Democratic House Pickups Yet to Reach Double Digits

Posted November 4, 2008 at 11:20pm

Democrats appear to have gained at least eight House seats Tuesday evening and are leading in another 11 races, ensuring House Republicans’ woes might not be nearly as bad as forecasted this cycle.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) won his re-election in his suburban Chicago over marketing consultant Dan Seals (D). And in their second New Jersey hold of the night, House Republicans held onto the open 3rd district seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R).

Republicans not only have taken back the seats currently held by Reps. Don Cazayouz (D-La.) and Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), but GOP candidates are also leading in Texas’ 22nd district and Kansas’ 2nd district, where Reps. Nick Lampson and Nancy Boyda are fighting for re-election, respectively.

But that doesn’t mean Democrats have not had their spoils so far. Businesswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D) defeated Rep. Phil English (R), 52 percent to 48 percent, with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

In an upset over a well-known opponent, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) held onto his northeastern Pennsylvania seat. In most public polls, Kanjorski trailed his opponent, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta (R), by several points. The Associated Press called the race for Karjorski, who defeated Barletta, 52 to 48 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting.

In Arizona, former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) picked up an open seat for Democrats by defeating anti-tax activist Sydney Hay (R). And as expected, Democrats also picked up retiring Rep. Vito Fossella’s (R) seat with the victory of New York City Councilman Michael McMahon (D). Republicans held the seat of retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Gerry Connolly (D) defeated businessman Keith Fimian (R) in Northern Virginia, while the contests in the 2nd and 5th districts involving GOP incumbents were too close to call for Democrats in other parts of the commonwealth.