I have no doubt you are already aware the Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate on November 4, securing at least 52 of 100 Senate seats. I wanted to give you a full rundown of the election results (as of this writing) and their impact on us.
Senate Republicans picked up seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, giving them at least a 52 seat majority. Three races (Alaska, Louisiana, and Virginia) have yet to be decided, with Louisiana going to a runoff on December 6th and pundits already saying that incumbent Democrat Landreiu will likely lose.
Republican Dan Sullivan is currently leading in Alaska, with 60% of the vote counted and Democrat Mark Warner is leading in Virginia in a surprisingly tight race against Ed Gillespie. Republicans in tight races were able to stave off significant challenges in Georgia, Kansas, and Kentucky. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, Senator Mitch McConnell will become the new Senate Majority Leader in 2015.
Republicans in the House have picked up at least 12 seats, with the GOP currently holding 243 seats to the Democrats' 174. Fourteen races have yet to be determined, and Republicans are leading in six of them. This will likely cement John Boehner's power for the foreseeable future. Just in case you were wondering, the largest margin the Republicans have held in the House was 270 seats during the 1928 session.
Republicans did well on the state level as well, netting at least three governor's races with victories in Illinois and Arkansas, and surprising upsets in Maryland and Massachusetts, giving Republicans at least 31 seats. The Democrats picked up the governor's mansion in Pennsylvania. Republicans held off challengers in key races including Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, and Texas. Three races are still too close to call with Democrats leading in Colorado and Connecticut and an independent leading in Alaska. Vermont's legislature will determine the winner of the governor's race, as neither candidate was able to get to 50% needed for victory, with incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin likely to win the seat.
At the state legislature level it will take some time to get a clear picture of which party will control each chamber. Of the 99 legislative chambers nationally, 87 held elections yesterday, with Republicans controlling 57 and Democrats controlling 41. As of this morning Republicans were able to flip control of 7 chambers to their control, including the Minnesota House, Nevada House, New Hampshire House, West Virginia House, New Mexico House, New York Senate, and Nevada Senate. The West Virginia Senate went from Democrat control to an even split. Five chambers are still too close to call, with Democrats controlling four and Republicans controlling one before the election.
At this point Republicans have trifectas (controlling the Governor's office and both legislative chambers) in 23 states, losing the trifecta in Pennsylvania, with three still to be decided. Democrats lost trifectas in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and West Virginia.
What does this all mean for Convention of States? It means we need to strike while the iron is hot and redouble our efforts to secure Article V applications in 34 states in 2015. While the elections put new people into office, the results tell us the American people are dissatisfied with their government, and they want meaningful change. Fox News exit polling shows that:
1. Congressional still hovers around 13%, with Obama at 41%.
2. 49% of respondents feel their children's generation will be worse off than their generation.
3. 78% of voters are concerned about the direction of the economy, with 70% saying the state of the current economy is not good.
4. 78% said they do not trust the government, with 79% saying that they cannot trust Washington to do what is right.
5. Realizing they handed Republicans power in Congress, 60% still said they are dissatisfied with Republican leadership.
So, while there is a shift in Washington, people are still not happy with the federal government. Only a Convention of States will allow the people to take back the power the Founders intended them to have all along.
Scott Russell is the Executive Director for the Convention of States Project.