20 TARP supporters lose in Congressional election

Twenty legislators who voted in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the 2008 legislation that created TARP, lost re-election campaigns Tuesday.

They join five other legislators who also backed TARP but lost earlier this year in primary attempts.

Those results, combined with the 11 TARP supporters who were ousted by voters in 2008, bring the total number of TARP backers booted from office to 36. (That figure includes two TARP "yes" voters who were defeated in primaries in 2008 prior to casting their votes).

Incumbents who voted against TARP fared better Tuesday night than those who voted for it, losing just 10 general election races. Additionally, no TARP opponents lost election in the primaries this year.

Use the database below to search through the incumbents who lost in 2008 and 2010 and see how they voted on TARP.

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In a post-election breakfast Wednesday sponsored by National Journal, several politicians explained the role TARP -- the acronym for the Troubled Asset Relief Program -- played in electoral outcomes.

"I think TARP and the stimulus demonstrates that people don't appreciate what you stopped them from having to endure," said retiring Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), who opted not to seek re-election, as reported in the Huffington Post.

But it's worth noting that the 22 House incumbents who lost in primary and general elections this year were all re-elected in 2008 -- the same year they backed TARP.

The results likely say more about anti-Democratic sentiment than anti-TARP sentiment. The president's party typically performs poorly in mid-term elections, and this year was no exception. Republicans picked up 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate.

All but one of those defeated House TARP-supporters -- Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who lost in his primary this year -- were Democrats. And 10 Democrats in Congress who opposed TARP lost anyway.

But the TARP votes did give extra ammunition to those running against Democrats who supported the bailout.

For example, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), didn't even face a challenger in his general election in 2008, which was held just weeks after he voted for TARP. But this year, the 14-term congressman was defeated by Republican Morgan Griffith, who linked Boucher to Obama and "big bailouts" in this ad (which fails to mention that TARP was passed under President Bush, not Obama).

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.), a three-term congressman, won an election two years ago shortly after the TARP vote. But just a few weeks ago, he conceded in an interview that the TARP vote may have hurt him politically this time around.

"It may cost me votes," he told the Dallas Morning News. "It may cost me an election. But it was the right thing to do."

The most famous victim of TARP was Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who voted for the bailout program and was defeated in his party's primary earlier this year. The vote became an major problem for him during his primary race (see this ad from the Club for Growth), and he also fought off inaccurate allegations that he supported President Obama's stimulus package. He ultimately lost his primary battle, and Tea Party favorite Mike Lee, a Republican, will now take over Bennett's old seat.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who also voted for TARP, was criticized for that stance in her race as well (see this ad from a Democratic primary opponent). Although she survived her primary challenge, she ultimately lost in the general election to a Republican.

For Lincoln and Bennett, the elections were the first after the TARP vote, because Senators are only every six years.

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