US MID- TERM ELECTIONS
What: US Mid-Term Elections
When: November 3, 1998
In the 1998 United States mid-term elections, all 435 seats of the House of Representatives were voted upon, as well 34 of the 100 Senate positions and 36 of 50 state governorships. The Democratic Party gained five seats in the House, two governorships, and held its own in the Senate. However, despite these gains, the Republicans remained in control of both the House and the Senate. The Democratic Party was able to accomplish the often difficult task of winning seats in a mid-term election while holding the White House. For this reason these elections were seen as a gain for the Democrats even though they did not win the majority in either the House or the Senate.
Unlike in other election years, no single national issue was pivotal in determining elections. Instead, the sex and perjury scandal surrounding President Clinton played a major role in election results.
In Depth Look at Election '98:
What were some important races?
In the House (among many),
Illinois (17th District): Mark Baker (R)
Lane Evans (D) -elected
Ohio (1st District): Steve Chabot (R) -elected
Roxanne Qualls (D)
Wisconsin (1st District): Paul Ryan (R) -elected
Lydia Spottswood (D)
In the Senate,
California: Matt Fong (R)
Barbara Boxer (D) -elected
New York: Al D'Amato (R)
Charles Schumer (D) -elected
North Carolina: Lauch Faircloth (R)
John Edwards (D) -elected
California: Dan Lungren (R)
Gray Davis (D) -elected
Minnesota: Norm Coleman (R)
Hubert Humphrey III (D)
Jesse 'the body' Ventura (IND) -elected
Texas: George W. Bush (R) -elected
Garry Mauro (D)
What campaign strategies were used by the Democratic and Republican
The scandal and the issues:
Both parties highlighted the sex and perjury scandal surrounding President Clinton, but for different reasons. On the one hand, the Republicans' anti-Clinton campaign questioned the Clinton's and the Democratic Party's worthiness to lead the nation. On the other hand, the Democrats hoped to entice voters who had grown weary of the scandal. Additionally, unlike the Republicans, Democrats presented a unified agenda on such issues as HMO reforms, education, teen smoking, and campaign finance charges.
In the final days before elections, the Republicans, and to a lesser extent the Democrats, unleashed TV ad campaigns to mobilize voters. Each party recognized that the key to winning close election races was to get more supporters to vote on election day.
What were the results of the elections?
In the House, the Republicans remained with 223 seats (down from 228) while the Democrats increased their number of seats from 206 to 211. In the Senate, of the 34 seats decided, the Republicans had 16 wins and the Democrats 18. However, the seat balanced remained unchanged as the Republicans kept 55 seats and the Democrats 45.
What was the voter turnout?
Voter turnout was the lowest since 1942 with approximately 38% of all eligible voters participating. In some races, minority voters, that is African American and Latino voters, played an important role in determining elections.
Major lessons of this election?
Faced with their losses, the Republicans acknowledged that they had focused excessively on the impeachment controversy and not on the Republican agenda. These losses underscore the problems of a party without a clear agenda on important issues.
Some Key Terms:
mid-term elections: elections held in the middle of the President's four year reign in office
GOP: Grand Ol' Party, that is, the Republican Party
incumbent: occupying a specific office (i.e.. the incumbent governor from Illinois)