(Bloomberg Politics) — Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy’s double-digit ousting of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu on Saturday was, in the words of the senator-elect, an “exclamation mark” on a 2014 election that saw the Republicans win control of the Senate. With Landrieu’s departure, only half of the senators who voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — “Obamacare” — will still be in office in 2015, when the new members are sworn in.
Cassidy’s 56 percent to 44 percent win over Landrieu, in the last Senate race of the 2014 cycle, means that the Republicans will control 54 seats in the 100-member Senate beginning in January. That’s a nice cushion for the party as it prepares to defend its hold on power in 2016, a presidential election year when Republicans will be the incumbent party in 24 of the 34 Senate elections.
Here’s a by-the-numbers look at some of the milestones and notable characteristics of the 2014 Senate elections:
30: With Landrieu’s loss, exactly half of the 60 senators who voted for Obama’s health-care overhaul on Christmas Eve 2009 will not be in the Senate in January. Nineteen of them retired or resigned, eight were defeated for re-election, and three died in office. In her concession speech Saturday night, Landrieu said that she and others “fought a good fight, and it’s not over yet, for health care” and that she was “glad we fought for it.” She didn’t specifically mention PPACA.
9: That’s the net seat gain that Republicans made in the Senate, the biggest by either party since Republicans picked up a dozen seats in 1980 with the help of Ronald Reagan’s landslide election as president. Republicans unseated Democratic incumbents in five states—Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina—and also picked up the seats of retiring Democratic incumbents in Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Colorado and Iowa voted to re-elect President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, though the other seven states backed Republican challenger Mitt Romney. A tough map for Democrats was made tougher by Obama’s mediocre job approval rating.