Ordinary Events and Extraordinary Times: The 2002 Congressional Elections

  • Donald Beachler


The 2002 congressional elections that produced Republican majorities in the House and the Senate and marked a major political victory for President Bush were preceded by two extraordinary political years. The midterm elections that took place after the 2000 elections, indicated that the one-half of U.S. citizens who took part in presidential elections were nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. In a highly controversial election that was ultimately concluded by a 5–4 decision of the United States Supreme Court, George W. Bush won the presidency by the narrowest of margins in the Electoral College, while losing the popular vote to Al Gore by about 539,000 votes. Republicans retained their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives by winning 221 seats, just three more than the 218 seats needed for a majority (the Democrats won 212 seats, while there were two independents in the House). The 2000 elections produced an evenly divided Senate with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Because the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, Dick Cheney gave the Republicans a nominal majority in the Senate. Despite the narrowness of their victories, in January 2001, Republicans held the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954.


Bush Administration Popular Vote Congressional Election Republican Candidate Domestic Issue 
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Copyright information

© Jon Kraus, Kevin J. McMahon, and David M. Rankin 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Beachler

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