United States general elections, 2006

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The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial legislatures and many state and local races. The final result was a turnover of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Exit polls indicated that, the majority of Americans who voted in the midterm elections disapproved of the war in Iraq and was a major factor in the resulting Democratic gains. The other major issue according to exit polls was corruption in the poltical proccess, which was endemic in the previous GOP controlled 109th Congress.

Contents

Summary of results

The Democratic Party won a majority of the state governorships and the U.S. House and Senate seats each for the first time since 1994, an election-year commonly known as the "Republican Revolution". For the first time in the history of the United States, no Democratic incumbent lost, nor did Republicans capture any open House, Senate, or Gubernatorial seat previously held by a Democrat.

Democrats took a 233-202 advantage in the House of Representatives, and a 51-49 advantage in the United States Senate. The Senate figure includes two candidates who ran as independent candidates: one who pledged to align with Democrats and another who lost the Democratic primary but won the general election as an independent promising to caucus with the Democrats. The final Senate result was decided when Democrat James Webb was declared the winner in Virginia against incumbent George Allen. On November 9, 2006, Allen and fellow Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns (Mont.) both conceded defeat, ceding control of the Senate to the Democrats.

The election made Nancy Pelosi (D-California) the first-ever female and first-ever Californian Speaker of the House and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) the first Mormon Senate Majority Leader. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) became the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) became the first Buddhists in a United States governing body. Seven states banned recognition of same-sex marriage, while Arizona became the first state to reject such a ballot initiative. South Dakota rejected a ban on abortion under almost any circumstances, which was intended to overturn federal constitutional abortion-rights nationwide by setting up a strong test case that proponents hoped would lead to the overruling of Roe v. Wade.

Some of the House and Senate seats lost by the Republicans were originally won by them in the Republican Revolution of 1994. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Congressmen Charlie Bass (R-New Hampshire), John Hostettler (R-Indiana), Gil Gutknecht (R-Minnesota), and J.D. Hayworth (R-Arizona) all were elected in Democratic held seats in the 1994 elections and defeated in 2006. The Democrats also won back the Kansas 2nd and Ohio 18th, both lost to them in 1994. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-New York), also a member of the Republican "Class of 1994," was defeated.

Federal results

The Democrats gained six Senate seats by defeating Republican senators in the states of Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The Democrats secured a 51-49 majority in the Senate (Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Senator-elect Bernie Sanders of Vermont are Independents who likely will vote with Democrats on caucus issues). For the first time since the midterm elections of 1994, the Democratic Party gained control of both houses of the United States Congress.

United States House of Representatives

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were up for election.

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Summary of the November 7, 2006 U.S. House election results:
Party Seats Popular Vote
2004 2006 +/−  % Vote  % +/−
Democratic Party 202 233 +31 53.6% 39,673,226 52.0% +5.4%
Republican Party 232 202 −30 46.4% 34,748,277 45.6%