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The "Republican Revolution", "Revolution of '94", or "Gingrich Revolution" are political slogans that refer to the Republican Party's (GOP) success in the 1994 U.S. mid-term elections,[1] which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pick-up of eight seats in the Senate.


Rather than campaigning independently in each district, Republican candidates chose to rally behind a single national program and message fronted by Georgia congressman and House Republican whip Newt Gingrich. They alleged that President Bill Clinton was not the "New Democrat" he claimed to be during his 1992 campaign, but was a "tax and spend" liberal. The Republicans offered an alternative to Clinton's policies in the form of the Contract with America.[2]

The gains in seats in the mid-term election resulted in the Republicans gaining control of both the House and the Senate in January 1995. Republicans had not held the majority in the House for 40 years, since the 83rd Congress (elected in 1952). From 1933 to 1995, Republicans had controlled both House and Senate for only four years. From 1933 into the early 1970s, most white conservatives in the South belonged to the Democratic Party, and created the Solid South bloc in Congress. Most African Americans in the South were disenfranchised in those years, based on anti-Black laws and subjective administration of voter registration practices.

By the mid-1990s, white conservatives from the South joined Republicans in other parts of the country, leading to the change in Congress. Large Republican gains were made in state houses as well when the GOP picked up twelve gubernatorial seats and 472 legislative seats. In so doing, it took control of 20 state legislatures from the Democrats. Prior to this, Republicans had not held the majority of governorships since 1970. In addition, this was the first time in 50 years that the GOP controlled a majority of state legislatures.

Discontent with Democratic candidates was foreshadowed by a string of elections after 1992, including Republicans winning the mayoralties of New York and Los Angeles in 1993. In that same year, Christine Todd Whitman won the New Jersey governorship. Bret Schundler became the first Republican mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, which had been held by the Democratic Party since 1917.

Republican George Allen won the 1993 Virginia gubernatorial election, and Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison won a U.S. Senate seat from the Democrats in the 1993 special election. Republicans also picked up three congressional seats from Democrats in Oklahoma and Kentucky in May 1994.

On November 9, 1994, the day after the election, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, a conservative Democrat, changed parties, becoming a Republican; on March 3, 1995, Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched to the Republican side as well, increasing the GOP Senate majority.[3]


When the 104th United States Congress convened in January 1995, House Republicans voted former Minority Whip Newt Gingrich—the chief author of the Contract with America—to become Speaker of the House. The new senatorial Republican majority chose Bob Dole, previously Minority Leader, as Majority Leader. Republicans pursued an ambitious agenda, but were often forced to compromise with Democratic president Bill Clinton, who wielded veto power.

The 1994 election also marked the end of the conservative coalition, a bi-partisan coalition of conservative Republicans and Democrats (often referred to as "boll weevil Democrats", for their association with the South). This white conservative coalition had often managed to control Congressional outcomes since the end of the New Deal era.


Numerous Republican freshmen entered Congress. Of the 230 Republican House members of the 104th Congress, almost a third were new to the House.[4] In the Senate, 11 of 54 (20%) Republicans were freshmen.


Name State Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Richard Shelby Alabama Himself as a Democrat Switched parties[a]
Jon Kyl Arizona Dennis DeConcini Retired
Ben Nighthorse Campbell Colorado Himself as a Democrat Switched parties[b]
Olympia Snowe Maine George Mitchell Retired
Spencer Abraham Michigan Donald Riegle Retired
Mike DeWine Ohio Howard Metzenbaum Retired
Jim Inhofe Oklahoma David Boren Retired[c]
Rick Santorum Pennsylvania Harris Wofford Defeated
Fred Thompson Tennessee Harlan Mathews Retired[d]
Bill Frist Tennessee Jim Sasser Defeated
Kay Bailey Hutchison Texas Bob Krueger Defeated[e]
  1. ^ Shelby had been elected in 1986 and 1992 as a Democrat, but switched parties in 1994.
  2. ^ Campbell was elected in 1992 as a Democrat, but switched parties on March 3, 1995.
  3. ^ Boren resigned to assume the presidency of the University of Oklahoma; Inhofe was elected to serve the remaining two years of the term.
  4. ^ Mathews was appointed to the seat as a caretaker following the resignation of Vice President Al Gore; Thompson was elected to serve the remaining two years of the term.
  5. ^ Hutchison won the Senate seat from the Democrats in the 1993 special election to succeed Bob Krueger, who had been appointed to this seat following the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen, who had become the Secretary of the Treasury, seen as a precursor to the Republican Revolution.

House of Representatives

Name District Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Matt Salmon Arizona-1 Sam Coppersmith Retired; ran for U.S. Senate
J. D. Hayworth Arizona-6 Karan English Defeated
Frank Riggs California-1 Dan Hamburg Defeated
George Radanovich California-19 Richard Lehman Defeated
Brian Bilbray California-49 Lynn Schenk Defeated
Joe Scarborough Florida-1 Earl Hutto Retired
Dave Weldon Florida-15 Jim Bacchus Retired
Bob Barr Georgia-7 Buddy Darden Defeated
Saxby Chambliss Georgia-8 J. Roy Rowland Retired
Charlie Norwood Georgia-10 Don Johnson Jr. Defeated
Helen Chenoweth Idaho-1 Larry LaRocco Defeated
Michael Flanagan Illinois-5 Dan Rostenkowski Defeated
Jerry Weller Illinois-11 George Sangmeister Retired
David McIntosh Indiana-2 Phil Sharp Retired
Mark Souder Indiana-4 Jill Long Thompson Defeated
John Hostettler Indiana-8 Frank McCloskey Defeated
Greg Ganske Iowa-4 Neal Smith Defeated
Sam Brownback Kansas-2 Jim Slattery Retired; ran for Governor
Todd Tiahrt Kansas-4 Dan Glickman Defeated
Ed Whitfield Kentucky-1 Tom Barlow Defeated
Jim Longley Maine-1 Tom Andrews Retired; ran for U.S. Senate
Bob Ehrlich Maryland-2 Helen Bentley Retired; ran for Governor of Maryland
Dick Chrysler Michigan-8 Bob Carr Retired; ran for U.S. Senate
Gil Gutknecht Minnesota-1 Tim Penny Retired
Roger Wicker Mississippi-1 Jamie Whitten Retired
Jon Christensen Nebraska-2 Peter Hoagland Defeated
John Ensign Nevada-1 James Bilbray Defeated
Charlie Bass New Hampshire-2 Dick Swett Defeated
Frank LoBiondo New Jersey-2 Bill Hughes Retired
Bill Martini New Jersey-8 Herb Klein Defeated
Michael Forbes New York-1 George Hochbrueckner Defeated
David Funderburk North Carolina-2 Tim Valentine Retired
Walter Jones North Carolina-3 Martin Lancaster Defeated
Fred Heineman North Carolina-4 David Price Defeated
Richard Burr North Carolina-5 Steve Neal Retired
Steve Chabot Ohio-1 David Mann Defeated
Frank Cremeans Ohio-6 Ted Strickland Defeated
Bob Ney Ohio-18 Doug Applegate Retired
Steve LaTourette Ohio-19 Eric Fingerhut Defeated
Tom Coburn Oklahoma-2 Mike Synar Defeated (in primary)
J. C. Watts Oklahoma-4 Dave McCurdy Retired; ran for U.S. Senate
Jim Bunn Oregon-5 Mike Kopetski Retired
Jon Fox Pennsylvania-13 Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky Defeated
Lindsey Graham South Carolina-3 Butler Derrick Retired
Zach Wamp Tennessee-3 Marilyn Lloyd Retired
Van Hilleary Tennessee-4 Jim Cooper Retired; ran for U.S. Senate
Steve Stockman Texas-9 Jack Brooks Defeated
Mac Thornberry Texas-13 Bill Sarpalius Defeated
Enid Greene Waldholtz Utah-2 Karen Shepherd Defeated
Tom Davis Virginia-11 Leslie Byrne Defeated
Rick White Washington-1 Maria Cantwell Defeated[a]
Jack Metcalf Washington-2 Al Swift Retired
Linda Smith Washington-3 Jolene Unsoeld Defeated
Doc Hastings Washington-4 Jay Inslee Defeated[b]
George Nethercutt Washington-5 Tom Foley Defeated
Randy Tate Washington-9 Mike Kreidler Defeated
Mark Neumann Wisconsin-1 Peter Barca Defeated
  1. ^ Cantwell eventually elected as Senator in 2000.
  2. ^ Inslee eventually returned to the Congress in 1999 following his victory in the 1998 House of Representatives elections.


Name State Predecessor Predecessor's fate
Fob James Alabama Jim Folsom Jr. Defeated
John G. Rowland Connecticut Lowell P. Weicker Jr.[a] Retired
Phil Batt Idaho Cecil D. Andrus Retired
Bill Graves Kansas Joan Finney Retired
Gary Johnson New Mexico Bruce King Defeated
George Pataki New York Mario Cuomo Defeated
Frank Keating Oklahoma David Walters Retired
Tom Ridge Pennsylvania Bob Casey Sr. Term-limited
Lincoln Almond Rhode Island Bruce Sundlun Defeated (in primary)
Don Sundquist Tennessee Ned McWherter Term-limited
George W. Bush Texas Ann Richards Defeated
Jim Geringer Wyoming Mike Sullivan Term-limited
  1. ^ Weicker was a member of A Connecticut Party.

See also


  1. ^ Republican Revolution Fades USA Today, January 19, 2003
  2. ^ Rothenberg, Stuart (October 23, 2006). "How High the Wave? Don't Just Think 1994; Think 1974, 1958, 1982". Archived from the original on 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  3. ^ "U.S. Senate: Senators Who Changed Parties During Senate Service (Since 1890)". United States Senate. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  4. ^ Amer, Mildred (June 16, 2005). "Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913–2005" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. The Library of Congress: 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2008.