For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Nov 11 2016
by Diana Pope

What You Need to Know About the Congressional Elections

By Diana Pope - Nov 11 2016

Donald Trump's victory was quite a unprecedented win for Republicans, but they fared equally as well in the congressional elections. This election season has been a monumental year for Republicans, and they have managed to gain clear wins in the House and Senate. Republicans now hold a majority in both the House and Senate so that Donald Trump will be able to turn his policy plans into law. Republicans currently hold 54 out of the 100 seats in the Senate, and 238 out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives. After the results of the election, Republicans will hold 51 seats in the Senate and 239 seats in the House.

In Arizona, Senator John McCain kept his seat and will begin his sixth term in Congress. He fended well against his Democratic rival, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. In Pennsylvania, Patrick J. Toomey gained a hard-fought win against his competitor, Democrat Katie McGinty. 

In Florida, Marco Rubio was able to maintain a stronghold over his state in the Congressional elections. House Speaker Paul Ryan also gained re-election, but it is unclear whether or not he will serve as Speaker of the House for the 115th Congress. In Wisconsin, Senator Ron Johnson held off his Democratic contender Russ Feingold by a tight margin. 

Even though Democrats have suffered crushing blows during this election season, there have been some victories for this party in the congressional elections. After a close race in New Hampshire, Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Kelly Ayotte, despite experts' predictions that Republicans would gain this contended seat. In Illinois, Democratic U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth defeated Mark Kirk in a narrow win. 

Although Hillary Clinton lost in the Presidential elections, minority women have gained historic victories in the Democratic party during the Congressional elections. Catherine Cortez Masto won in Nevada and will become the first Latina woman to serve in the Senate. Pramila Jayapal will be the first Indian woman to work in Congress, representing Washington. Illhan Omar, Kamala Harris and Stephany Murphy gained significant victories as well in the Congressional elections. 

All in all, the Republican Party have dominated this year's elections and will be on the road to heavily influencing public policy. Democrats have experienced hard losses this election cycle and hold no majority in the White House or Congress. This year's congressional election results have proved that the American political system is still largely unpredictable. Republicans will be the decision makers behind future reforms due to their massive victories this election season. 

Lead Image Credit: Jeremy Buckingham via Flickr Creative Commons

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Diana Pope - University of Tennessee Knoxville

Diana is a political science major who also enjoys journalism, history, and philosophy. She loves writing, researching, and debating about politics. In her free time, she enjoys Grey's anatomy marathons and reading detective fiction.

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