2012 Elections May Have Striking Effects on Our Oceans

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On November 7 the American people woke up to a post-election Washington, D.C., that looks an awful lot like pre-election Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama earned a four-year extension on his lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic colleagues retained their hold on the Senate, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and his Republican colleagues still control the agenda in the House of Representatives.

Despite historically bad approval ratings for Congress, which actually dipped down into the single digits as recently as last month, 21 of the 22 senators seeking re-election held onto their offices in general elections—10 others retired, and one incumbent lost in a primary election. And with four House seats still awaiting decisions as of this writing, only 25 of the 382 incumbent representatives in general elections lost their races—40 others retired, and 13 were beaten in primary elections—and five of them were running against other incumbents as a result of redistricting changes.

Yet even with the outward appearance of status quo, a deeper look inside the results of the recent elections shows that when a few key seats change hands, the effects on our oceans and coasts may be striking. There are some new obstacles to overcome, as well as some great opportunities to cultivate new leaders who will prioritize these issues in the 113th Congress.

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