaybor said. “After seeing so many [diverse candidates] elected, it was very uplifting.”
State and local
Democrats continued to be New York’s majority, with incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand holding onto her Senate seat, Andrew Cuomo winning his third term as governor and 20 of the 27 house seats filled by Democrats, with two seats still undecided as of Wednesday afternoon.
In his victory speech, Cuomo said that he “will work everyday to vindicate the confidence that the people of the state of New York have put in [him].” He said the U.S. should not be divided by red and blue, but instead unite as “red, white and blue.”
Casey Hume, a sophomore civil engineering major, agreed that people should see past red and blue, but said “It would’ve been nice to see Cuomo get [voted] out [of office].”
“He’s trying to take away our second amendment rights,” Hume said. “[To implement] some kind of insurance that you have to buy or you lose your right to own your weapons is just ridiculous and demeaning.”
Erie County continues to be divided between red and blue, with Republican incumbent Chris Collins winning the house race despite his recent indictment for insider trading. Collins won with a 1 percent margin over Democrat Nate McMurray. McMurray originally conceded to Collins, but called for a recount early Wednesday morning.
Hume said that Collins deserves to hold onto his seat despite the indictment.
“If he’s actually proven guilty of that he should be charged to the fullest extent,” he said. “But we have to remember that in law in the United States it is innocent until proven guilty.”
McMurray has called for a recount, stating that “the will of the voters must be heard,” according to The Buffalo News.
Democrat incumbent Brian Higgins will maintain his House seat with a 46 percent lead over Republican Renee Zeno.
New York elected Letitia James as New York’s attorney general in the midterm. James is New York’s first woman to hold the seat, the first black person to serve as attorney general and the first black woman with a seat in statewide office, according to The New York Times.
Locally, Republican incumbent Mickey Kearns and Democrat Angela Marinucci are still battling it out for County Clerk. As of Wednesday, there are 19,000 absentee ballots unaccounted for countywide, but Kearn’s victory margin is about 5,600 votes.
Max Kalnitz and Jacklyn Walters are news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacklyn Walters is a senior communication major and The Spectrum's managing editor. She enjoys bringing up politics at the dinner table and seeing dogs on campus.