A resurgent Republican Party is basking in the afterglow of its best midterm electoral showing in 16 years. Republicans scored a huge majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, pared the Democratic majority in the Senate, and captured a slew of governorships across the nation.
Two years after American voters gave Democrats the White House and the party's biggest legislative majorities in a generation, they forcefully reversed course and handed a significant chunk of power back to Republicans. With the nation mired in economic doldrums, high unemployment, and soaring national debt, an angry and anxious electorate dealt Democrats a stern rebuke.
House Republican Leader John Boehner is expected to become the chamber's next speaker -- and the man President Barack Obama will have to work with to get legislation passed beginning next year. Addressing jubilant supporters, Boehner took stock of America's new governing reality.
"While our new majority will serve as your voice in our people's house, we must remember, it's the president who sets the agenda for our government," Boehner said. "The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight, and that message is, 'change course.'"
Republicans will have a commanding House majority of well over 40 seats.
Democrats keep Senate majority
Democrats fared better the Senate, where they will retain a slim majority. Among the Democratic survivors in Tuesday's balloting was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who made a plea for pragmatism over ideology in the new Congress.
"We have a different Senate than we had before," Reid noted. "But I think it is time we started working together. That is what progress is all about -- not from the far-left, not from the far-right. We have to work together to build a consensus and move this country along."
Reid spoke on NBC's Today program.
GOP gains in Obama's home state
Republican pick-ups in the Senate include President Obama's former seat in Illinois.
Among Republican victors are several high-profile adherents of the so-called 'Tea Party' movement that sprung up after Mr. Obama entered office. As a group, Tea Partiers profess an almost single-minded determination to cut government spending and limit taxation. Many Tea Party candidates wrestled nominations away from well-known establishment Republicans, and have repeatedly pledged to place their ideals over party loyalty.
Late Tuesday, President Obama telephoned Republican Leader Boehner to congratulate him on his win. He promised to work to find common ground with Republicans, who have pledged to halt, reverse, or block virtually all of the president's major initiatives.
Mr. Obama is to hold a news conference later in the day.
House of Representatives
Note: Vertical line represents number needed for majority (218).
Note: Vertical line represents number needed for majority (51).