1982 Midterm Elections

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In the midterm elections of 1982, the Democratic Party increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives by 27 seats while the margin in the U.S. Senate remained the same with a Republican majority.

The nation was in a deep recession and Democrats campaigned on defending the government services the Reagan administration wanted to cut. The elections forced President Reagan to compromise with liberal and moderate Democrats rather than counting on Republicans and conservative Democrats to pass legislation. Republicans made up some of the ground they lost with Reagan's landslide reelection in 1984, gaining 16 House seats.

Democrats also gained seven governorships, including future Democratic President Bill Clinton who had been defeated for reelection in Arkansas in 1980. Future Republican presidential nominee John McCain was elected to Congress in Arizona. Future Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was elected to the House in Nevada.