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Republican Revolution: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term can also refer to the 1911 Xinhai Revolution that led to the establishment of the Republic of China.

The Republican Revolution or Revolution of '94 is what the Republican Party of the United States dubbed their success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections,[1] which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate. The day after the election, Democratic Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican.

The gains in seats in the mid-term election resulted in the Republicans gaining control of both the House and the Senate in January 1995. Republicans had not held the majority in the House for forty years, since the 83rd Congress (elected in 1952) under Republican Speaker Joseph William Martin, Jr.

Large Republican gains were made in state houses as well when the GOP picked up twelve gubernatorial seats and 472 legislative seats. In so doing, it took control of 20 state legislatures from the Democrats. Prior to this, Republicans had not held the majority of governorships since 1972. In addition, this was the first time in 50 years that the GOP controlled a majority of state legislatures.

Discontent against the Democrats was foreshadowed by a string of elections after 1992, including the capture of the mayoralties of New York and Los Angeles by the Republicans in 1993. In that same year, Christine Todd Whitman captured the New Jersey governorship from the Democrats and Bret Schundler became the mayor of overwhelmingly Democratic Jersey City. Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison took a senate seat from the Democrats in Texas. Republican Ron Lewis picked up a congressional seat from Democrats in Kentucky in May 1994.


Notable freshmen of 1994

The 1994 elections ushered in a great number of Republican freshmen. For example, of the 230 Republican House members of the 104th Congress, almost a third (73; 32%) were new to the House.[2] In the Senate, 11 of 54 (20%) Republicans were freshmen.[2]

Many current leaders in the Republican Party and other notables were first elected to national or state office as part of the Republican Revolution:

  • George W. Bush - Bush defeated incumbent Texas Governor Ann Richards, a Democrat. He was re-elected as Governor in 1998, and elected to the presidency of the United States in 2000 and in 2004.
  • John Shadegg - Former chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, Shadegg was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Arizona's fourth district, replacing Republican Jon Kyl, who was elected to the Senate in 1994 to replace retiring Democrat Dennis DeConcini. Shadegg is the only member of the 1994 freshman class currently in the House Republican leadership.
  • Saxby Chambliss - Now the Senior Senator from Georgia, Chambliss was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Georgia's eighth district, replacing retiring Democrat J. Roy Rowland.
  • Sam Brownback - Now the Senior Senator from Kansas, Brownback was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Kansas' second district, replacing Democrat Jim Slattery, who was running for Governor.
  • Robert Ehrlich - The Former Governor of Maryland, Ehrlich was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Maryland's second district, replacing retiring Republican Helen Delich Bentley. Ran for re-election for Governor in 2006, defeated.
  • John Ensign - Now the junior Senator from Nevada, Ensign was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Nevada's first district, defeating three-term incumbent Democrat James Bilbray.
  • George Pataki - Pataki was elected Governor of New York in 1994, defeating three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo. He was the longest-serving Governor in the United States when he decided not to run for reelection in 2006.
  • Tom Coburn - Now the Junior Senator from Oklahoma, Coburn was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Oklahoma's second district, replacing Democrat Mike Synar (who was defeated in the Democratic primary). Coburn's Senate companion, James Inhofe, was first elected to the Senate in 1994, replacing resigned Democrat David L. Boren.
  • Joe Scarborough - Now the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, Scarborough was first elected to the House in 1994 to represent Florida's first district. Scarborough served in the House for three terms before retiring.
  • Fred Thompson - Thompson was elected to finish the remaining two years of Al Gore's unexpired Senate term. Thompson went on to win the 1996 Senate election. He chose not to seek another term in 2002 and was a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.


When the 104th United States Congress convened in January 1995, House Republicans voted former Minority Whip Newt Gingrich – the chief architect of their victory and author of the Contract with AmericaSpeaker of the House, while the new senatorial Republican majority chose Bob Dole, previously Minority Leader, as Majority Leader. With their newfound power, Republicans pursued an ambitious agenda but were often forced to compromise with President Clinton, who wielded veto power.

The 1994 election also marked the end of the Conservative Coalition, a bipartisan coalition of conservative Republicans and Democrats (often referred to as "boll weevil Democrats" for their association with the U.S. South), which had often managed to control Congressional outcomes since the New Deal era.

Subsequent events

In the 1996, 1998, and 2000 elections, Republicans lost Congressional seats but still retained control of the House and, more narrowly, the Senate. After the 2000 election, the Senate was divided evenly between the parties, with Republicans retaining the right to organize the Senate due to the election of Dick Cheney as Vice President and ex officio presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate shifted to control by the Democrats (though they technically were the plurality party as they were one short of a majority) after GOP senator Jim Jeffords changed party registration to "Independent" in June 2001, but later returned to Republican control after the November 2002 elections. In the 2006 elections, Democrats won both the House of Representatives (233 Democrats, 202 Republicans) and the Senate (49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 2 Independents caucusing with the Democrats) as well as the majority of state governorships (28-22).


  1. ^ Republican Revolution Fades
  2. ^ a b Amer, Mildred (2005-06-16). "Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913-2005". CRS Report for Congress (The Library of Congress): 1–6. Retrieved 2008-05-08.  


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