Setback for Obama as Republicans take control

2014-11-05 12:58

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Washington – Republicans cruised to victory in US midterm elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress in a stinging setback for President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.

The Republicans’ victory is likely to ensure a fractious co-existence in the last two years of Obama’s presidency.

The Republicans padded their control of the House of Representatives by at least 12 seats, and in the big prize of yesterday’s midterm election they retook the Senate.

The Democratic implosion put the Republicans in position to shape if not dictate the congressional agenda, and their priorities are likely to focus on the economy.

The Republicans rode a wave of voter frustration with Washington incumbents and unpopular policies of the Obama administration to claim total congressional control for the first time since 2006.

The new legislature will take power in January.

The new Republican margin of control in the House with a cushion of at least 12 seats takes them close to achieving or surpassing their largest majority of the post-World War II era.

They will go from having 45 to at least 52 seats in the 100-member Senate.

Republicans also cleaned up in key governors’ races, earning re-election in Florida, Wisconsin and Kansas and stunning Democrats by winning governorships in Democratic strongholds Maryland and Massachusetts.

But of the 36 governors’ races, probably the most painful for Obama was Illinois, where Republican Bruce Rauner ousted Democrat Pat Quinn in the president’s home state.

Democrats had worked feverishly to draw voters to the polls in a last-gasp effort, but it was not enough to halt the Republican juggernaut.

With no legislative base in Congress, Obama will struggle to pass any reforms in the final stretch of his mandate, and his opponents will be able to thwart his appointments to judicial and official posts.

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