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United States general elections, 2010

United States general elections, 2010

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The 2010 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and 37 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 were contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races. The election occurred in the middle of Democratic President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's first term in office.

Approximately 82.5 million people voted. The Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 suffered major defeats in many national and state level elections, with many seats switching to Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 control. The Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections. The Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, expanding its minority, and also gained 680 seats in state legislative races, to break the previous majority record of 628 set by Democrats in the post-Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 elections of 1974. This left Republicans in control of 25 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.

Political analysts in October 2010 predicted sweeping Republican gains this election, but despite a reported "enthusiasm gap" between likely Republican and Democratic voters, turnout increased relative to the last U.S. midterm elections without any significant shift in voters' political identification. The swaying views of self-declared independent voters, however, were largely responsible for the shift from Democratic to Republican gains.

Issues



Candidates and voters in 2010 focused on national economic conditions and the economic policies of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats. Attention was paid to public anger over the Wall Street bailout
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Division A of , commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis...

 signed into law by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in late 2008. Voters were also motivated for and against the sweeping reforms of the health care system
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

 enacted by Democrats in 2010, as well as concerns over tax rates and record deficits. At the time of the election, unemployment was over 9%, and had not declined significantly since Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 had become President. Further eroding public trust in Congress were a series of scandals that saw Democratic Representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters
Maxine Waters
Maxine Waters is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 29th district, serving since 1991. She is a member of the Democratic Party....

, as well as Republican Senator John Ensign
John Ensign
John Eric Ensign is a former United States Senator from Nevada, serving from January 2001 until he resigned amid an investigation of an ethics violation in May 2011...

, all accused of unethical and/or illegal conduct in the months leading up to the 2010 election.

The fiscally-focused and quasi-libertarian Tea Party movement
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

 was a vocal force in mobilizing voters for Republican candidates nationwide. Their widespread exposure in the media contributed to the election's focus on economic, rather than social, issues. In the opinion of Fox News political analyst Dick Morris
Dick Morris
Dick Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant....

, a "fundamental change" occurred in which social issues did not dominate Republican activism in 2010, because "economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

 has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians."

Immigration reform had become an important issue in 2010, particularly following the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, officially known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The Act greatly enhanced the power of Arizona's law enforcement agencies to investigate the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants and to enforce state and national immigration laws. The Act also required immigrants to carry their immigration documentation on their person at all times. Its passage by a Republican-led legislature and its subsequent and very public signing by Jan Brewer
Jan Brewer
Janice Kay "Jan" Brewer is the 22nd and current Governor of the U.S. state of Arizona and a member of the Republican Party. She is the fourth woman, and third consecutive woman, to hold the office...

, the Republican Governor of Arizona, ignited protests across the Southwest and galvanized political opinion among both pro-immigration Latino groups and Tea Party activists, many of whom supported stronger measures to stem illegal immigration.

The passage of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

 also contributed to the low approval ratings of Congress, particularly Democrats, in the months leading up to the election. Many Republicans ran on a promise to repeal the law, and successfully beat incumbent Democratic opponents who had voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Senate elections



The 34 seats in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Class III
Classes of United States Senators
The three classes of United States Senators are currently made up of 33 or 34 Senate seats. The purpose of the classes is to determine which Senate seats will be up for election in a given year. The three groups are staggered so that one of them is up for election every two years.A senator's...

 were up for election. In addition, the Class II Senate seat in Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 currently held by Ted Kaufman
Ted Kaufman
Edward E. "Ted" Kaufman is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Delaware from 2009 to 2010. Since 2010, he has chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel in the United States federal government; he is the second person to hold that post, succeeding inaugural holder...

, the Class I Senate seat in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 currently held by Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand is an attorney and the junior United States Senator from the state of New York and a member of the Democratic Party...

, and the Class I seat in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 currently held by Carte Goodwin
Carte Goodwin
Carte Patrick Goodwin is an American politician and attorney who served as a United States Senator from West Virginia. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Goodwin was appointed by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin on July 16, 2010, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Robert Byrd. ...

 were contested in special elections
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 resulting from Joe Biden's 2008 election as Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 and Hillary Clinton's appointment to the Cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

 as U.S. Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 and their subsequent resignations from the Senate, as well as incumbent Senator Robert C. Byrd's death and the interim appointment of Goodwin to the Senate. A special election was also held for the Class I seat in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, as a result of the death of incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

. The election was held on January 19, 2010, resulting in Republican state senator Scott Brown
Scott Brown
Scott Brown is a United States senator.Scott Brown may also refer to:-Sportsmen:*Scott Brown , American college football coach of Kentucky State...

 winning the seat.

House of Representatives elections



All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 were up for election. Additionally, elections were held to select the delegates
Delegate (United States Congress)
A delegate to Congress is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives who is elected from a U.S. territory and from Washington, D.C. to a two-year term. While unable to vote in the full House, a non-voting delegate may vote in a House committee of which the delegate is a member...

 for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election was that of the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives elected by the voters of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico every four years...

, who serves a four-year term and will next face election in 2012
United States elections, 2012
The 2012 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The 57th quadrennial presidential election will be held on this date, coinciding with Senate elections where 33 races will occur, as well as House of Representatives elections to elect the members for the 113th Congress...

.

Gubernatorial elections



Thirty-six of the fifty United States governors were up for election. Elections were also held for the governorships of two U.S. territories. One state, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, had no campaign for governor but did feature a special election
By-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 for lieutenant governor
Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
The Office of Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana is the second highest state office in Louisiana. The current Lieutenant Governor is Jay Dardenne, a Republican...

. Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown
Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. is an American politician. Brown served as the 34th Governor of California , and is currently serving as the 39th California Governor...

, a longtime California politician who had been a prominent national political figure since the 1960's, was elected to a third, nonconsecutive term as Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

.

Other state-wide officer elections


In many states where the following positions are elected offices, voters elected state executive branch offices (including Lieutenant Governors
Lieutenant governor (United States)
In the United States, 43 of the 50 states have a separate, full-time office of lieutenant governor. In most cases, the lieutenant governor is the highest officer of state after the governor, standing in for that officer when he or she is absent from the state or temporarily incapacitated...

 (though some will be voted for on the same ticket as the gubernatorial nominee), Secretary of state
Secretary of State (U.S. state government)
Secretary of State is an official in the state governments of 47 of the 50 states of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions. In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, this official is called the Secretary of the Commonwealth...

, state Treasurer
State Treasurer
In the state governments of the United States, 49 of the 50 states have the executive position of treasurer. Texas abolished the position of Texas State Treasurer in 1996....

, state Auditor
State auditor
State auditors are executive officers of U.S. states who serve as auditors and comptrollers for state funds....

, state Attorney General
State Attorney General
The state attorney general in each of the 50 U.S. states and territories is the chief legal advisor to the state government and the state's chief law enforcement officer. In some states, the attorney general serves as the head of a state department of justice, with responsibilities similar to those...

, state Superintendent of Education, Commissioners of Insurance
Insurance commissioner
Insurance commissioner is an executive office in many U.S. states, some in the state cabinet. The office differs state by state:...

, Agriculture or, Labor, and etc.) and state judicial branch offices (seats on state Supreme Court
State supreme court
In the United States, the state supreme court is the highest state court in the state court system ....

s and, in some states, state appellate courts).

State legislative elections



All states except Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 held elections for their state legislatures. Republicans made substantial gains in state legislatures across the nation. Five state saw both chambers switch from Democrat to Republican majorities. Those five states switching to GOP control in both chambers were Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine (for the first time since 1964), North Carolina, and Alabama (where the Republicans won a majority for the first time in 136 years).

In addition, Republicans picked up single chambers in several states giving them control of both houses in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. They expanded majorities in both chambers in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. Republicans picked up one chamber from Democrats in Colorado, Oregon and New York to split control in those states. The massive Republican victories in legislative races would be widely expected to have a major impact on the redrawing of Congressional districts for the 2012 election cycle.

One of the few bright spots for Democrats was retaining their majorities in both the California and Illinois legislatures.

Local elections


Nationwide, various cities, counties, school boards, special districts and others elected officers in 2010.

Some of the high-profile mayoral elections included the following:
  • Honolulu
    Honolulu mayoral election, 2010
    The 2010 Honolulu special mayoral election was held on September 18, 2010. The election coincided with Hawaii's primary election. The winner of the election, Peter Carlisle, is filling the unexpired term of former Democratic Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who resigned on July 20, 2010 to run in...

    : Incumbent mayor Mufi Hannemann
    Mufi Hannemann
    Muliufi Francis "Mufi" Hannemann is an American politician. He is the former Mayor of Honolulu. Hannemann has served as a special assistant in Washington, D.C., with the Department of the Interior, where he was selected for a White House fellowship in the Reagan administration under Vice President...

     resigned on on July 20, 2010, to run for Governor of Hawaii
    Governor of Hawaii
    The Governor of Hawaii is the chief executive of the state of Hawaii and its various agencies and departments, as provided in the Hawaii State Constitution Article V, Sections 1 through 6. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state...

    . The city's Managing Director Kirk Caldwell
    Kirk Caldwell
    Kirk Caldwell is an American politician who was Acting Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu in 2010.-Life:Caldwell represented the 24th Representative District in the Hawaii State House of Representatives of the Hawaii State Legislature from 2002 to 2008, serving as the House Majority Leader...

     served as acting mayor until Peter Carlisle
    Peter Carlisle
    Peter Benson Carlisle is the current Mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii. He previously was the Prosecuting Attorney of Honolulu, from 1996 to 2010.-Life:...

     was elected in a special election on September 18.
  • Louisville, Kentucky
    Louisville mayoral election, 2010
    The 2010 mayoral election in Louisville Metro took place on November 2, 2010 alongside other federal, state and local elections.Incumbent Mayor Jerry Abramson was re-elected with 67% of the vote in 2006, after being elected to his first term with 74% of the vote in 2002...

    : Incumbent mayor Jerry Abramson declined to run for a third consecutive term in order to run for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
    Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
    The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency...

     in 2011. Greg Fischer
    Greg Fischer
    Gregory E. Fischer is a businessman and Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Louisville's Trinity High School and Vanderbilt University, entrepreneur, and community leader....

     was elected as the successor.
  • New Orleans
    New Orleans mayoral election, 2010
    The New Orleans mayoral election of 2010 is an election for Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana. The first round of voting took place on December 9 through December 11, 2009, and the election occurred on February 6, 2010...

    : Incumbent mayor Ray Nagin
    Ray Nagin
    Clarence Ray Nagin, Jr. is a former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Nagin gained international note in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the New Orleans area....

     was term-limited out of office. Mitch Landrieu
    Mitch Landrieu
    Mitchell Joseph "Mitch" Landrieu is the Mayor of New Orleans, former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, and a member of the Landrieu family. Landrieu is a member of the Democratic Party and a Roman Catholic. He is the son of former New Orleans mayor and Secretary of the United States Department of...

     was elected as the new mayor on February 6.
  • Washington, D.C
    Washington, D.C. mayoral election, 2010
    The Washington, D.C. mayoral election of 2010 took place on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. The primary elections occurred on September 14, 2010. Vincent Gray won the general election by a wide margin, although many voters wrote in incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, whom Gray defeated in the...

    : Incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty
    Adrian Fenty
    Adrian Malik Fenty was the sixth, and at age 36, the youngest, mayor of the District of Columbia. He served one term—from 2007 to 2011—losing his bid for reelection at the primary level to Democrat Vincent C. Gray...

     was defeated in the Democratic primary by Vincent C. Gray
    Vincent C. Gray
    Vincent C. Gray is an American politician who is currently serving as the seventh Mayor of the District of Columbia. Prior to his inauguration as mayor in January 2011, Gray served as Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, and as Councilmember for Ward 7...

    , who then went on to win the general election.

Further reading

  • Paul R. Abramson et al. Change and Continuity in the 2008 and 2010 Elections (2011)
  • Bullock, Charles S., et al. Key States, High Stakes: Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and the 2010 Elections (2011)
  • Sabato, Larry. Who Got in the Booth? A Look Back at the 2010 Elections (2011)


External links

  • 2010 Midterm Election Debates on C-SPAN
    C-SPAN
    C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

  • Wesleyan Media Project: 2010 Political Advertising Analysis at Wesleyan University
    Wesleyan University
    Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1831 and located in Middletown, Connecticut. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Wesleyan is the only Baccalaureate College in the nation that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and...


National newspapers
  • Elections 2010 at The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

  • Campaign 2010 at The Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...


National radio
National TV
  • 2010 Election at ABC News
    ABC News
    ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

  • Campaign 2010 on C-SPAN
    C-SPAN
    C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

  • Campaign 2010 at CBS News
    CBS News
    CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

  • Election Center at CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

  • Elections at Fox News
  • Decision 2010 at MSNBC
    MSNBC
    MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...