Republicans’ strategy to expand the House playing field late in the cycle appears to have been successful. Republican Bill Johnson defeated Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) in the Ohio’s 6th district, a race that only came on the map this fall.<p>As of 11 p.m., Democrats had picked up two GOP-held seats: Delaware’s at-large district and the seat held by Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (La.).
The only question that now remains is how large the Republican majority will be in the 112th Congress. Dozens of battleground races have yet to be called, including several contests on the West Coast, where polls are only now closing.
Republicans are well on their way to securing enough seats to take the House majority after a slew of early victories in territory that Democrats needed to hold.
As of 10 p.m., several news outlets were projecting that the House would return to GOP control in the 112th Congress. <p>At Democratic National Committee headquarters, Chairman Tim Kaine told reporters that the House looked ready to flip to Republican control.
“Maybe it is a message from the American public,” he said during a press briefing Tuesday night. “We’ve got a Democrat in the White House, we’ll have maybe a majority of Republican governors, we’ll have a Democratic Senate, a Republican House.”
Losses in the past hour by Democratic veterans such as Reps. Allen Boyd (Fla.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Chet Edwards (Texas), as well as Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), have added to an early flood of GOP victories on the East Coast, which should give Republicans more than the 39 seats needed to take over the House.
Four hours after the first polls closed, several Great Lakes states will now become the focus of race watchers as Democrats are trying to hold territory such as the open seat in Michigan’s 1st district and the seats of freshman Reps. Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. In Illinois, Democrats hope to pick up the open 10th district, but that victory is likely to be offset by the defeat of Democratic Reps. Debbie Halvorson and Phil Hare.
Democrats got a small bit of good news from Rep. Joe Donnelly’s victory in Indiana. His district had been closely watched early in the night, but Republican officials said privately Tuesday that his seat was always a stretch.
Although Republicans are getting a big boost from their early victories in Florida and Virginia, the Carolinas could also prove to be a rare bright spot for Democrats if current results hold.
In North Carolina, Democratic incumbents were leading by high single digits in all three of the races that Republicans had talked about targeting this year.<p>In South Carolina, veteran Rob Miller (D) is neck and neck with Rep. Joe Wilson (R), while Rep. John Spratt (D) still seems to be in the fight in a district that he has held for 14 terms.
Three hours after the first polls closed on the East Coast, the first cracks in the Democrats’ House majority became evident as incumbents began to fall.
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