Capitalizing on voter rage, Republican candidates in the Plains region swept all but six of more than 25 Congressional races. GOP and tea-party-backed candidates booted three Democratic House incumbents and secured two formerly Democrat-held open seats, including one in the Senate.
Republicans stole both Democrat-held Senate and House seats up for grabs in North Dakota. Gov. John Hoeven (R) easily won the seat of retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan (D), defeating Democratic state Sen. Tracy Potter. Hoeven took three-quarters of the vote.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), a Blue Dog Democrat, was unseated by his Republican challenger, former state Majority Leader Rick Berg, in a close race. The race was considered a tossup between two veteran politicians with high name recognition in the state. It’s the first time in 30 years that North Dakotans have elected a Republican to the House.
The GOP swept all five Congressional races in Kansas on Tuesday.
Considering Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since the Great Depression, it was no surprise that the open seat of Republican Sen. Sam Brownback (who was elected governor) went to the GOP candidate, Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran’s open seat, as well as that of Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who had challenged Moran in the Republican primary for the Senate seat, stayed red. Tim Huelskamp will replace Moran, and Mike Pompeo will replace Tiahrt.
In addition, state Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) won retiring Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore’s open seat, beating Democratic candidate Stephene Moore, 59 percent to 38 percent.
In Missouri, six of the nine House races were won by Republicans. The open seat of retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R), once thought to be an interesting race between the two biggest names in Missouri politics, turned into a bust. Republican Rep. Roy Blunt handily defeated Democrat Robin Carnahan.
Democrats had an even tougher loss when Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.) — who was projected to hang on for his 18th term — lost to tea-party-backed former state Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R). Skelton was among a handful of veteran Democrats who had defied previous attempts at ouster by the GOP but were removed Tuesday.
Nebraska, not surprisingly, also stayed red, with 60 percent to 71 percent of voters checking the Republican candidate boxes in each district. GOP Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry and Adrian Smith will return to Washington, D.C.
In South Dakota, Republican Sen. John Thune, who will most likely run for president in 2012, retained his seat after Democrats were unable to find a challenger to brave the ballot. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a Blue Dog Democrat, was unseated by tea-party-backed state Rep. Kristi Noem (R), despite Herseth Sandlin’s fiscally conservative leanings. Herseth Sandlin, who had more than 67 percent of the vote in 2008, lost by about 2 points.