1958 Midterm Elections

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In the midterm election of 1958, the Democratic Party gained 49 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 16 seats in the U.S. Senate from the Republican Party, cementing their majorities. Democrats also picked up six governorships and 686 state legislative seats.

Democrats had a narrow majority in both Houses of Congress, while there was a Conservative Coalition between Republicans and southern Democrats. Following his landslide reelection in 1956, the aging President Eisenhower's popularity began to wane. The deep 1957-1958 recession and anger among organized labor because of right-to-work laws led to strong Democratic gains that arguably paved the way for the Great Society. Democrats also attacked Republicans for desegregating public schools. Eisenhower's credibility was further weakened by the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik, and Republicans found themselves on defence.

Republicans never came close to regaining control of the House until 1994 and the Senate until 1980.

Despite Democrat John F. Kennedy's presidential victory over Richard M. Nixon, Democrats still lost 20 House seats in 1960.