• Home «
  • Battle for the 113th Congress and in the States

Battle for the 113th Congress and in the States
U.S. Senate  |  U.S. House (plus Reapportionment and Redistricting)  |  Governors 

In 2012 Republicans looked to solidify and expand the historic gains they made in the 2010 mid-term elections, while Democrats hoped to reverse those gains and achieve some of their own.  The race for money and the role of outside groups had a significant impact on many races.  In some races, President Obama or Mitt Romney had coattails or proved a drag to candidates of their respective parties.  When the votes were tallied, the elections resulted in pretty much the status quo in terms of party control.  Despite early optimism, Republicans failed to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate, but they did hold on to the majority in the U.S. House and picked up one governorship.  There were mixed results in the state legislatures.

U.S. Senate: Democrats were defending 21 seats and there were the two seats held by Independents who tended to align with the Democrats, compared to just ten seats for the Republicans.  There were ten open seats due to retirements.  Democrats were defending six of those and the Lieberman (I) seat; Republicans were defending three open seats.  Republicans had high hopes of winning a majority in the Senate, but Democrats held all their open seats but one (Nebraska) and actually managed to pick up seats in Indiana and Massachusetts; additionally the Maine seat was won by an Independent.  The balance at the opening of the 113th Congress was 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents.
Post-Nov. 6 developments:
SC: On Dec. 6, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) surprised just about everyone when he announced he would resign effective Jan. 1, 2013 to become president of the Heritage Foundation; Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced on Dec. 17 that she would appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R) to the position.  He was sworn in on Jan. 3 and will face a special election in 2014.
HI: On Dec. 17, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), elected to a ninth term in 2010, died; Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) announced on Dec. 26 his selection of Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) for the position.  He was sworn in on Dec. 27 and will face a special election in 2014.
On Dec. 21, President Obama announced he would nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as Secretary of State; Kerry was confirmed on Jan. 29, 2013 and on Jan. 30 Gov. Deval Patrick (D) appointed William "Mo" Cowan to fill in until a special election is held (on Jan. 28, MA Sec. of State William Galvin announced the dates as April 30 for the primary and June 25 for the general election).

U.S. House: Two major themes for House races were Republicans' need to defend the 87 freshmen members they gained in the Nov. 2010 mid-term elections, and changes due to reapportionment and redistricting.  Ten states lost seats; and eight states gained seats.  The changes forced some members into new districts, produced a number of incumbent vs. incumbent races and prompted more retirements than in a typical year.  When all the votes were tallied, Republicans held a somewhat diminished majority, as Democrats picked up eight seats, short of the 25 they had been aiming for.  The balance was trimmed to 234 Republicans to 201 Democrats. 
Post-Nov. 6 developments:
LA-3: Rep. Charles Boustany (R) defeated Rep. Jeff Landry (R) in a Dec. 8 runoff.
IL-3: Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) was re-elected but announced his resignation on Nov. 21, leaving a vacancy.  This is a strongly Democratic district; Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly (D) wonspecial election primary held on Feb. 26 and is heavliy favored in the general election on April 9.
MO-8: On Dec. 3 Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) announced she would resign in Feb. 2013; she resigned on Jan. 22, 2013.
SC-1: On Jan. 2 Rep. Tim Scott (R) resigned.  The primary was held on March 19, a Republican runnoff on April 2 and the general election is May 7.
Presaging 2012, four races in 2011 resulted in no change of party control.  The effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) in Wisconsin opened the 2012 governors' races; Walker retained his seat in a June 5, 2012 vote.  On Nov. 6, 2012 gubernatorial elections took place in 11 states.  Democrats held eight of these (one was term limited and two retirements) and Republicans three (one term limited).  Republicans won in North Carolina, increasing their numbers to 30 governorships.  There were also elections in Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

State Legislatures: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, heading into the Nov. 6 elections, Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislatures in 26 states, Democrats controled both chambers in 15 states, and the balance was split in eight states (plus Nebraska is unicameral).  The NCSL reported that Democrats gained about 150 seats and took back seven chambers they lost in 2010, while Republicans gained four chambers, taking the balance to 26 legislatures controlled by Republicans, 19 by Democrats and four split (+).

Ballot Measures: According to Ballotpedia there were 176 statewide ballot measures on Nov. 6, 2012 ballots in 38 states.  Voters weighed in on such issues as taxes, abortion, marriage, immigration and gaming (1, 2
, 3).