1974 Midterm Elections

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In the midterm elections of 1974, the Democratic Party gained 49 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and four seats in the U.S. Senate from the Republican Party.

The elections came off the heels of the Watergate scandal that had resulted in the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, and the United States was in a deep recession with high inflation. The House Democratic freshman were dubbed "watergate babies", reformist, anti-military liberals who dominated Congress until 1994. The liberal Congress pressed President Gerald Ford on spending, forcing him into a series of vetoes. The elections had a more significant impact on foreign policy. When North Vietnam violated the 1973 cease-fire agreement and invaded the South again in 1975, President Ford asked Congress to provide funds to supply the South before it was overrun. Congress refused, and on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to communist North Vietnamese troops.

Future Democratic presidential candidates Jerry Brown was elected Governor of California to replace the retiring Ronald Reagan, and Michael Dukakis was elected Governor of Massachusetts.

Despite the elections strong Democratic tilt, future Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich nearly defeated Georgia Congressman Jack Flynt, who had never faced a difficult reelection since his election to Congress in 1954. Future U.S. President Bill Clinton ran for the House in Arkansas, but was defeated by the incumbent Republican by a narrow margin.