By about 11 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Republican wave had made its presence felt, as Congressional maps across the country, once dotted with blue, suddenly turned into a sea of red.
By sunrise the next morning, body counts were still being made in the aftermath of the electoral tsunami with the latest projections showing that 50 incumbent Democratic congressmen, including 22 freshmen had lost their seats.
The Republicans picked up 60 seats in the House, six in the Senate, while winning eight additional gubernatorial contests and at least 500 more seats in state legislatures.
Not bad for a night’s work, especially when you consider the Republicans picked up more seats in the House than in any election since 1938, when the Democrats lost 71 seats.
The Democrats, on the other hand, will enter the next Congress in January with the fewest members since 1946. Prior to last night, the last big Republican wave came in 1994, when they picked up 52 seats.
Despite the Republicans picking up six seats in the Senate, the Democrats are still the majority in the upper body with 52 seats, to the Republicans 46 seats.
In the House, the Republicans now hold a commanding 239 seats to the Democrats 186 seats.
To put Tuesday’s midterm election into historical perspective, I compiled some facts and figures, showing how last night's election compared with others, dating back to 1860.
• From 1860 to 2008, when the majority lost control of the House of Representatives, they lost an average of 49 or 14 percent of the total House seats
• From 1860 to 2008, when the majority lost control of the House of Representatives during a midterm election, they lost an average of 60 or 16 percent of the total House seats.
• The other times in history in which the House Majority flipped from one party to the other, while the Senate held their majority were in the years: 1874, 1880, 1882, 1888, 1890, 1910 and 1930.
• The only times in history when both Houses of Congress flipped majorities were in 1860, 1894, 1918, 1946, 1952, 1954,1994 and 2006.
• The only times in history when the Senate flipped its majority, but not in the House were in the years: 1878, 1892, 1912, 1932, 1980, 1986, and 2000.
Five largest electoral party changes since 1860:
• 1894: During the 54th Congress, Republicans picked up 120 seats, with 246 Republicans and 104 Democrats.
• 1874: During the 44th Congress, the Republicans lost 96 seats; Democrats gained 93 seats, giving the Democrats 181 seats, and the Republicans, 107.
• 1890: During the 52nd Congress, the Republicans lost 85 seats; the Democrats gained 75 seats, giving the Democrats 231 seats, the Republicans, 88.
• 1948: During the 81st Congress, the Republicans lost 75 seats; the Democrats gained 75, giving the Democrats 263 seats, the Republicans, 171.
• 1910: During the 62nd Congress, the Republicans lost 57 seats; the Democrats gained 56 seats, giving the Democrats 228 seats, the Republicans, 162.
Midterm aftermath at the State Level
• Republicans now hold about 3,890, or 53 percent of the total state legislative seats in America, the most seats in the GOP column since 1928.
• Republicans now control at least 54 of the 99 state legislative chambers, its highest number since 1952.
• With Tuesday’s results, the GOP now controls 18 legislative chambers and 54 percent of the seats. The Midwest, traditionally a Democratic stronghold, now has just 38 percent Democrat members, the lowest percentage there since 1956.
• Republicans gained at least 680 seats on Tuesday, the largest gain by either party since 1966, surpassing Democratic gains in the post-Watergate election of 1974.
• The North Carolina Senate is now in Republican control for the first time since 1870.
• The Minnesota Senate, which held nonpartisan elections until 1974, is under Republican control for the first time.
• The Alabama legislature is under Republican control for the first time since Reconstruction.
• There will be significant turnover in House and Senate leadership when legislatures convene next year. Currently, 32 House Speakers are Democrats and 17 are Republican. Next year, this will change to 31 Republicans and 15 Democrats.
State Ballot Initiatives
• Measures to legalize marijuana were rejected in California, Oregon, South Dakota and probably in Arizona.
• Measures to block federal health care reforms were approved in Arizona and Oklahoma but rejected in Colorado.
• Maryland voters approved a constitutional convention, becoming the first state to do so since Rhode Island held one in 1985 and 1986.
• Oklahoma approved making English the official language and prohibited courts from using Sharia law and international law in making decisions.
• California voters rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended state clean air laws until unemployment dropped to 5.5 percent.
• Illinois passed a process for recalling the governor.
• Vermont will now allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the general election.
• Michigan and North Carolina voters approved measures to ban felons in public offices.
Source: Data based on Harold W. Stanley and Richard G. Niemi, Vital Statistics on American Politics, 2009–2010 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2010): Office of the Clerk U.S. House of Representatives; National Conference of State Legislatures