By CHRISTIAN MORRISON
The 2018 midterm elections consisted of several highly competitive races, which resulted in a shift in power in the legislative branch and a record number of voter turnout. According to CBS News, these elections drew out a record number of 113 million voters nationwide, making this midterm the only election to ever exceed 100 million voters.
These voters, encouraged by politicians from both sides of the aisle to express support or disapproval of the country’s current Republican direction in national and international policies, used these elections to send a mixed message to both parties. Although the Democrats managed to win a majority in Congress, Republicans still remain in control of the Senate and have actually gained a seat.
The Democrats in these elections gained control of Congress by flipping 33 seats in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Republicans only managed to flip three seats: two came from Minnesota’s first and eighth house districts and one from Pennsylvania’s fourteenth house district.
With the Democrats taking Congress, concerns have arisen over various topics. Republicans are worried about a sudden increase in investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible Russian collision and other Trump administration officials. “There needs to be aggressive oversight of this administration,” said Jim Kessler, who is the senior vice president for policy at Third Way, reaffirming the GOP’s fears.
Republicans are also now actively calling for bipartisanship so that legislative progress does not grind to a standstill. “I think the message is, figure out what you can do together and do it,” said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. It is yet to be seen how well the bipartisanship can coexist
While Democrats have taken control of the House, Republicans have held onto control of the Senate, gaining one additional seat in the progress. Mike Braun of Indiana beat out Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, Josh Hawley of Missouri took away Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota won one of his state’s Senate seat from Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
Democrats also won control of two traditionally Republican Senate seats. Kyrsten Sinema would win control of an Arizona Senate seat by defeating Republican nominee Martha McSally in an extremely close race. Jacky Rosen would also gain a Nevada Senate seat from Republican incumbent Dean Heller.
As of this moment, several races are still being determined. In Florida, Rick Scott and Bill Nelson’s Senate race is still continuing on as votes continue to be counted. However, Rick Scott has challenged the validity of some of the newly discovered votes in polling stations, starting a legal challenge that sought to seize ballots and machines from Broward County. This request was denied by Judge Jack Tuter, and Bill Nelson has called for his opponent to recuse himself from the recounting process.
Mississippi will have a special Senate election on Nov. 27, 2018, that will pit Democrat Mike Espy, a former Agriculture Secretary, against Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. This election will not determine control of the Senate, but can possibly reduce the number of Republican votes in the Senate in the event of a Democratic victory.
Overall, these midterm elections have resulted in a significant redistribution of power within the Legislative branch. The effects of this shift in power will be determined as the new Representatives and Senators take their posts on Jan. 3, 2019.