The GOP wave began with the defeat of Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in Virginia’s 9th district and key Democratic loses in Southern Indiana. Early in the night, the wave gained momentum with GOP victories in Tennessee and Ohio. More recently, the Associated Press called West Virginia’s open 1st district seat for the GOP.<p>In all those races, the controversial cap-and-trade bill became a key issue for Republicans to attack Democrats with. In fact, the cap-and-trade measure, which never saw a vote in the Senate, may well have been the difference between major GOP gains in the House and more limited GOP gains in the Senate.
Among the other Democratic incumbents defeated Tuesday was Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), a leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition. Herseth Sandlin fell to state Rep. Kristi Noem in a race that was a top priority for both parties. Herseth Sandlin’s loss means Republicans swept the Dakotas on Tuesday, as Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) lost earlier in the evening.
Riding a wave of voter discontent, Republicans swept control of the House on Tuesday — surging past the 39-seat net gain needed to make John Boehner the next Speaker.
“For far too long Washington has been doing what’s best for Washington and not what’s best for the American people. And tonight that begins to change,” the Ohio Republican said at a GOP victory party at a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
Boehner, who later choked back tears, added: “This is not a time for celebration. This is a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”
Republicans are on their way to outperform pre-Election Day predictions and could see their gains surge into the 60s before the night is done.
The Great Lakes region and the South have proved to be especially difficult for Democratic candidates and entrenched veteran Democrats such as Reps. Gene Taylor (Miss.) and John Spratt (S.C.).
In some states such as Georgia and Illinois, Republicans won every competitive seat in the state, and Pennsylvania has also proved to be a particularly tough state for Democrats.
The early loss of 14-term Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) was a sign that the night was going sour for Democrats, but the full extent of the losses may not be known for several more hours, as polls closed at 11 p.m. on the West Coast.
House Republicans are on the verge of completing a historic return to power as they continue to rack up victories and move closer to the 39-seat net gain necessary to flip the House.
With few exceptions, targeted Democrats have so far been unable to turn back the Republican wave. In the past hour, nearly a dozen Democrats have fallen, and Republicans have now picked up a net gain of more than 35 seats. The latest round of Democratic incumbents to fall includes veterans such as Reps. Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), John Spratt (S.C.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.), as well as targeted freshman such as Reps. John Adler (N.J.) and Frank Kratovil (Md.).