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Republicans made inroads in heavily Democratic mid-Atlantic states Tuesday, picking up a hard-fought Senate seat in Pennsylvania and scoring a net increase of close to a dozen House seats, with almost half of them in New York state.
But Democrats won a significant victory in holding a Senate seat in West Virginia and, to a lesser extent, Delaware, where the party also made one of its rare pickups of a House seat.
The Keystone State provided some of the most fertile ground for the GOP on Election Day. In the expensive and bitter Senate race, former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) edged out Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak for the seat now held by longtime Sen. Arlen Specter, a former Republican who switched parties and lost to Sestak in the primary.
Meanwhile, Sestak’s suburban Philadelphia House seat fell to Pat Meehan (R), a former U.S. Attorney who bested Iraq war veteran Bryan Lentz.
Elsewhere in the state, 13-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski lost his race to Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, a Republican who had challenged the Democratic incumbent in two previous races.
A number of Democrats who were swept into office during the previous two elections also fell Tuesday. Rep. Patrick Murphy lost to Mike Fitzpatrick (R), whom Murphy beat in 2006. Freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper fell to Mike Kelly (R), a car dealership owner in the largely rural 3rd district in the northwest corner of the state. And in the 10th district, Rep. Christopher Carney was defeated by Rep. Tom Marino (R), a former U.S. attorney.
But a number of targeted Democratic Members survived, included Rep. Mark Critz, who won a special election earlier this year to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D). Critz was in a rematch with Republican businessman Tim Burns in the 12th district, a working class area east of Pittsburgh.
Sophomore Rep. Jason Altmire also beat back a challenge from Keith Rothfus (R) in the 4th district in suburban Pittsburgh. And Rep. Tim Holden (D) held onto his seat in the south central part of the state that includes the capital of Harrisburg.
In the Empire State, Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo swamped Carl Paladino (R) in the gubernatorial contest and Senate Democratic incumbents Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand easily brushed aside their GOP challengers. But those victories at the top of the ticket did not boost a number of first- and second-term Democratic House Members, Republicans reclaimed some House seats they held before the 2006 and 2008 Democratic wave.
In the 19th district that snakes up the Hudson River valley, Rep. John Hall, a former rock musician, lost to GOP challenger Nan Hayworth, a retired ophthalmologist.
Rep. Scott Murphy (D), who won a special election last year for the seat previously held by Gillibrand, was defeated by Army veteran Chris Gibson (R) in the upstate 20th district. In central New York’s 24th district, Rep. Michael Arcuri (D) lost to businessman Richard Hanna, who had unsuccessfully challenged the incumbent in 2008.