To the surprise of few, Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night in a stunning wave, surpassing even the predictions made by a plethora of polling professionals. It’s hard to see the results of Tuesday night’s elections and not see a welt on the bum of President Obama, though Democrat strategists, such as FoxNews’ Juan Williams, refuse to admit that the string of defeats (and not just on the U.S. Senate level) was a message from the voters to the Commander-in-Chief.
Here are our Top Ten Surprises of the Midterms, as well as what those races mean for the future of the country and the GOP.
1. Kay Hagan* vs. Thom Tillis, U.S. Senate Race, N.C.: Tillis by 2%
Spin: In a race that saw polls slightly favoring Kay Hagan up to the finish, this race was a surprise in our column. We expected the race to be close, but the polls closed showing that Kay Hagan’s last second attempts to separate herself from the failed policies of President Obama were futile.
2. Mark Warner* vs. Ed Gillespie, U.S. Senate Race, Va.: Warner by <1%
Spin: I think it’s safe to say that almost no one saw this coming. In a race that saw double-digit leads for Senator Warner essentially from the start, the fact that this race was separated by a mere 12,000 votes is a huge shocker. While Warner holds on narrowly, this race could signal large issues for Democrats and their polling efforts heading into the next election cycle.
3. Joni Ernst vs. Bruce Braley, U.S. Senate Race, Iowa: Ernst by 8%
Spin: Ernst covered the spread on her race, beating the pre-election prediction of a 5-7 percentage point advantage. Most importantly, this victory for the GOP gives solid-purple Iowa two very red Senators, and interesting development as the 2016 Presidential election cycle approaches, leaving Democrats with no existing major ambassadors in Congress to help kickstart any efforts in Iowa. (Hint for Michelle Obama: When you stump for a candidate, you should say their name correctly.)
4. Scott Walker* vs. Mary Burke, Gubernatorial Race, Wisc.: Walker by 5%
Spin: It seems as though Scott Walker is invincible, surviving three elections in a very short amount of time…in a very blue state like Wisconsin. This should remind the GOP that Scott Walker is a very viable candidate that can obviously win elections in a challenging area, against a very active opposition.
Spin: Hispanic pundit SooperMexican reminds us that this is the first time Coloradans have ever chosen a white Gardner. Jokes aside, this race also busted the barrier of pre-election predictions, surging young Rep. Gardner into the U.S. Senate, and also giving subtly hinting at the deep discord in the State of Colorado.
6. Mark Pryor* vs. Tom Cotton, U.S. Senate Race, Ark.: Cotton by 18%
Spin: This was probably one of the bigger surprises of the night — not the Cotton victory, but the sheer volume of votes by which he emerged victorious. Pre-election polls put this race anywhere between 6-9 percentage points in Cotton’s favor, but the final results showed that Arkansas’s voters were far less happy with Sen. Pryor’s support of Obamacare than he was hoping for.
7. Pat Quinn* vs. Bruce Rauner, Gubernatorial Race, Ill.: Rauner by 5%
Spin: Illinois has been marred with the poor policies of the Democrats for a long time, and Tuesday’s race for Governor was a referendum on both the insane level of taxation on individuals and businesses, as well as the continuous weight of a $45 billion budget deficit. Nonetheless, we were surprised to see Rauner defeat Quinn, let alone by five percentage points.
8. Greg Abbott vs. Wendy Davis, Gubernatorial Race, Texas: Abbott by 20%
Spin: This race, and the margin at which Gov.-Elect Abbott prevails, signals the end of the War on Women rhetoric that has been used and abused by the left for far too long. Even though Texas is a deep red state, historically, Abbott’s margin over Wendy Davis was bigger than we expected, and should certainly deflate the balloons of feminists hoping to make a splash in this cycle.
9. Nick Rahall* vs. Evan Jenkins, House District 3, W. Virginia.: Jenkins by 10%
Spin: In a race that got very little attention, incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia was soundly defeated by his opposition in what echoes the major and sudden shift in the voting expectations of energy-driven West Virginia. What was once a solid blue state has quickly become a haven for Republicans. West Virginians also sent female Republican State Rep. Shelley Moore Capito to the U.S. Senate tonight.
10. Mark Begich* vs. Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senate Race, Alaska: Sullivan by 5%
Spin: Alaska has historically always been such a difficult projection to make, in part due to the geography, but also in part to the wild independent streak that Alaskans take pride in. While Dan Sullivan’s resume certainly shows him to be well-suited for this job (he has served both as Alaska’s Attorney General and also the Commissioner of Natural Resources…and he’s a veteran), perhaps the overlooked indirect benefit to Alaska is that the Republican’s victories on Tuesday likely put Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, at the helm of the very powerful Energy and Natural Resources Committee, possibly applying pressure (finally) on President Obama on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline and the need for domestic drilling. Note: The final votes on this race have not been completed; this is an estimation based on consistent date from the evening.
Aside from the excitement generated by the major wins by conservatives in the Senate and House, as well as gubernatorial races across America, Harry Reid’s upcoming bus ride to irrelevancy just makes us giggle with excitement.
Please feel free to leave your comments below. To write directly to Editor-in-Chief Zachary Freeman, please click here.
* – indicates an incumbent candidate