As Democrats limped away from a defeat in bruising mid-term elections, Republican Marco Rubio warned jubilant Republicans against strutting. "We make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party," Rubio said after winning his Senate race in Florida. "What they are is a second chance-a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not long ago." Republicans longing for a second chance weren't disappointed: The GOP reclaimed a majority in the House of Representatives by winning more than 60 seats held by Democrats, the party's largest sweep of House races since 1938. Democrats retained control of the Senate, but their majority narrowed: Republicans gained at least six seats, including the spots of liberal mainstays like Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.
GOP wins stretched across every region of the country, reflecting widespread voter angst against Democrats. But winning isn't everything: Now Republicans have to deliver-a formidable task for Republican senators still in the minority, and for presumed Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his crop of political newcomers.
Who are these new faces? What will drive them in Congress? Here's a look at some of the future legislators set to arrive on Capitol Hill next month.
Ron Johnson | Wisconsin
Last spring, Ron Johnson was a 55-year-old president of a plastics company in Oshkosh, Wis. Then the healthcare overhaul passed. So, on May 17, Johnson found himself announcing that he was taking on three-term Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold. "The passage of Obamacare, that was just kind of the straw that broke the camel's back from my standpoint," Johnson said, "and I thought I just couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer." Few gave Johnson much of a chance. After all, Wisconsin hasn't had a Republican senator since 1992 and Johnson had never run for public office. But Johnson spent more than $8 million of his own money in the race, and it will be the once virtually unknown Johnson, not Feingold, who goes to Congress in January. Johnson will bring with him to Washington 31 years of accounting and manufacturing experience. He says a top goal is to cap federal spending and to stop the remaining $165 billion in stimulus funds from being spent. But his ultimate goal is what started him on this road less than six months ago: repealing Obamacare.
Kelly Ayotte | New Hampshire
With her victory in New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte proved that a young conservative female could indeed win a statewide election in a moderate state. Ayotte, 42, quietly maintained a steady lead in a New England state despite her support of the sanctity of marriage and her persistent criticisms of the new healthcare law. A former New Hampshire attorney general, Ayotte replaces the retiring Sen. Judd Gregg. As a senator, she is expected to be a fighter for pro-life issues. While attorney general, Ayotte appealed a lower court ruling that overturned a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion. She personally argued the case before the Supreme Court over the objections of the state's incoming Democratic governor. Ayotte, the wife of an Iraq War veteran and mother of two, favors term limits and vows to serve no more than two terms in office. A national Republican Party looking to broaden its appeal among women and independent voters will likely embrace her.
John Boozman | Arkansas
When Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., transfers to the U.S. Senate in January, he'll bear a notable distinction: Boozman is set to become only the second Republican senator from Arkansas since the 1870s. The congressman unseated Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, whose support for Obama's healthcare legislation proved toxic. Boozman-a House member since 2001-voted against the healthcare overhaul. The optometrist who owns his own business said that combination helped drive his votes against costly legislation that weakens healthcare and burdens small business owners. Most expect Boozman to promote fiscal conservatism in the Senate, but they'll also watch his promises: Boozman-who sponsored $30 million worth of earmarks last year-says he'll join a GOP moratorium on pork-barrel spending. Though Boozman emphasized fiscal discipline in his Senate campaign, his House voting record also reveals a conservative stance on social issues. The congressman supported the partial-birth-abortion ban and opposed federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. He also opposes same-sex marriage and recently voted against a veterans' bill because it included a repeal of the military's ban on openly gay troops.
Pat Toomey | Pennsylvania
Republican Pat Toomey offered this summary of his freemarket, smallgovernment views while running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania: "France might be a nice place to visit, but I don't want to be France." The message resonated with Pennsylvanians: Toomey won the seat that Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter vacates in January. (Specter-a Republican until last year-lost his primary battle to Rep. Joe Sestak.) Few doubt that Toomey will drive a hard line on fiscal conservatism. The former president of the limited-government group Club for Growth vigorously supports cutting taxes and federal regulations. On social issues, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Toomey's run, noting the former congressman's pro-life voting record. But pro-life advocates will watch Toomey's votes on any future Supreme Court justices. The senator-elect said last year that he would have voted for confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, saying that "objective qualifications should matter more than ideology in the judicial confirmation process." Sotomayor testified during her confirmation hearings that Roe v. Wade is settled precedent.
Mike Lee | Utah
The Republican Party establishment did not start taking the Tea Party seriously until it took out one of their own: Bob Bennett, Utah's three-term senator, finished third last May in his state's GOP convention. Now attorney Mike Lee, just 39, heads to Washington in his place. Lee promises to take Tea Party priorities straight to the Senate chamber. His goals for his first two years include passing a balanced budget and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget every year. He also pledges to first defund, then repeal Obamacare. While Bennett brought home the federal bacon, Lee opposes earmarks, describing them as the "holy sacrament of big government." Saying it shouldn't be considered outlandish to want to get the nation's fiscal house in order, Lee has suggested an immediate 40 percent cut in federal spending and has argued that a government shutdown may be "absolutely necessary." Despite being a Tea Party star, Lee is not really new to Washington: His father served as solicitor general under President Reagan, and Lee himself worked for a D.C.-based law firm and once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Steve Southerland | Florida-02
Steve Southerland is making the unusual jump from funeral director to congressman, representing Florida's 2nd District. Southerland retired seven-term Blue Dog Democrat Allen Boyd, even though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district. The National Rifle Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the incumbent Boyd, but his votes for the stimulus and the final healthcare reform bill riled voters. Southerland, whose family is also involved in local timber and stone industries, campaigned on fiscal restraint based on his experience as a businessman. He will be leaving the Panama City funeral home his grandfather started in 1955. He and his wife Susan have four daughters and attend a Southern Baptist church in Panama City.
Stephen Fincher | Tennessee-08
When Tennessee's John Tanner, one of Congress' original Blue Dog conservative Democrats, announced last December that he would retire after 11 terms in the House, few thought his seat would change parties. After all, Republicans have held what is now called the state's 8th Congressional District for a total of just six years since 1875. But enter a farmer and gospel singer named Stephen Fincher from Frog Jump, Tenn. A political novice, Fincher, 37, rode an "it's time to plough Congress" campaign slogan to victory in this northwest Tennessee district. "My roots run deep in Tennessee, not politics," says Fincher, who plays bass guitar and sings with family members in a band that has performed in more than 500 churches over the last decade. He even admitted during the campaign to a gathering at a local community college that he'd never been to Washington until December, when he spoke to about 100 Republican congressmen. "I stood and I said, 'Can I be honest?' and they said, 'Yes, sir,' and I said, 'I don't like it up here,' and they said, 'If you keep it that way, you'll be the best congressman we've ever had.'" Fincher could also be a sign that Southern white Democrats like Tanner may be an endangered political species.
Cedric Richmond | Louisiana-02
One of the few Democrats to wrest a seat from a sitting Republican, Cedric Richmond beat out Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao in Louisiana's heavily Democratic 2nd District, which encompasses New Orleans and some of its suburbs. In 2008 Cao was the first Republican to win that seat in over a century, so Democrats felt certain they could win it back. Richmond, 37, who became the youngest state representative when he was elected 10 years ago, had tied Cao to Republicans, highlighting Cao's votes against the stimulus and the healthcare overhaul. Cao voted with Democrats more than any other House Republican, but Richmond is likely to be a reliable party-line vote. He had issues in his own background, including an arrest in a bar fight, two ethics violations, and a temporary suspension of his law license-but in 2008 he ran in the primary against then-Rep. William Jefferson, the Democrat who was found guilty of corruption, and that boosted his credibility as someone concerned with integrity in politics. Richmond is not married.
Mike Pompeo | Kansas-04
In Kansas' 4th District, businessman Mike Pompeo, 46, will replace Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who is retiring after losing in the Republican Senate primary to Rep. Jerry Moran. Pompeo is the head of a Wichita oil company. He has raised money and campaigned for Republicans previously, and has business ties to the Koch brothers, billionaires who support Republicans. A West Point graduate, Pompeo also attended Harvard Law School where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He later joined Thayer Aerospace as a business partner and is currently CEO of Sentry International, which manufactures oilfield equipment. Pompeo describes himself as a "committed economic conservative" and as pro-life. He was at one time a candidate for the state party's chairman because politicos believed he could bring together the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party. He has a wife, Susan, and one son, Nicholas. Competing in a historically Republican district, Pompeo easily defeated Democrat Raj Goyle.
Tim Huelskamp | Kansas-01
Farmer and state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, 41, will replace Republican Rep. Jerry Moran, who won the seat of retiring Sen. Sam Brownback, in Kansas' 1st District. Huelskamp, raised in Kansas, runs a farm that his grandparents started in 1925 even as he has served in the state Senate since 1997. One of the state legislature's most conservative members, he has opposed even his GOP leaders in the state Senate on spending issues. Huelskamp is Catholic and pro-life, and with his wife Angela counseled women in crisis pregnancies in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1990s when he was working on his Ph.D. at American University. The couple now has four adopted children, two of them from Haiti. Huelskamp, in a solidly Republican district, had no trouble beating Democrat Alan Jilka.
Tim Scott | South Carolina-01
To become the first black Republican in Congress in seven years, Tim Scott first had to defeat an iconic name in South Carolina's politics. Scott, with Tea Party support, unseated the son of late Sen. Strom Thurmond in the GOP primary before going on to win the House seat for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. The elder Thurmond ran for president on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948. Now Scott will become just the sixth black Republican in Congress since the start of the 20th century. He likely will be a star in the GOP's efforts to attract minority voters. A 45-year-old state legislator and insurance agent, Scott will represent a district that cuts through portions of Charleston-where the Civil War began. But Scott seems more interested in curtailing the federal government's reach than he does in playing race politics. "Business creates jobs when government gets out of the way," he says.
Nan Hayworth | New York-19
During a debate with her Democratic opponent, Nan Hayworth said she decided to run for New York's 19th Congressional District after the 2008 election, when she worried that the government "would crush the enterprise and the commerce, would impede the business that is the lifeblood of our prosperity." President Bill Clinton stumped for the district's incumbent John Hall, but Hayworth pulled ahead in a swing district that went for Barack Obama in the last presidential election. Hayworth is a political newcomer who spent her professional life running an ophthalmology business and working as vice president for a healthcare advertising agency. Named one of NRCC's Young Guns and endorsed by the Club for Growth, Hayworth decries government spending, says cap-and-trade is a "bad idea," and supports a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. She says she would vote to repeal the healthcare overhaul and, in the meantime, work to "depower and defund it and replace it with a plan that works." Her conservatism does not extend to social issues, however: Hayworth supports legal abortion.
Cory Gardner | Colorado-04
A native Coloradan, Cory Gardner opposed Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Betsy Markey on a platform of lower spending and less regulation. Gardner has a law degree and has worked in politics both as an aide and as a state legislator since 2005. In a Q&A with the Colorado newspaper Daily Camera, Gardner named "wasteful, out-of-control spending" as the most pressing issue facing the country. Gardner advocates a balanced budget amendment and cutting non-defense discretionary spending to pre-2009 levels. In its endorsement of Gardner, the Denver Post said he was "far more animated by fiscal issues than . . . divisive social issues." Gardner downplayed his commitment to social causes during the campaign-he declined to answer when The New York Times asked him about abortion-but as a state legislator he supported the Colorado ballot initiative that would define "personhood" to include embryos and sponsored legislation that would ban abortion except to preserve the life of the mother. Pro-abortion groups like EMILY's List spent heavily to defeat him.
Steve Chabot | Ohio-01
When Steve Chabot heads to Washington, D.C., in January, he'll know how to pack: The Ohio Republican served in the House for 14 years before a Democratic challenger ousted him in 2008. This year, Chabot ousted the ouster, re-taking the seat he lost to incumbent Democrat Steve Driehaus. The Democrat had painted Chabot as a Washington insider, but Chabot reminded voters of his conservative voting record and his 1993 Buick. His voting record included opposition to TARP funds and the auto bailout, and a consistent pro-life position. Chabot said after losing his reelection bid to Driehaus in 2008, he thought he would re-open his law firm and remain a private citizen. But Congress' passage of the $787 billion stimulus bill prompted Chabot to reconsider, especially after he watched Driehaus vote "yea."
Adam Kinzinger | Illinois-11
When Adam Kinzinger was growing up, his siblings called him "Mr. Mayor" because of his early interest in politics. The Republican won a spot on a county school board when he was 20. Kinzinger never became mayor of his native Bloomington, Ill., but the 32-year-old has deftly leapfrogged to a higher office: U.S. congressman. Kinzinger defeated Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a landslide winner in 2008. During his campaign, Kinzinger emphasized fiscal conservatism and fostering an economic environment that encourages growth for small business. The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List endorsed his candidacy. Kinzinger didn't mention social issues on his campaign website, but he did outline policy for Iraq and Afghanistan. He advocates increasing troop levels and refraining from publicizing a date for U.S. withdrawal. Kinzinger's interest in foreign policy comes by experience: The U.S. Air Force captain has deployed to Iraq three times.
WORLD profiled some of the newly elected senators and congressmen during the campaign season, including:
Marco Rubio of Florida ("The challenger's challenge," Aug. 14), Dan Benishek of Michigan, Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, and Scott Rigell of Virginia ("Rookie season," Sept. 25).
See WORLD's interactive national map for complete election results from across the country.
The so-called Rust Belt in the Midwest turned a deep shade of red on Election Day: The GOP recaptured the majority of the nation's governors' seats, including a number of posts in Midwest and industrial states. The victories are a boon for Republicans seeking an advantage in next year's redistricting process for congressional seats, and a bellwether for presidential politics in the swing states that comprise the politically coveted region.
Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine touted the national implications of Republican John Kasich's win over incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio: "Today we kicked down Obama's firewall." Republicans clinched governors' victories in other Midwest and industrial states held by Democrats, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Iowa. In another swing state, Republican Rick Scott-a Tea Party favorite-narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the race for Florida governor.
Outside the Midwest, a trio of Republican women became their states' first female governors: Mary Fallin took Oklahoma and Susan Martinez won New Mexico. In South Carolina, Nikki Haley prevailed in a state that has never had a governor who wasn't a white male. Haley is also set to become the nation's second Indian-American governor.
Democrats did hold governors' seats in some key states, including Massachusetts and Colorado. The party also picked up Republican seats in at least two states: Hawaii and California. In California, Democrat Jerry Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman after the GOP candidate spent $148 million of her personal fortune on the race.
States also decided on a bevy of high-profile ballot measures: Voters in California said no to legalizing the retail sale and possession of marijuana. Oklahomans voted to make English the state's official language. The state also approved measures prohibiting courts from considering Islamic law when deciding cases, and prohibiting laws that require citizens to purchase health insurance. In Colorado, voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have declared "personhood" for unborn children.