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US Election Could Change Political Landscape

US Election Could Change Political Landscape
US Election Could Change Political Landscape

Analysts say voters could give minority Republicans control of at least one chamber of Congress in the November 2 midterm election. They will decide which party controls all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate.  Some states will also elect governors and decide other ballot measures.

It was a campaign of tension.  Sometimes too much. And sharp words for the president, even from his own party.

"He [the president] can take his endorsement and shove it," one candidate said.

But others welcomed the White House.

Opinion polls predict the majority party in the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate, will switch from Democrat to Republican.  

"We're facing a third straight angry electorate," said Reid Wilson, with National Journal Hotline.

Voter discontent

Some analysts say voters think government is too big, the economy too bad. They blame the Obama administration for fixating on health care.  

"Yes, health care is 17 percent of the American economy," noted the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato,
"but to the American public, it seems like they were taking their minds off the ball of economic recovery, to focus on an issue that was secondary."

Those beliefs helped to spawn the grassroots Tea Party movement: anti-healthcare, anti-high taxes, anti-big government.  Tea party candidates, running as Republicans, are challenging the status quo.  

Contested seats

Current balance of power in US House of Representatives and Senate
Current balance of power in US House of Representatives and Senate

Sharron Angle of Nevada is in a tight race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Some voters hold Reid responsible for Nevada's high jobless and foreclosure rates.

In the small eastern state of Delaware, Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell upset a nine-term U.S. Representative to claim the Republican nomination for Senate. She also added to the entertaining cauldron that makes up American politics with a campaign ad meant to offset her admission she once dabbled in sorcery.

"I am not a witch," O'Donnell told voters.

Neither is her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, but he, not she, is expected to conjure the votes to win the seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden.

In Kentucky, Senate candidate Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, is in a tight race with his Democratic rival Jack Conway.

Palin influence

And in Alaska, former governor Sarah Palin had this to say:

"We got to send Joe Miller to the United States Senate."

Former Republican vice presidential candidate  Palin came out for Tea Party-endorsed candidate Joe Miller.  He beat incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski in the primary, and now Murkowski is running as a write-in candidate.

"Here you have the potential of a third party within Congress," said Michael Franc of the conservative Heritage Foundation.  "Republicans will have to find a way to absorb all that energy and passion into their caucus and their conference so they can effectively govern as a majority."

A pick up of at least 39 seats will make the Republicans the majority in the House.  And 10 additional seats in the Senate, lets Republicans rule Capitol Hill.  That would spell gridlock for the lone Democrat still in power: President Barack Obama.

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Daniel Schearf
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