Voter anger about the war in Iraq and other national and international issues helped Democrats achieve big gains in Congress and in state offices Tuesday.
Republicans went into the general elections with 229 of the 435 House seats, 55 Senate seats and 28 governorships.
The Democrats have emerged with about 230 House seats and 28 governorships.
At press time, Democrats had clearly won 47 seats and independents had won 2 seats.
In Montana, Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester had a 49% to 48% lead over the Republican incumbent, Sen. Conrad Burns, with 81% of the state’s precincts reporting, according to MSNBC.com.
In Virginia, Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb had an 0.07% lead over the Republican incumbent in that race, George Allen, but because the difference in that race is so small, state law will require a recount, officials say.
In Iowa, Democrat Dave Loebsack, a political science professor, defeated Rep. Jim Leach, a veteran Republican who helped write the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.
Another House member who lost Tuesday was Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., a lawmaker who has been known for her steadfast support of efforts to improve the United States’ long term care finance system. Johnson’s opponent, Democrat Chris Murphy, previously was chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee.
In state races, California voters re-elected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has helped to fight universal health insurance bills and ballot measures in the Golden State. Schwarzenegger’s main challenger was Democrat Phil Angelides.
California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a Democrat, overcame Tom McClintock to win the position of lieutenant governor.
In New York, Eliot Spitzer, a Democratic attorney general known for attacking bid-rigging in the insurance industry, won the race for governor. As governor, he will get to appoint a successor to New York Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills.
In some states, voters also went to the polls to select insurance commissioners:
California: Steve Poizner, a Republican Silicon Valley executive, defeated Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat. Poizner helped develop a system that emergency responders use to locate cell phone callers, and he has been director of critical infrastructure protection on the National Security Council. Poizner will succeed John Garamendi.
Florida: Alex Sink, a Democrat, has defeated the Republican candidate, Tom Lee, for the post of chief financial officer, which oversees the Florida insurance industry. Sink is a former Florida president for Bank of America Corp., Charlotte, N.C. She succeeds Tom Gallagher, a Republican, who made an unsuccessful effort to win the Republican nomination for governor.
Georgia: John Oxendine, the Republican incumbent, has defeated the Democratic candidate, Gaeton Drexinger.
Kansas: Sandy Praeger, the Republican incumbent, has defeated the Democratic candidate, Bonnie Sharp. Also in Kansas, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who once was the state’s insurance commissioner, has won re-election as governor.
Oklahoma: Kim Holland, the Democratic incumbent, has defeated the Republican candidate, Bill Case.