2002 Election Summary
For the first time since 1934, the party controlling the White House did not lose seats in the midterm election of the President’s first term. Before President Bush and the 2002 elections, only Franklin Roosevelt had accomplished this feat. Now, Republicans will control the House, Senate and White House. Although the reasons behind this unexpected result will not be fully understood for some time, many credit the post-September 11 environment, the popularity of President Bush (he enjoys the highest midterm approval ratings of any President since Dwight Eisenhower), the lack of a coherent national Democratic message, and the unprecedented campaigning engaged in by President Bush on behalf of Republican candidates as the deciding factors. Whatever the reasons, President Bush will now have much greater leverage to pursue his agenda. Republicans will argue the 2002 election gives them a mandate. Democrats will counter that now the President has no excuses if his policies fail.
U. S. Senate
Less than 18 months after Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) switched parties giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans recaptured the majority in the 2002 elections. Republicans are now assured of at least a 51-49 advantage in the Senate. This margin could grow if Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) loses a runoff election on December 7.
Despite the Republican takeover, the Senate will not suddenly become a rubber stamp for the policies of the White House or the House of Representatives. While Republicans will control the agenda and the committees in the Senate, the reality is that 60 votes are required to override a filibuster on the floor (one Senator can block legislation unless 60 Senators vote to end debate). Regardless of which party is in control, operating with less than 60 votes is a dicey proposition at best. Even with 60 votes, the rules and culture of the Senate have historically made passage of bills more difficult than in the House of Representatives. However, even without 60 votes, the Republicans will now control House-Senate Conference Committees, so their party will have a significant impact on the final legislative products. Additionally, 60 votes are not required for most budget related legislation, which is protected under the Budget Act. Therefore, the House, Senate and President are likely to agree on a budget (as they did two years ago before Senator Jeffords left the GOP) and the budget process is likely to move more smoothly. Future budgets can be expected to emphasize less taxation and spending.
The shift in the Senate has dramatic implications for the President’s agenda. This includes the creation of a Department of Homeland Security and terrorism reinsurance during the lame-duck (post-election) session this year, an economic stimulus package, possible tax cuts and/or tax reform and a prescription drug benefit next year. In addition, the President is now guaranteed to secure floor votes on most of his judicial nominees. Once and future Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has stated his agenda will include legislation creating a Department of Homeland Security, a budget resolution (none was passed in the Senate for fiscal year 2003), pension and welfare reform, making the tax cut permanent, tax relief, an energy bill and port security legislation.
Newly Elected Senators
Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former Governor, U.S. Secretary of Education and Presidential candidate, defeated former House member Bob Clement (D-TN) for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN).
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), former House member, defeated incumbent Senator Max Cleland (D-GA).
Norm Coleman (R-MN), former Mayor of St. Paul, defeated former Vice President, Senator and presidential candidate Walter Mondale for the Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), who died in a plane crash while campaigning for reelection.
John Cornyn (R-TX), former state Attorney General, defeated former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX).
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), former Secretary of Transportation and Labor and wife of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), defeated former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former House member, defeated former College of Charleston President Alex Sanders for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC).
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), former Senator, replaced incumbent Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) on the ballot and defeated Republican businessman Doug Forrester.
Mark Pryor (D-AR), former state Attorney General and son of former Senator David Pryor (D-AR), defeated incumbent Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR).
John Sununu (R-NH), former House member and son of former Governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, defeated Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) in the Republican primary and then defeated former Governor Jeanne Shaheen in the general election.
Jim Talent (R-MO), former House member and candidate for Governor, defeated incumbent Senator Jean Carnahan (D-MO), who was appointed to the Senate vacancy created in 2000 when her husband, Governor Mel Carnahan, died in a plane crash while campaigning, but still defeated incumbent Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO).
Current Minority Leader Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) will once again become Majority Leader and current Majority Leader Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) will become Minority Leader. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) replaced term limited Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) as Republican (Majority) Whip while Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to remain as Democratic (Minority) Whip. Senator George Allen (R-VA) will succeed Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) as Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Senator Daschle is expected to appoint Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) to replace Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Murray will step down because she is up for reelection in 2004.
Due to Senate Republican rules limiting committee chairmen to three two-year terms, several prospective chairmen will have to vacate their posts in two years - at the end of the 108th Congress. A few senior Republican Senators have their pick of different committees:
Chairman - Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Ranking Member – Senator Harkin (D-IA)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) is likely to become Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Chairman - Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Ranking Member- Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Note: Because Senator Stevens is term limited as Chairman of Appropriations, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) is expected to take over in the 109th Congress.
Chairman - Senator John Warner (R-VA)
Ranking Member - Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
Note: Senator Warner is term limited as Chair of Armed Services and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) could succeed Senator Warner in 2005 during the 109th Congress (Warner did not begin his Chairmanship at the beginning of the 106th Congress like many other chairmen – he took over from Senator Thurmond (R-SC) midway through the 106th).
Chairman – Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Ranking Member – Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) is retiring.
Chairman – Senator Don Nickles (R-OK)
Ranking Member – Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) has the option of spending another two years as Chairman, but will likely chair the Energy Committee.
Chairman – Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Ranking Member – Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC)
Note: Senator McCain is in line for Chairmanship of Armed Services in 2005 during the 109th Congress when term-limited Senator John Warner (R-VA) must step down as Chairman.
Chairman – Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Ranking Member – Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) was elected governor of Alaska. Senator Domenici (R-NM) has the option of resuming the chairmanship of the Budget Committee, but is likely to take the Energy Committee instead. If Senator Domenici does take the Budget Committee, Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) would take over the Energy Committee.
Environment and Public Works:
Chairman – Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Ranking Member – Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) was defeated in the Republican primary by John Sununu. Senator Warner (R-VA) is next in seniority, but will take Armed Services. However, Senator Warner is term limited as Armed Services chair and could assert his seniority on Environment and Public Works if he is forced to give up Armed Services in 2005 during the 109th Congress.
Chairman – Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Ranking Member – Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)
Chairman – Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Ranking Member – Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) is retiring.
Chairman – Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Ranking Member – Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) is retiring.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:
Chairman – Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Ranking Member – Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Chairman – Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)
Ranking Member – Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Chairman – Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Ranking Member – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Chairman – Undecided
Ranking Member – Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is poised to become the next Republican (Majority) Whip. It is unclear who would become Rules chairman because almost all current Republican members are likely to chair other committees or hold leadership positions. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is a possibility.
Chairman – Undecided
Ranking Member – Senator Bob Graham (D-FL)
Note: Current ranking member Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is in line to chair the Banking Committee, so it is unclear who will chair the Intelligence Committee.
Chairman – Senator Kit Bond (R-MO)
Ranking Member – Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
Chairman – Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Ranking Member – Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
U.S. House of Representatives
The Republicans increased their majority in the House from 223 to 227, with one race still undecided. Until 2002, the GOP had lost seats in each of the 1996, 1998 and, 2000 elections. The GOP was able to retain most of its vulnerable members, while it won many of the new seats created by redistricting.
On the Republican side, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) will retain his position in the 108th Congress. Current Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) will become the new Majority Leader. Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) will become the new Majority Whip. On the Democratic side, Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) announced on November 7 that he would not seek reelection to his leadership post. Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will replace him as head of the House Democratic leadership. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will become the new Minority Whip.
Chairman – Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX)
Ranking Member – Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-TX)
Note: The Committee is likely to be active on the Agriculture Department's implementation of the farm bill.
Chairman – Rep. Bill Young (R-FL)
Ranking Member – Rep. David Obey (D-WI)
Note: The Chairmen of the Interior Subcommittee and Energy and Water Subcommittee are retiring. This will create a scramble among current Subcommittee Chairmen to secure a more prestigious panel. Current District of Columbia Subcommittee Chairman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Military Construction Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R-OH), and Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Charles Taylor (R-NC) all are likely to seek promotions. Two new Subcommittee Chairmen or "Cardinals" also will be installed. Reps. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) are next in line in seniority. No changes are expected on the Democratic side.
Chairman – Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) (likely)
Ranking Member – Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Note: If selected as Chairman, some expect Rep. Hunter to seek increases in defense spending and push for the modernization of weapons systems.
Chairman – Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA)
Ranking Member – Rep. John Spratt (D-SC)
Note: This Committee's primary responsibility is producing an annual budget resolution. Republicans may use the budget resolution as the vehicle for additional tax cuts. Each party had one vacant seat on the Budget Committee before the election.
Education and the Workforce:
Chairman – Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
Ranking Member – Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Note: The Committee is likely to address safeguards for retirement savings plans, work rules for welfare recipients, reforms to student aid programs and the Head Start program. Republicans will have at least four vacancies and the Democrats at least three.
Energy and Commerce:
Chairman – Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
Ranking Member – Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)
Note: Rep. Tauzin may focus on consumer privacy, the advancement of high-definition television and broadband internet service, and an omnibus energy bill. The Democrats are likely to focus on energy conservation legislation. The Republicans and Democrats are likely to offer some type of prescription drug benefit plan and patient-rights legislation.
Chairman – Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH)
Ranking Member – Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) (likely)
Note: The Committee will focus on issues such as financial privacy, implementation of the new corporate fraud law and banking practices.
Chairman – Undecided
Ranking Member – Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Note: The three Republicans in contention for the gavel include: Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT), Tom Davis (R-VA), and Chris Cox (R-CA).
Chairman – Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
Ranking Member – Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Note: This committee has oversight over, among other things, House safety, the Government Printing Office, the Smithsonian Institution and construction of the new Capitol visitors' center.
Chairman – Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL)
Ranking Member – Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)
Note: The committee may focus on legislation authorizing assistance to Afghanistan, international HIV control, and to restructure U.S. broadcasting and exchange programs. Relations with North Korea and Iraq are sure to receive attention.
Chairman – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Ranking Member – Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Note: There will be several new Subcommittee chairmen.
Chairman – Undecided
Ranking Member – Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)
Note: The senior Republican on the committee is moderate Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ). GOP members from western states are likely to push for a more conservative chairman because the committee has oversight over federal lands and resources.
Chairman – Rep. David Dreier (R-CA)
Ranking Member – Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX)
Chairman – Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
Ranking Member – Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX)
Chairman – Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL)
Ranking Member – Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) (likely)
Note: This Committee drafts the annual intelligence authorization bill and oversees the intelligence community.
Chairman – Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Ranking Member – Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
Note: No major changes are expected on the Committee in terms of agenda or membership. The Committee is likely to continue to consider proposals to benefit businesses.
Transportation and Infrastructure:
Chairman – Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Ranking Member – Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN)
Note: The Committee will have a busy schedule during the 108th Congress. The committee will revisit the 1998 highway authorization law "TEA-21" and the 2000 Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill, and reauthorize Amtrak.
Chairman – Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Ranking Member – Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL)
Note: The Committee roster should stay the same as in the 107th Congress, as will the Committee's focus on increasing spending on veterans' health programs.
Ways and Means:
Chairman – Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA)
Ranking Member – Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Note: Republicans may attempt to make permanent the 2001 tax cuts, provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit and rewrite the 1996 welfare overhaul law. The Democrats' top priorities may include tax relief for lower-income families. Proposals for a prescription drug benefit also are likely to receive attention. The GOP prescription drug bill may provide the benefit through private insurers rather than through direct federal administration. There will be at least one Democratic vacancy to fill on the committee.
There were a total of 36 governorships in play during the 2002 elections and at least 18 of them saw a change in party control. The end result is a Democratic gain of one or two governorships (the Alabama results are not final). When the smoke clears, the Democrats will posses the governor's mansion in 24 or 25 states. Four new female governors were elected.
Both parties suffered unexpected losses. In Georgia, GOP state Senator Sonny Perdue defeated Democratic Governor Roy Barnes. Purdue will become the first Republican governor of Georgia since 1872. In Maryland, Congressman Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) beat Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, becoming the first Republican-elected governor in Maryland since Spiro Agnew in 1966. In Oklahoma, state Senator Brad Henry beat NFL Hall of Famer and former Congressman Steve Largent (R-OK).
Democratic Governor Donald Siegelman and GOP challenger Congressman Bob Riley (R-AL) have both claimed victory. The final result of this contest will not be known for several days.
Republican Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) was victorious. Alaska had not elected a Republican nominee as governor since 1978. Murkowski defeated Democratic Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer.
Democratic state Attorney General Janet Napolitano defeated former Republican Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ).
Republican Governor Mike Huckabee won a tight race against Democratic state Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher.
Democratic Governor Gray Davis won a second term by defeating Republican businessman Bill Simon.
Incumbent GOP Governor Bill Owens was reelected with 63 percent of the vote.
Republican incumbent John Rowland was victorious with 56 percent to the vote.
Governor Jeb Bush held Florida for the Republicans, fending off a challenge from attorney Bill McBride. The race received national attention in the wake of the 2000 presidential election.
Former Maui Mayor Linda Lingle, a Republican, defeated Democratic Lt. Governor Mazie Hirono.
GOP incumbent Governor Dirk Kempthorne was victorious with 56 percent of the vote.
Democratic Congressman Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) beat Attorney General Jim Ryan. The Democratic victory ends a 26-year GOP monopoly on the governorship.
Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack retained his office with 53 percent of the vote, overcoming a challenge from Republican lawyer Doug Gross.
Kansas state Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius easily defeated state Treasurer Tim Shallenburger. Sebelius becomes the first Democrat to win an open governor's race in the state since 1936.
Congressman John Baldacci (D-ME) defeated Republican challenger Peter Cianchette by 48 percent to 41 percent.
Former 2002 Winter Olympics chief Mitt Romney, a Republican, was victorious in this traditionally Democratic state by holding off a strong challenge from state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien.
Democratic Attorney General Jennifer Granholm beat Republican Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus.
GOP state Rep. Tim Pawlenty was victorious and will replace Governor Jesse Ventura.
Democrat Bill Richardson, a former Energy secretary in the Clinton administration, defeated Republican state Rep. John Sanchez.
Incumbent Republican Mike Johanns defeated Democratic businessman Stormy Dean, 69 percent to 27 percent.
Incumbent Republican Kenny Guinn defeated Democratic state Senator Joe Neal, 68 percent to 22 percent.
Republican businessman Craig Benson defeated Democratic state Senator Mark Fernald.
Governor George Pataki won a third term.
Republican incumbent Governor Bob Taft was re-elected with 58 percent of the vote.
Democrat Ted Kulongoski, a former state Supreme Court justice, nominee for Senate in 1980 and a gubernatorial nominee in 1982, won a close race.
Ed Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor and Democratic National Committee chairman, won a relatively easy victory. This was a key pick-up for the Democrats as jockeying begins for the 2004 presidential election.
Republican Don Carcieri defeated Democrat Myrth York, a former state senator.
Former Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) defeated Democratic Governor Jim Hodges.
Former GOP state Senate majority leader Mike Rounds defeated Democrat Jim Abbott. The Republicans have controlled the governor's mansion since 1979.
In a close race, Democrat Phil Bredesen defeated Congressman Van Hilleary (R-TN).
Governor Rick Perry won his first full term.
Republican Jim Douglas was victorious. Neither major party candidate received 50 percent of the vote as required by state law, however, Democrat Doug Racine, who trailed by 6,000 votes, conceded.
Democratic Attorney General Jim Doyle defeated Republican Governor Scott McCallum.
Former U.S. attorney Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, defeated Republican Eli Bebout, a former state representative.