House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall
Posted at 7:07 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2012
Updated 1:45 a.m. | House Republicans were wiped out in the Northeast in Tuesday’s elections, especially in New England, where there won’t be a single GOP Member returning to Congress next year.
A Democratic duo, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and attorney Ann McLane Kuster, won House seats in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) fended off tough challenges from GOP opponents. Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty narrowly won an open-seat race in Connecticut’s 5th district, holding the seat for Democrats.
In the Empire State, two Republican freshmen lost re-election: Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election last year, lost her bid for a full term, marking one of her party’s only disappointments in the region.
The GOP losses in New England were offset by gains in the South — Republicans picked up five seats across North Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Republicans also had a good night in races against their colleagues. Reps. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) prevailed in their respective Member-vs.-Member contests. A third Member-vs.-Member race in Louisiana between two Republicans will head to a runoff on Dec. 1.
Democrats knocked off freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco in Texas and appeared headed toward beating Rep. Allen West in Florida.
So far, neither party had added or subtracted a large number of House seats from its current total for next Congress. About two-thirds of House races have picked a winner, according to the Associated Press.
Democrats are poised to pick up more seats in the next hour as results come in from California and Nevada. Democrats expressed confidence in California, in particular, over the past couple of weeks.
Updated 11:56 p.m. | The redistricting pen proved powerful tonight in House races, helping the parties who controlled the process in each state — usually Republicans.
Republicans led the mapmaking process in several key states, redrawing the boundaries to their party’s advantage. As a result, the GOP picked up three House seats in North Carolina, where their party redrew the lines in one of the most controversial maps of the cycle.
The GOP also picked up the sought-after 12th district in southwestern Pennsylvania, where Rep. Mark Critz lost, plus the 2nd district in Indiana. House Republicans won three open seats in Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Carolina. The GOP controlled redistricting in all of these states.
Republicans also kept three competitive House seats in Florida, another state where they held the redistricting pen. But Democrats picked up an open seat and defeated Rep. David Rivera (R) in the Sunshine State.
House Democrats ran the table in Illinois, where the party carved a Congressional map that could yield as many as a handful of seats. The party picked up at least three of those seats, and the Democratic nominee leads in another race.
At least one Democratic incumbent thwarted a GOP redraw: The GOP’s attempt to oust Rep. John Barrow (Ga.) with their redraw of his district failed. Similarly, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) leads his opponent by a slim margin that’s too close for the Associated Press to call.
Democrats held two Iowa House seats. but Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) lost to Rep. Tom Latham in a matchup forced by redistricting. Former first lady Christie Vilsack (D) also lost her bid to unseat Rep. Steve King (R) in a heavily targeted race.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s prospects might improve later this evening. The polls just closed in California, where House Democrats are expected to pick up a few seats. A bipartisan redistricting board redrew the map there, creating opportunities for Democrats in new seats or districts held by Republicans.
Updated 10:13 p.m. | Democrats began to even the score with Republicans in the battle for House seats as Eastern states began reporting their results.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) lost his bid for a an 11th term to businessman John Delaney (D), marking the first House Republican to lose re-election today. Attorney Ann McLane Kuster (D) appears to be on track to defeat Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) with 31 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
But House Republicans nabbed three seats already from Democrats in Kentucky and North Carolina. Republicans anticipate there will be more to come tonight.
“Andy Barr’s won, and that’s definitely a pickup,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said, reflecting on the results so far at tonight’s GOP victory party in Washington, D.C. “And we’re looking for other results across country. It seems and appears we are holding our own, and we’re looking forward to enjoying the evening.”
Updated 9:06 p.m. | NBC News and CNN projected Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) will keep his gavel in the next Congress, as Republicans have picked up three House seats so far tonight.
Attorney Andy Barr (R) defeated Rep. Ben Chandler (D) in Kentucky’s 6th district, marking the first incumbent to lose re-election tonight.
In North Carolina, Republicans picked up an open seat in the 13th district with the victory of former U.S. Attorney George Holding (R). House Republicans also picked up retiring Rep. Heath Shuler’s (D) seat on the western side of the Tar Heel State.
Two Republicans closely affiliated with the tea party movement, large-animal veterinarian Ted Yoho and Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, won their House seats in Florida and Kentucky, respectively.
Polls closed in several more states at 9 p.m.: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Updated 8:07 p.m. | Polls closed in 17 states at 8 p.m., including several with competitive House races such as Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
In Kentucky, where polls closed starting 90 minutes ago, Rep. Ben Chandler (D) trailed his opponent, attorney Andy Barr (R) by 7 points, with 31 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Chandler defeated Barr by 647 votes in the closest House campaign of the 2010 cycle.
In Indiana, Iraq War veteran Brendan Mullen (D) leads former state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) leads by double digits with 42 percent of precincts reporting. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) vacated this northern Indiana House seat to run for Senate.
In southern Indiana, Rep. Larry Bucshon (R) leads former state Rep. Dave Crooks (D) by about 6 points with 34 percent of precincts reporting.
In Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio, precincts started to report results with no clear lead yet for candidates in competitive House races.
In other races that have been called at this point, the top two GOP House leaders were re-elected. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) won an easy victory in his suburban Richmond district while Speaker John Boehner (R) was uncontested on the ballot in Ohio. The GOP is expected to easily hold its House majority tonight.
6:51 p.m. | It’s the start of what could be a very long night for House Democrats.
Over the next hour, polls close in nine states, including several with targeted House races: Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia.
Out of that crop of states, operatives are closely watching the competitive re-election races of Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), plus the Member-vs.-Member matchup between Reps. Betty Sutton (D) and Jim Renacci (R) in Ohio.
Pre-election surveys shows the partisan makeup of that chamber is not expected to change drastically in the next Congress. But House Democrats have lowered expectations for Election Day gains in recent weeks.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee insisted for most of the cycle that the party could win the 25 seats necessary to gain the Speaker’s gavel. But last weekend, Democratic operatives privately conceded that the party might not pick up any seats — or only a handful.
The party’s best prospects to pick up seats are in Western states, such as Arizona and California, where polls will not close until 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST, respectively.