The midterms: what you need to know

On Tuesday, November 2nd 2010, voters all across America went to the polls to cast their vote in the midterm elections. This election was decisive and important.
Seats long held by Democrats were won by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, including President Barack Obama’s Senate seat, which went to Republican Mark Kirk. Kirk won both a special election to finish Senator Roland Burris’ appointed term and he won a regular six year term.
Kirk is considered to be a moderate Republican, which means that his views are not as radical in comparison to other Republicans. He is 51 years old and has most notably served as a Commander in the United States Naval Reserve and as a Representative in the United States House of Representatives.
In addition to the House and Senate elections, there were also gubernatorial elections in 36 states, including Illinois. The election in Illinois was a very close one. The two forerunners, Democrat Patrick Quinn and Republican Bill Brady both had 46% of the votes, so for a while it was unclear who had the majority. In the end, Quinn took home the win with only a margin of a few thousand votes.
Quinn ran as the incumbent this year. He is 62 years old. He has spent much of his professional life as a civil servant for the state of Illinois, which includes Cook County Commissioner, Illinois State Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor, and most recently Governor.
This is the first time Quinn has been formally elected to the office. He took control when Rod Blagojevich was impeached for corruption.
On the national level, the Republican Party took control of the House. The magic number was 39. At the end of the evening, the Republicans went away with 237 seats and the Democrats took 198. This turnover of power also means that Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will no longer hold that position. Republican leader John Boehner will take over.