After months of attack ads, automated phone calls and campaign handouts, the 2010 midterm election is now one for the history books. In addition to the GOP taking control of the House of Representatives, some novice politicians received a political wake-up call about their career choice.
Here are a few:
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL8): During his freshman term in the House of Representatives, Rep. Grayson became a YouTube sensation for his interpretation of the Republican health care plan in 2009. In essence, Grayson said the GOP’s recommendation was simply to not get sick.
Grayson, who also is adept at raising funds to create “money bombs,” lost to Republican challenger Daniel Webster 56 percent to 38 percent. Outspoken in his first term, Grayson went a little too far when he referred to Webster in ads as “Taliban Dan” for his views on women’s issues.
As a politician, Rep. Grayson delivers great sound bites, but the voters in Florida’s 8th U.S. House District decided that they wanted a different kind of politician representing them in Washington.
Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO8): Thanks in no small part to Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Republican challenger Cory Gardner, Rep. Betsy Markey lost her seat in the House of Representatives after only one term.
Markey’s vote on the controversial health care bill in March was another contributing factor to her midterm election loss. Acknowledging the political cost of voting for the House-Senate compromise bill, Markey said the health-care bill was “something real.”
Markey’s political fate also is strongly tied to President Barack Obama. In 2008, Markey rode the Democratic wave of change into the House of Representatives, but President Obama’s fluctuating approval rating was a contributing factor in her defeat.
Like Grayson, Rep. Markey could be a one-hit congressional wonder, especially if she doesn’t run again or if a strong Republican candidate emerges in the 2010 presidential election.
Golden parachute politicians: If nothing else, the results of the 2010 midterm election show that Americans are less willing to let wealthy candidates golden parachute their way in from the private sector and buy their way into office.
Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, spent a staggering $142 million on her California gubernatorial campaign, most of it her own money. Whitman, whose personal fortune is estimated at $1.3 billion, lost to veteran politician Jerry Brown, despite her record-breaking expenditures.
In her bid to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Calif. Democrat, Republican challenger Carly Fiorina felt California’s distrust of big business on Nov. 2. Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, hoped California voters would want someone with business experience in the Senate, but Sen. Boxer held onto her seat for another term.
In the race for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, Linda McMahon, the former CEO of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, spent an estimated $45 million on her campaign to succeed the retiring Sen. Chris Dodd.
Despite her personal fortune and business background, Democratic challenger Richard Blumenthal pinned her to the mat with a 54 percent to 44 percent win in Connecticut.