By Wyatt Behringer, Contributing Writer ||
Last Tuesday, voters across America headed to the polls and voted in the 2014 midterm elections. The Republican Party increased its majority in the House of Representatives, gained a majority in the Senate, and won state governorships throughout the country.
The Senate now consists of 52 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and two Independents, with Republicans gaining seven seats and losing none, according to Politico.com’s article, “2014 Senate Election Results.” Elections in Louisiana and Alaska have yet to be determined — runoff elections will take place in December — but experts predict that the Republicans will win in both states.
In the House, Republicans further secured their majority, gaining 15 seats and losing three; in contrast, the Democrats gained three seats while losing fifteen. The House now consists of 243 Republicans and 181 Democrats, according to Politico.com’s article, “2014 House Election Results,” with some election results still being determined.
Notably, there are now 100 women in Congress; however, out of its 535 members, women are still a significant minority.
“It’s hard to say; it could be the sixth year itch, the reaction to an unpopular President in his sixth year,” said Terry Madonna, director of the F&M College Poll and the Center for Politics and Public Affairs, addressing whether or not the midterm results reflect a national shift to the political right. “But it’s also the anger and angst the voters feel towards political and governmental institutions.”
Madonna explained that some Republican gubernatorial victories come as a shock, particularly in states that historically vote for Democrats, such as in
Massachusetts, Illinois, and
Despite national losses, Democrats won in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, with voters taking to the polls to elect Tom Wolf as their new Governor — the only Democratic governorship won in the 2014 Midterm Elections. Many attribute Wolf’s victory to his promises to keep
education at the forefront of his agenda as governor.
According to the article from Politico.com, “2014 Governor Election Results,” Wolf ousted Tom Corbett (R), Pennsylvania’s incumbent governor, winning 54.5 percent of votes cast, while Corbett received 45.1 percent. This marks the first time that an incumbent governor has lost re-election in Pennsylvania since the two-term limit was set.
Locally, in Lancaster, Joe Pitts (R), incumbent congressman, won reelection with 57.8 percent of the vote with Tom Houghton (D) trailing behind with 42.2 percent. Pitts will be returning as the representative of the 16th Congressional District, where he has been serving since 1997. This will be his ninth consecutive term in the House.
According to the Lancaster County Board of Elections, Lancaster City’s 9th Ward 4th Precinct — otherwise known as the voting center at the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center (ASFC) — hosted 401 votes. Of those votes, 69 were for Pitts and 330 were for Houghton.
Nicole Hoover ’09, co-chair of the F&M Votes Coalition, says that one can assume the great majority of votes cast at the ASFC were by F&M students.
The F&M Votes Coalition is an organization composed of students, staff and faculty that encourages voter registration and increased civic involvement, as well as educating the F&M community on current issues and candidates.
Some measures F&M Votes Coalition took to ensure greater turnout included conducting in-class voter registration drives, tabling at the Campus Activity Fair with voter registration information, and, on election day, holding an “F&M Votes Headquarters” in the Steinman College Center (SCC) to make sure students were informed and answered any voting questions so that students could cast their ballots with certainty.
The next major national election will be the 2016 presidential election, which will also involve a number of congressional and state-level elections.
First-year Wyatt Behringer is a contributing writer. His email is email@example.com.