Tomorrow morning a ceremony will occur in the Capitol Senatorial chamber that will swear in the Senators who have just been elected this past November. It is the first term of the 112th congress for both Houses of the Federal Legislature. The Senate is elected in thirds which are called classes (class I, class II and class III), the Senators who are about to begin their six year term are members of Class III.
Usually Class III elections involved 34 seats, but due to special elections to fill the remainder of empty seats, this year 37 seats were contested. Of the 37 seats, 21 were won by incumbents, Most notably Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who is the longest serving living member of the Senate, and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who becomes the longest serving female member in the history of the Senate with her re-election. 16 of the members are new to the Senate in that they did not serve in the previous Congress, 15 of which are brand new to the Senate. Dan Coats of Indiana being the exception having previously served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999.
What are some of the things that the new faces bring to the next Senate? The percentage of women remains unchanged (17%), the percentage of African Americans drops to zero, the percentage of Asians remains unchanged (2%), and the percentage of Hispanic Americans rises from 1% to 2%. New Hampshire joins Maine, California and Washington as the 4th state to be represented by 2 women, and the first to have a woman from each of the major parties serving at the same time. The mean age of the Senators that are being replaced is 64.5 while the 16 freshmen's mean age of 52.9 drops the average life experience by about 11.5 years.
So lets meet the Freshmen:
Three seats changed faces but remained in Democrat control: West Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut. In all states the incumbent Democrat opted not to run: Carte and Kaufman were appointed as placeholders to fill vacant seats, and Dodd chose to retire.
Joe Manchin, 63, defeated Republican challenger John Raese 54% to 43% for the open seat once held by Bob Byrd until his death in June of 2010.
Chris Coons, 47, defeated Republican challenger Christine O'Donnell 57% to 40% for the open seat once held by vice-President Joseph Biden.
Richard Blumenthal, 64, defeated Republican challenger Linda McMahon 55% to 43% for the open seat made vacant by Chris Dodd's retirement.
In a sign of the swinging pendulum that favored Republicans during this midterm election, six seats formerly held by Democrats were won by Republicans: North Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Of these three were open due to retirements, one was open due to the primary loss of the incumbent, and two were lost by incumbents.
John Hoeven, 53, defeated Democrat challenger Tracy Potter 76% to 22% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Byron Dorgan.
Dan Coats, 67, defeated Democrat challenger Brad Ellsworth 55% to 40% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Evan Bayh. Dan Coats previously join the senate in a special election to replace Dan Quayle when he became George H. W. Bush's Vice-President, followed by a term of his own before loosing in the previous election cycle to Evan Bayh.
John Boozman, 60, defeated Democrat incumbent Blanche Lincoln 58% to 37%. Lincoln was only 1 of two incumbents to loose their seat in the general election, the other was Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.
Ron Johnson, 55, defeated Democrat incumbent Russ Feingold 52% to 47%.
Pat Toomey, 49, defeated Democrat challenger Joe Sestak 51% to 49% for the open seat made vacant by Joe Sestak's defeat of Arlen Spector in the Pennsylvania Democrat primary. Arlen Spector was one of two incumbent senators to be defeated in their primary races. The other was Bob Bennett of Utah.
Mark Kirk, 51, defeated Democrat challenger Alexi Giannoulias 48% to 46% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Roland Burris. The seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, was both a powerfully symbolic win for the Republicans.
The remaining seven Republican freshmen won seats formerly held by Republicans, six of which were vacated by retirements and one by a primary election defeat.
Jerry Moran, 56, defeated Democrat challenger Lisa Johnston 70% to 26% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Sam Brownback. Same Brownback was subsequently elected the new governor of Kansas.
Mike Lee, 39, defeated Democrat challenger Sam Granato 62% to 33% for the open seat made vacant by Lee's defeat of incumbent Republican Bob Bennett during the primary election.
Marco Rubio, 39, defeated Independent challenger Charlie Crist and Democrat challenger Kendrick Meek 49% to 30% and 20% respectively for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of George LeMieux.
Kelly Ayotte, 42, defeated Democrat challenger Paul Hodes 60% to 37% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Judd Gregg.
Rob Portman, 55, defeated Democrat challenger Lee Fisher 57% to 39% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of George Voinovich.
Rand Paul, 47, defeated Democrat challenger Jack Conway 56% to 44% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Jim Bunning.
Roy Blunt, 60, defeated Democrat challenger Robin Carnahan 54% to 41% for the open seat made vacant by the retirement of Kit Bond.