Capturing control of the Senate and maintaining majority in the House of Representatives, the midterm elections of 2002 were a victory for the Republicans. In the Senate, Republicans had a gain of two resulting in control of fifty-one seats. However, the Democrats had a loss of two resulting in only forty-six seats. In the House of Representatives, Republicans held on to majority with 226 seats whereas, Democrats had only 204 seats. This was only the fourth time in history that the president's party did not lose seats in the House in a midterm election.
The 2002 midterm elections had no single issue dominating the agenda. Democrats were emphasizing issues on the economy and domestic issues whereas; Republicans were emphasizing issues on national security and terrorism. Polls preceding the elections showed voters spilt down the middle on these issues however, Democrats failed to capitalize on concern over the economy. "I just felt in a close race in which people really aren't sure - against the backdrop of September 11 and the prospects of war with Iraq - that they were going to support a very popular president. That's what they did," Aaron Brown of CNN said. .
Another explanation of the results is that coverage of each visit by President Bush had a drowning effect of Democratic candidates" campaigns. Furthermore, President Bush's visits brought free media coverage to Republican candidates and raised crucial funds for Republican campaigns. .
The 2002 midterm elections also had surprising results for specific candidates. The loss of Governor Roy Barnes seemed to be a surprise that nobody thought was going to happen. "It shows that there was some kind of broad Republican push that knocked over not only the incumbent Georgia senator but also the incumbent Georgia governor," said Jeff Greenfield of CNN.
In conclusion, the 2002 midterm elections were a historical victory for Republicans. The gains seem to be due as much to the campaign successes of the Republicans as to the failures of the campaign failures of the Democrats.