By 3 a.m., the 2010 Republican wave had successfully erased all Democratic House gains from the 2006 and 2008 cycles, and the GOP was still picking up seats.
Reps. John Salazar (Colo.) and Ciro Rodriguez (Texas) were the latest Democrats in battleground districts to fall, and several more Democratic seats in Arizona, California and Washington look to be in danger. Republicans had netted a gain of at least 56 seats.
The final extent of GOP gains will now be determined by several of the least-expected battlefields of the 2010 cycle. Rep. James Oberstar’s was one of the late-breaking races of the cycle, and he now appears to be running behind Chip Cravaack (R) in Minnesota.
In an even more surprising race, Republican Blake Farenthold appears to have knocked off Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D) in Texas. Oberstar was added to GOP target lists during the final month of the campaign, and Ortiz became part of the discussion only in the final weeks. <p>Elsewhere, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) pulled out a victory over Morgan Philpot (R) in a contest that was on hardly anyone’s target list this fall.
In a rare bit of good news for Democrats, the Associated Press “un-called” Georgia’s 2nd district, where state Rep. Mike Keown had been declared the winner over Rep. Sanford Bishop (D). The latest reports show Bishop with a several-thousand-vote lead.
Democrats also helped stem their losses by holding the seats of Oregon Reps. David Wu and Kurt Schrader, two seats that were targeted by Republicans.<p><b>1:30 a.m.</b><p>As of 1 a.m., House Republicans had eclipsed the party’s 1994 gains, with about 20 competitive races yet to be called.
Republicans have netted at least 56 seats in the House, four more than the 52 seats that the party gained during the Republican Revolution that swept it to power 16 years ago. Republican insiders are now wondering whether the party might even be within reach of hitting the all-time record achieved in 1938 when Democrats lost 71 seats during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.
By midnight, Democratic House seats were falling across the map, with Republicans making key gains in New York, Wisconsin and Michigan, in seats where both national parties spent heavily. In Arkansas’ open 1st district seat, where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent nearly $1.8 million trying to hold the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry, Democrat Chad Causey conceded defeat just minutes after Republicans declared victory in taking control of the House.
Democrats were unable to secure victories in places where they hoped to play offense, including Illinois’ open 10th district seat in Chicago and South Florida’s open 25th district seat.
Some Democrats, including Rep. Ben Chandler (Ky.), are still fighting in battleground districts.<p>If Chandler holds on, he will be one of the few targeted Democrats from the coal-rich Ohio River Basin who wins.