1966 Midterm Elections
In the midterm election of 1966, the Republican Party gained 47 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and three seats in the U.S. Senate from the Democratic Party. Republicans also gained eight governorships and 557 state legislative seats.
Following President Lyndon B. Johnson's landslide presidential victory in 1964, Democrats had a supermajority in both chambers. Johnson launched the War on Poverty, which included the passage of Medicare and Medicaid and a flood of other liberal legislation. However, public opposition to the Great Society, lack of success in Vietnam and race riots resulted Johnson's popularity to decline.
Although Democrats retained a clear majority after the election, Johnson lost the liberal mandate and proposed no new major reforms in 1967. Republicans made significant gains in the south for the first time since Reconstruction, with one-third of southern House seats controlled by Republicans.
Future Republican U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California and George H.W. Bush was elected to Congress in Texas. Richard M. Nixon actively campaigned for Republican candidates, which helped propel him to the Presidency.