Redistricting, open-seat victories and a surprisingly strong performance in New York State returned the GOP to power. But President Joe Biden’s mediocre approval ratings and a lackluster economy have largely failed to propel Republican candidates over the tried Democratic members and a larger majority. In the end, only six Democratic incumbents fell.
In a statement late Wednesday, Biden praised the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthywho is set to be the next speaker, on the GOP victory: “I congratulate Leader McCarthy on the Republicans who won the majority in the House, and I stand ready to work with the Republicans in the House to achieve results for working families.”
For his part, McCarthy has talked about using the GOP’s newfound power to contain the Biden administration.
“Think for a moment. It’s official,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “One-party Democratic rule in Washington is over. We fired Nancy Pelosi.
Democrats held out hope of retaining the House for part of the summer and fall as voters raged against the Republican Party at the end of Roe vs. Wade. But while the abortion issue gave Democrats a boost with voters and helped even out what had developed into a Republican year, it wasn’t enough to completely halt the GOP’s gains.
Republicans only needed five seats to take control of the House. The party picked up early wins on election night in Florida, where strong performances topped Governor Ron DeSantis and the senator. marco rubio — coupled with an aggressively gerrymandered new congressional map — helped the GOP add more seats.
Those early wins didn’t translate to many of the nation’s most competitive districts. A number of endangered Democratic incumbents survived, including Representatives. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Chris Dads of New Hampshire, and the party won open seats in states including Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Yet the Republicans won a resounding victory over the DCCC chairman Sean Patrick Maloney in upstate New York, one of many pickups in the state. Republican Marc Molinaro won a seat that included much of the territory he lost in a summer special election. And all of Long Island turned red as Republicans George Santos and Anthony D’Esposito captured blue-tilted open seats.
And the GOP was also successful in flipping the seats in Virginia, where Jen Kiggans unseated the representative. Elaine Luria; Arizona where Eli Crane defeated Rep. Tom O’Halleran; New Jersey, where Tom Kean Jr. beat Rep. Tom Malinowski; and Iowa where Zach Nunn beat Rep. Cindy Axne.
Republicans also won vacant seats in Arizona, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. But most of those districts were seats that Democrats walked away from, thinking they had no chance of keeping in 2022. Several of them ended up among the closest contests.
In Michigan, Republican John James, a highly touted rookie, beat an underfunded Democrat by less than a point. In Arizona, Republican Juan Ciscomani had a much tighter-than-expected contest with Democrat Kirsten Engel. Both contests saw little to no outside spending by Democratic groups.
Democrats retaliated in some places, not just limiting their losses, but flipping GOP-held districts in Michigan and Washington state, two places where Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump lost in the primaries. Democrats were able to beat possible far-right candidates in the general election.
Democratic candidates have also gunned down representatives. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Yvette Herrel (RN.M.) in seats that have become bluer thanks to cutting. But it was not enough to avoid a reversal of the House.
Another California race was called Wednesday night: Rep. mike levina Democrat, won another term in the state’s 49th district.
Also, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) was declared the winner of his race. Maine uses a ranked voting system.
Seven House races remain unnamed: one in Alaska, one in Colorado and five in California. Democrats lead in four of them.
Olivia Olander contributed to this report.