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1994 United States House of Representatives elections

1994 United States House of Representatives elections

The 1994 United States House of Representatives elections were held on November 8, 1994, to elect U.S. Representatives to serve in the 104th United States Congress. They occurred in the middle of President Bill Clinton's first term. In what was known as the Republican Revolution, a 54-seat swing in membership from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party resulted in the latter gaining a majority of seats in the House of Representatives for the first time since 1952. It was also the largest seat gain for the party since 1946, and the largest for either party since 1948, and characterized a political realignment in American politics.

Democrats had run the House since 1955, and for all but four years (1947–49 and 1953–55) since 1931. But in 1994, the Republican Party ran against President Clinton's proposed healthcare reform. The Republicans argued that Clinton had abandoned the centrist New Democrat platform he campaigned on during the 1992 presidential election and reverted to big government solutions. The GOP ran on Newt Gingrich's Contract with America.

The incumbent Speaker of the House, Democrat Tom Foley, lost re-election in his district, becoming the first sitting speaker to be defeated since Galusha Grow in 1863. Other major upsets included the defeat of powerful long-serving representatives such as Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski and Judiciary chairman Jack Brooks. In all, 34 incumbents, all Democrats, were defeated. Republicans also won a number of seats held by retiring Democrats. No Republican incumbents lost re-election, but Democrats won four open Republican-held seats. NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent was elected in Oklahoma and singer Sonny Bono was elected in California.

Robert H. Michel, the Republican minority leader, chose to retire due to pressure from the more conservative members of the Republican caucus. Dick Cheney had served as the Minority Whip and Michel supported having Edward Rell Madigan replace him, but the position was instead given to Gingrich, who would later be selected to become speaker. The incumbent Democratic majority leader, Dick Gephardt, became minority leader. The new House leadership, under the Republicans, promised to bring a dozen legislative proposals to a vote in the first 100 days of the session, although the Senate did not always follow suit. In a significant political realignment, the South underwent a dramatic transformation. Before the election, House Democrats outnumbered House Republicans in the South. Afterwards, with the Republicans having picked up a total of 19 Southern seats, they were able to outnumber Democrats in the South for the first time since Reconstruction. The Republicans would go on to remain the majority party of the House for the following 12 years, until the 2006 elections. The Republicans have won at least 200 seats in almost every House election since, with the exceptions of 2008 and 2018.

As of 2023, this is the last congressional election in which Democrats won a House seat in Montana, as well as the last time Republicans won any House seats in Massachusetts.

Voting patterns

Republican gains, 1992–1994

Source: Data from exit-poll surveys by Voter Research and Surveys and Mitofsky International published in The New York Times, November 13, 1994, p. 24.

Religious right

Evangelicals were an important group within the electorate and a significant voting block in the Republican party. The national exit poll by Mitofsky International showed 27% of all voters identified themselves as a born-again or evangelical Christians, up from 18% in 1988 and 24% in 1992. Republican House candidates outpolled Democrats among white evangelicals by a massive 52 points, 76% to 24%.

According to a survey sponsored by the Christian Coalition, 33 percent of the 1994 voters were "religious conservatives," up from 24 percent in 1992 and 18 percent in 1988 (CQ Weekly Report), November 19, 1994, p. 3364; in the 1994 exit poll, 38 percent identified themselves as "conservatives," compared with 30 percent in 1992.

Party identification and ideology by selected religious groups 1994
Source: Mitofsky International exit poll in Klinkner, p. 121.

Overall results

Source: Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk


Incumbents defeated

In primary elections


  • Oklahoma 2: Mike Synar lost to Virgil R. Cooper, who later lost the general election to Republican Tom Coburn
  • Pennsylvania 2: Lucien E. Blackwell lost to Chaka Fattah, who later won the general election
  • Texas 18: Craig Washington lost to Sheila Jackson Lee, who later won the general election


  • New York 4: David A. Levy lost to Dan Frisa, who later won the general election

In the general elections


Thirty-four incumbent Democrats (including 16 "freshmen") were defeated in 1994. Democrats from Washington lost the most seats (5).


  • None.

Open seats that changed parties

Democratic seats won by Republicans

22 open seats previously held by Democrats were won by Republicans.

  • Arizona 1: Matt Salmon
  • Florida 1: Joe Scarborough
  • Florida 15: Dave Weldon
  • Georgia 8: Saxby Chambliss
  • Illinois 11: Jerry Weller
  • Indiana 2: David M. McIntosh
  • Kansas 2: Sam Brownback
  • Maine 1: James B. Longley Jr.
  • Michigan 8: Dick Chrysler
  • Minnesota 1: Gil Gutknecht
  • Mississippi 1: Roger Wicker
  • New Jersey 2: Frank LoBiondo
  • North Carolina 2: David Funderburk
  • North Carolina 5: Richard Burr
  • Ohio 18: Bob Ney
  • Oklahoma 2: Tom Coburn
  • Oklahoma 4: J. C. Watts
  • Oregon 5: Jim Bunn
  • South Carolina 3: Lindsey Graham
  • Tennessee 3: Zach Wamp
  • Tennessee 4: Van Hilleary
  • Washington 2: Jack Metcalf

Republican seats won by Democrats

Democrats won four open seats previously held by Republicans.

  • Maine 2: John Baldacci
  • Minnesota 6: Bill Luther
  • Pennsylvania 18: Mike Doyle
  • Rhode Island 1: Patrick J. Kennedy

Open seats that parties held

Democratic seats held

Democrats held nine of their open seats.

  • California 16: Zoe Lofgren
  • Kentucky 3: Mike Ward
  • Michigan 13: Lynn N. Rivers
  • Missouri 5: Karen McCarthy
  • Pennsylvania 2: Chaka Fattah
  • Pennsylvania 20: Frank Mascara
  • Texas 10: Lloyd Doggett
  • Texas 18: Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Texas 25: Ken Bentsen Jr.

Republican seats held

Republicans held 17 of their open seats.

  • Arizona 4: John Shadegg
  • California 22: Andrea Seastrand
  • California 44: Sonny Bono
  • Florida 16: Mark Foley
  • Illinois 18: Ray LaHood
  • Iowa 5: Tom Latham
  • Maryland 2: Bob Ehrlich
  • New Jersey 11: Rodney Frelinghuysen
  • New York 4: Dan Frisa
  • New York 19: Sue W. Kelly
  • North Carolina 9: Sue Myrick
  • Oklahoma 1: Steve Largent
  • Oregon 2: Wes Cooley
  • Pennsylvania 21: Phil English
  • South Carolina 1: Mark Sanford
  • Tennessee 7: Ed Bryant
  • Wyoming at-large: Barbara Cubin

Special elections





























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Non-voting delegates

See also

  • 1994 United States elections
    • 1994 United States gubernatorial elections
    • 1994 United States Senate elections
  • 103rd United States Congress
  • 104th United States Congress
  • Republican Revolution



Further reading

  • Jenkins, Shannon; Roscoe, Douglas D.; Frendreis, John P.; Gitelson, Alan R. (2007). "Ten Years After the Revolution: 1994 and Partisan Control of Government". In Green, John C.; Coffey, Daniel J. (eds.). The State of the Parties (5th ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 9780742553224.
  • Klinkner, Philip A. (1996). Midterm: The Elections of 1994 in Context. Westview Press.
  • Ladd, Everett Carll (1995). "The 1994 Congressional Elections: The Postindustrial Realignment Continues". Political Science Quarterly. 110 (1): 1–22. doi:10.2307/2152048. JSTOR 2152048.
  • Steeper, F. (February 8, 1995). "This Swing is Different: Analysis of 1994 Election Exit Polls". The Cook Political Report.
  • Teixeira, Ruy A. (1996). "The Economics of the 1994 Election and U.S. Politics Today". Challenge. 39 (1): 26–31. doi:10.1080/05775132.1996.11471888.
  • Wattenberg, Martin P. (1999). "The Democrats' Decline in the House during the Clinton Presidency: An Analysis of Partisan Swings". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 29 (3): 685–689. doi:10.1111/j.0268-2141.2003.00057.x.

External links

  • Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1994, Office of the Clerk U.S. House of Representatives

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: 1994 United States House of Representatives elections by Wikipedia (Historical)