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Midterm Elections Wrap-up: Future of Feds?

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The congressional midterm elections resulted in historic gains by Republicans, as well as an historic anomaly — marking the first time in 80 years a minority party retook control of the House of Representatives but not the Senate.

The election has repercussions across the board: the Obama administration is reading the tea leaves of last night’s election to see what the electorate’s mood might be in 2012. And Republicans, who many observers feared had lost their way after a similarly historic election night in 2008, are planning their return from the wilderness of the minority party.

In the Northern Virginia 11th District – home to a plethora of defense and government contractors – the race between Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly and Republican challenger Keith Fimian is still too close to call. Up until two years ago, Connolly’s seat was held by Republican Tom Davis, an important figure in efforts to change the procurement process to make it easier for the feds to award contracts.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), a 33-year veteran of the House was defeated in what DoDBuzz’s Colin Clarks said was “the most surprising vote of the election for defense watchers.”

Clark wrote that he sees “almost complete disarray” for Democrats on the committee, but also that with the takeover by Republicans, he doesn’t “foresee a lot of changes” for how HASC handles military matters.

Government Executive largely pinned the electorate’s feisty mood – which it characterized as “inchoate rage” on voters’ perceptions of and trepidations about big government.

The generally poor reputation of politicians, as evidenced by parades of polls throughout the election cycle, also rubbed off on federal workers, themselves.

For example, a Washington Post poll last month found that more than half of Americans believe federal workers are overpaid, and a large number believe they are under-qualified.

Similarly, Federal News Radio characterizes the election as a “fallout for feds.” Legislation dealing with everything from federal pay raises and furloughs are facing uncertain futures.

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