Democratic US Senator Hillary
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton are cheered by
supporters after her acceptance speech at the New York State midterm
election night celebration in New York November 7, 2006.
Washington - Resurgent Democrats swept toward control of the House and
grabbed Republican Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Rhode Island on
Tuesday in elections shaped by an unpopular war in Iraq and scandal at home.
Aided by public dissatisfaction with President Bush, Democrats won
gubernatorial races in New York, Ohio and Massachusetts for the first time in
more than a decade, then put Colorado and Arkansas in their column as well.
monitored the returns from the White House as the voters picked a new Congress
certain to complicate his final two years in office. He arranged to call
Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California -- in line to become the first
woman House speaker in history -- on Wednesday morning, then hold an
afternoon news conference.
"They have not gone the way he would have liked," press secretary Tony Snow
said of the election returns.
Charlie Crist was a rare bright spot for Republicans, winning the Florida
governorship now held by the president's brother Jeb, and Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger won a new term in California, the nation's most populous state.
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But that was cold comfort for the Republicans, who have controlled the White
House and both houses of Congress for most of the time since Bush took office.
By 11 p.m. EST in the East, Democrats had picked up 19 House seats now in
Republican hands, in all regions of the country. They needed 15 to end a long
turn in the minority, and a final result would depend on dozens of races yet
Indiana was particularly cruel to House Republicans. Reps. John Hostettler,
Chris Chocola and Mike Sodrel all lost in a state where Republican Gov. Mitch
Daniels' unpopularity compounded the dissatisfaction with Bush.
Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson lost in her bid for a 13th term in Connecticut;
Anne Northup fell in Kentucky after 10 years in the House; and Rep. Charles
Taylor was defeated in North Carolina.
Scandal took its undeniable toll. Democrat Zack Space won the race to succeed
Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty to corruption this fall in the Jack Abramoff
scandal. Republican Rep. John Sweeney lost his seat in New York several days
after reports that he had roughed up his wife, an allegation she denied.
Rep. Don Sherwood lost despite apologizing to the voters for a long-term
affair with a much younger woman; and Rep. Curt Weldon, also from Pennsylvania,
was denied a new term after he became embroiled in a corruption investigation.
Surveys of voters suggested Democrats were winning the support of
independents with almost 60 percent support, and middle-class voters were
leaving Republicans behind.
About six in 10 voters said they disapproved of the way Bush is handling his
job, that the nation is on the wrong track and that they oppose the war in Iraq.
Voters in all groups were more inclined to vote for Democratic candidates than
Over half of the voters registered dissatisfaction with the way Republican
leaders in Congress dealt with former Florida Rep. Mark Foley and his sexually
explicit computer messages to teenage pages. They voted overwhelming Democratic
in House races, by a margin of 3-to-1.
The surveys were taken by The Associated Press and the networks.
History worked against the GOP, too. Since World War II, the party in control
of the White House has lost an average 31 House seats and six Senate seats in
the second midterm election of a president's tenure in office.