Republican Revolution

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, conservative Democrat Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican; on March 3, 1995, Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched to the Republican side as well, increasing the GOP senate majority.

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 President Bill Clinton was not the New Democrat he claimed to be 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). From 1933 to 1995, Republicans had controlled both House and Senate for only four years. From 1933 into the early 1970s, most white conservatives in the South belonged to the Democratic Party, and created the Solid South block in Congress. Most African Americans in the South were disenfranchised in those years, based on laws and subjective administration of voter registration practices.

By the mid 1990s, white conservatives from the South joined Republicans in other parts of the country, leading to the change in Congress. 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 with Democratic candidates was foreshadowed by a string of elections after 1992, including Republicans winning the mayoralties of New York and Los Angeles in 1993. In that same year, Christine Todd Whitman won the New Jersey governorship. Bret Schundler became the first Republican mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, which had been held by the Democratic Party since 1917.

Republican George Allen won the 1993 Virginia gubernatorial election and Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison won a U.S. Senate seat from the Democrats in the 1993 special election. Republicans also picked up three congressional seats from Democrats in Oklahoma and Kentucky in May 1994.


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. The new senatorial Republican majority chose Bob Dole, previously Minority Leader, as Majority Leader. 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 South). This white conservative coalition had often managed to control Congressional outcomes since the New Deal era.


Numerous Republican freshmen entered Congress. Of the 230 Republican House members of the 104th Congress, almost a third were new to the House.[3] In the Senate, 11 of 54 (20%) Republicans were freshmen.


(*) 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
Bob Ehrlich Maryland-2 Helen Bentley Retired; ran for Governor of Maryland
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


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

See also


  1. ^ Republican Revolution Fades USA Today, January 19, 2003
  2. ^ David Russell. "How High the Wave? Don't Just Think 1994; Think 1974, 1958, 1982 – News & Analysis – The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  3. ^ Amer, Mildred (June 16, 2005). "Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913–2005" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. The Library of Congress: 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.

External links