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Republican Revolution

The term can also refer to the 1911 Xinhai Revolution that led to the establishment of the Republic of China.
This article is part of a series about
Newt Gingrich

Speaker of the House

The Republican Revolution, Revolution of '94 or Gingrich Revolution refers to the Republican Party (GOP) 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.

Rather than campaigning independently in each district, Republican candidates chose to rally behind a single national program and message fronted by Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich. They alleged Clinton was not the New Democrat he claimed he was during his 1992 campaign, but was a "tax and spend" liberal. The Republicans offered an alternative to Clinton's policies in the form of the Contract with America.[2]

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).

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 first Republican mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey that had been held by the Democratic Party since 1917.

Republican 1993 Virginia Governor election. Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison took a U.S. Senate seat from the Democrats in the 1993 special election. Republicans Frank Lucas and Ron Lewis picked up two congressional seats from Democrats in Oklahoma and Kentucky in May 1994.


  • Ramifications 1
  • Subsequent events 2
  • Pickups 3
    • Senate 3.1
    • House of Representatives 3.2
    • Governorships 3.3
  • See Also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


When the 104th United States Congress convened in January 1995, House Republicans voted former Minority Whip Newt Gingrich – the chief author of the Contract with America – to become Speaker 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 Democratic President Bill 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).

In 2010, Republicans won back control of the House in the 2010 elections. The Senate, however, remained with the Democrats (51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and 2 Independents caucusing with the Democrats). Republicans also won a majority of state governorships and state legislatures. The congressional elections of 2012 brought no change of control in either the House or Senate.

In an upheaval strongly reminiscent of the 1994 elections, the 2014 midterms increased the Republican majority in the House to its largest level since 1928, and gave them control in the Senate once again. These two new houses combined resulted in the Republicans' largest majority in Congress overall since 1928. In addition, the Republican gains in gubernatorial, state, and local elections resulted in a total of 31 Republican governors, an increase from 57 to 67 state houses under Republican control, and, overall, the largest Republican majority in the entire country since 1928, as well as the smallest amount of state houses under Democratic control since 1860.[3][4][5]


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 were new to the House.[6] In the Senate, 11 of 54 (20%) Republicans were freshmen.[6]


Name State Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Jon Kyl Arizona Dennis DeConcini Retired
Olympia Snowe Maine George Mitchell Retired
Spencer Abraham Michigan Don Riegle Retired
John Ashcroft Missouri John Danforth Retired
Mike DeWine Ohio Howard Metzenbaum Retired
Jim Inhofe Oklahoma David Boren Retired*
Rick Santorum Pennsylvania Harris Wofford Defeated
Fred Thompson Tennessee Harlan Mathews Retired§
Bill Frist Tennessee Jim Sasser Defeated

(*) David Boren resigned to assume the presidency of the University of Oklahoma; Inhofe was elected to serve the remaining two years of the term.

§ Harlan Mathews was appointed to the seat as a caretaker following the resignation of Vice President-elect Al Gore; Thompson was elected to serve the remaining two years of the term.

House of Representatives

Name District Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Matt Salmon Arizona-1 Sam Coppersmith Retired; Ran for U.S. Senate
J. D. Hayworth Arizona-6 Karan English Defeated
Frank Riggs California-1 Dan Hamburg Defeated
George Radanovich California-19 Richard Lehman Defeated
Brian Bilbray California-49 Lynn Schenk Defeated
Joe Scarborough Florida-1 Earl Hutto Retired
Dave Weldon Florida-15 Jim Bacchus Retired
Bob Barr Georgia-7 Buddy Darden Defeated
Saxby Chambliss Georgia-8 J. Roy Rowland Retired
Charlie Norwood Georgia-10 Don Johnson Defeated
Helen Chenoweth Idaho-1 Larry LaRocco Defeated
Michael Flanagan Illinois-5 Dan Rostenkowski Defeated
Jerry Weller Illinois-11 George Sangmeister Retired
David McIntosh Indiana-2 Phil Sharp Retired
Mark Souder Indiana-4 Jill Long Thompson Defeated
John Hostettler Indiana-8 Frank McCloskey Defeated
Greg Ganske Iowa-4 Neal Smith Defeated
Sam Brownback Kansas-2 Jim Slattery Retired; Ran for Governor
Todd Tiahrt Kansas-4 Dan Glickman Defeated
Ed Whitfield Kentucky-1 Tom Barlow Defeated
Jim Longley Maine-1 Tom Andrews Retired; Ran for U.S. Senate
Dick Chrysler Michigan-8 Bob Carr Retired; Ran for U.S. Senate
Gil Gutknecht Minnesota-1 Tim Penny Retired
Roger Wicker Mississippi-1 Jamie Whitten Retired
Jon Christensen Nebraska-2 Peter Hoagland Defeated
John Ensign Nevada-1 James Bilbray Defeated
Charlie Bass New Hampshire-2 Dick Swett Defeated
Frank LoBiondo New Jersey-2 Bill Hughes Retired
Bill Martini New Jersey-8 Herb Klein Defeated
Michael Forbes New York-1 George Hochbrueckner Defeated
David Funderburk North Carolina-2 Tim Valentine Retired
Walter Jones North Carolina-3 Martin Lancaster Defeated
Fred Heineman North Carolina-4 David Price Defeated
Richard Burr North Carolina-5 Steve Neal Retired
Steve Chabot Ohio-1 David Mann Defeated
Frank Cremeans Ohio-6 Ted Strickland Defeated
Bob Ney Ohio-18 Doug Applegate Retired
Steve LaTourette Ohio-19 Eric Fingerhut Defeated
Tom Coburn Oklahoma-2 Mike Synar Defeated (in primary)
J. C. Watts Oklahoma-4 Dave McCurdy Retired; Ran for U.S. Senate
Jim Bunn Oregon-5 Mike Kopetski Retired
Jon Fox Pennsylvania-13 Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky Defeated
Lindsey Graham South Carolina-3 Butler Derrick Retired
Zach Wamp Tennessee-3 Marilyn Lloyd Retired
Van Hilleary Tennessee-4 Jim Cooper Retired; Ran for U.S. Senate
Steve Stockman Texas-9 Jack Brooks Defeated
Mac Thornberry Texas-13 Bill Sarpalius Defeated
Enid Greene Waldholtz Utah-2 Karen Shepherd Defeated
Tom Davis Virginia-11 Leslie Byrne Defeated
Rick White Washington-1 Maria Cantwell Defeated
Jack Metcalf Washington-2 Al Swift Retired
Linda Smith Washington-3 Jolene Unsoeld Defeated
Doc Hastings Washington-4 Jay Inslee Defeated
George Nethercutt Washington-5 Tom Foley Defeated
Randy Tate Washington-9 Mike Kreidler Defeated
Mark Neumann Wisconsin-1 Peter Barca Defeated


Name State Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Fob James Alabama Jim Folsom, Jr. Defeated
John Rowland Connecticut Lowell Weicker* Retired
Phil Batt Idaho Cecil Andrus Term limited
Bill Graves Kansas Joan Finney Retired
Gary Johnson New Mexico Bruce King Defeated
George Pataki New York Mario Cuomo Defeated
Frank Keating Oklahoma David Walters Retired
Tom Ridge Pennsylvania Bob Casey Term limited
Lincoln Almond Rhode Island Bruce Sundlun Defeated (in primary)
Don Sundquist Tennessee Ned McWherter Term limited
George W. Bush Texas Ann Richards Defeated
Jim Geringer Wyoming Mike Sullivan Term limited

(*) Lowell Weicker was a member of A Connecticut Party.

See Also


  1. ^ Republican Revolution Fades USA Today, January 19 2003
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b

External links

  • , February 18, 1996Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival interview with Dan Balz on Booknotes
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