2014 Midterm Elections Reflect State And Nationwide Changes

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The midterm elections were held on Nov. 4, 2014. Although not a major presidential election, this election determined which political party would have control of the Senate for the next two years.

In order to have a majority in the Senate, 51 out of the 100 seats needed to be filled by one political party. The Republican Party was able to obtain 52 seats, beating out the Democratic Party, which was able to fill 46 seats. Two still are too close to call or have a runoff scheduled.

With a Republican majority in the Senate, Democrat President Barack Obama will have a hard time trying to stick to his political agenda, according to APU political science professor Abbylin Sellers.

“With President Obama in the last two years of his second term as a lame-duck president, it will be difficult for him to have the remainder of his agenda sail through Congress,” Sellers said.

Among the Republicans elected to Congress is 30-year-old Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever to be elected. The Republican will represent New York’s 21st District.

“She has political experience at her young age,” Sellers said. “Perhaps this will encourage younger people to pay more attention to the political scene, and perhaps consider getting involved in politics in general whether it is at the federal, state or local level.”

Along with Congressional elections, various states also had different measures on the ballot. Notably, Colorado and North Dakota each had a measure that would legally define an unborn child as a person. The measure did not pass in either state.

On the other hand, voters in three areas have passed a measure that would allow the legal use of recreational marijuana. Alaska, Washington, D.C., and Oregon join Colorado and Washington state in allowing citizens to possess cannabis for personal use.

As for California, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown beat Republican Neel Kashkari and was re-elected. When it came to Congress, Republican Doug La Malfa beat Democrat Heidi Hall for a seat in the House of Representatives from the 1st District.

Among the measures that passed were California’s Proposition 1, which called for water storage reform, as well as Proposition 2, that amended the state budget laws.

“I’m really glad that California voters were able to unite together to try to relieve the drought,” junior communication studies major Jacova Snyder said. “Hopefully, this means that APU can have a green front lawn soon.”

Voters did not pass Proposition 45, which would have required the insurance commissioner to approve all health care rate increases. Proposition 46 also did not pass, which would have required doctors to undergo various drug and alcohol testing.

Sophomore biology major Gabriel Martin was surprised when he found out that Proposition 46 did not pass.

“I would definitely want my doctor to be held accountable if he made a mistake while under the influence of anything. And if they weren’t, I would just want those tests done so that I can have some sort of piece of mind,” Martin said.

Proposition 47 was passed, which will lower the charge of drug possession for recreational use from a felony to misdemeanor. Voters did not pass Proposition 48, which was a referendum that allowed the construction of another Indian casino.

The next major election is in 2016, which will mark the end of President Barack Obama’s time in office and voters will have a chance to elect a new president.

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