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Obama's Celebration Tempered By Divided Congress

Nandini Ruparel |
November 6, 2012 | 8:40 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Democrats failed Tuesday to capture the 25 seats needed to get back a majority in the House of Representatives, though they did hold onto enough seats in the Senate to retain a majority in the upper house.

President Barack Obama now enters a second term with at least two more years of a divided Congress that is bound to try to stifle attempts by Obama to achieve immigration reform, legislate climate change or reduce the federal deficit through a grand bargain.

Two House of Representatives seats went to Independents, in Vermont and Maine.

Although 62 of the seats did not have incumbents, Democrats were still unable to capture a majority. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi encouraged people to go out and vote further, but projected results still were in favor of Republicans. John Boehner was also re-elected to his position.

"Blue Dog" Democrats, or a group of Democrats from the South who campaign as more conservative than their usual party constituents, are shrinking, losing many incumbents to Republican candidates.

"We're headed for the most polarized Congress in history," said David Wasserman, the House analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "Blue Dogs are shrinking and the tea party continues to grow."

Before this election, Republicans held the House 242-193. Only about 60 of the races were truly competitive. 

The Senate has remained within the control of Democrats. Hotly contested and widely followed seats stayed relatively the same. Dick Mourdock, who called rape a "gift from God", lost; Todd Akin (Republican) who was under fire for his "legitimate rape" comment lost as well; and Elizabeth Warren (Democratic) defeated the incumbent Republican in Massachusetts.  In Wisconsin, the first openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin was elected. Only 33 of 100 seats were voted on in this election.

As such, the Obama will likely be dealing with a gridlock between the two Congressional bodies. 


Reach Staff Reporter Nandini Ruparel here.



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