Democrats took a drubbing in Tuesday’s midterm elections, which turned out to be a major victory for Republican candidates across the board -- even for those with some seriously wacky histories. Here’s a breakdown of the winners whose past remarks may surprise you.
During the 2011 protests against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union crusade, Grothman called those occupying the state Capitol “slobs" and "hangers-on having a party." His more recent doozies include waging a war on weekends via a proposal to roll back Wisconsin’s law requiring employers to give workers at least one day off per week. Grothman has also proposed banning Wisconsin public school teachers from recognizing different sexual orientations out of fear that such discussion could be part of an "agenda" to turn students gay. And last year, he called Planned Parenthood "the most overtly racist organization." The list goes on.
Welcome to Washington, Rep. Grothman.
Gov. Paul LePage. Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage overcame a promising challenge from veteran Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, who would’ve become the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States. But surprisingly, voters chose to stick with LePage, whose record includes telling the NAACP to “kiss [his] butt,” and comparing the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo. LePage has also defended the use of the chemical BPA in bottles, saying that worst case scenario, “some women may have little beards.” And he’s advised students to “go to private schools,” if they want a good education. “If you can’t afford it,” he said, tough luck.” Again, the list goes on.
How did this man win? Interestingly, Ebola became a flashpoint late in the campaign, with voters receptive to LePage’s hard stance on a nurse’s self-quarantine after she returned to the state from treating patients in West Africa. LePage vowed to use “the full extent of his authority allowable by law” to keep her away from the public. Meanwhile, the Obama administration criticized harsh policies for healthcare workers fighting the Ebola epidemic. Though Obama didn’t mention the nurse during his trip last week to stump for Michaud, the Democrat -- like most candidates this election cycle -- probably could have fared better with more distance from the White House.
Rep. Michael Grimm. Voters in New York's 11th Congressional District re-elected Republican Rep. Michael Grimm from Staten Island over Democratic challenger, Domenic M. Recchia Jr. “They hit me with everything they had,” said Grimm, a former FBI agent, during Tuesday’s celebration, “but we’re here tonight, victorious.”
The race, however, was not without a few hits -- or at least, threatened hits -- from Grimm himself. In one of the craziest moments caught on tape, the two-term congressman went after NY1 reporter Michael Scotto earlier this year, after Scotto asked him about a federal investigation into Grimm's 2010 campaign fundraising.
"Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f-cking balcony," said Grimm to a visibly shaken Scotto. “You're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
Grimm later laughed off the incident during a debate. "Sometimes I get my Italian up," he said.
Jody Hice. The radio talk show host and Southern Baptist minister will be the next U.S. Representative for the 10th district of Georgia, edging out a victory over attorney Ken Dious. Hice’s greatest hits include mistaking a satirical essay for a confession that the gay community was trying to recruit and sodomize children. He also blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on America’s “kicking God out of the public square.” And he said that a woman could enter politics as long as she was “within the authority of her husband.”
To be fair, Hice is replacing GOP Rep. Paul Broun, who infamously called biology "lies straight from the pit of hell." So perhaps Hice felt he had big shoes to fill on the outrage-front.