Republicans nearing House majority, as vote tallies continue

In America


Republicans early Tuesday were on the cusp of winning back the House majority, after competitive races were settled in three states, pushing them to 215 seats, three shy of the number needed to clinch control.

The Washington Post reported projected victories on Monday or early Tuesday for Republican Rep. David Schweikert in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District; Republican Juan Ciscomani in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District; Republican Brandon Williams in New York’s 22nd Congressional District; and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District.

The Post has not reported a projected House majority for either party. The individual projected wins edged the GOP closer to the 218 seats necessary for a majority. Even as Republicans closed in on victory, GOP leaders were eyeing a narrow advantage — one that is shaping up to be much slimmer than many in the party had hoped. Democrats have won a sizable number of competitive races, causing disappointment and friction in the GOP.

Democrats have secured 205 seats so far, after The Post reported Monday that Andrea Salinas (D) was projected to win in Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District.

Vote counting continued one week after Election Day, in what has turned out to be a historic midterm year. Republicans are leading in six congressional districts where The Washington Post has not reported a projected winner, including four where they lead by at least five percentage points.

History shows the president’s party tends to suffer significant losses in midterm elections. But this year, Democrats have held their own in many key races. Some Republicans have seen this election season as underwhelming, given their expectations earlier this year of flipping scores of seats.

Republican leaders anticipate a final tally of 220 to 223 seats, a House majority and an increase from the 212 they held in January 2021, but significantly lower than estimates that they would win over two dozen, according to numerous House GOP campaign strategists. Over the weekend, The Post reported that Democrats were projected to retain control of the Senate, dashing Republican hopes of a complete takeover on Capitol Hill.

While many vulnerable Democratic incumbents were able to hold on and some of the party’s candidates flipped districts this cycle, the latest House race results made it clear that Democrats’ path to retaining a majority had shrunk considerably.

On Tuesday afternoon, Republicans are set to meet to debate and elect their leaders for the 118th Congress, which will be sworn in early next year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), who has sought the speakership for years, will be challenged by former House Freedom Caucus chair Andy Biggs (Ariz.), as the staunchly conservative group tries to prove that McCarthy cannot garner the 218 floor votes necessary to become speaker on Jan. 3.

McCarthy is expected to get the plurality of the secret ballot vote Tuesday, but the challenge from Biggs could force McCarthy to make concessions to ensure he clinches the top job next year in the vote on the House floor.

The Republicans who won Monday and Tuesday, except for Schweikert, belong to a more pragmatic group, a welcome sign for McCarthy, who worked throughout the primary to build a governing coalition. Ciscomani was a star recruit by McCarthy in a district where the House GOP campaign arm invested heavily.

But the wins don’t offset all of the unexpected GOP defeats across the country that, had they turned out differently, would have enabled Republicans to build a comfortable majority. A larger caucus could have given House Republicans more breathing room to navigate potentially fraught negotiations between far-right and moderate flanks of the conference.

Republicans also had their eye on other House leadership races. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) faces no challenge as he seeks to become GOP leader, the highest-ranking position for the party short of speaker. Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) is expected to be reelected as GOP conference chair, but she is facing competition from Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.), a Freedom Caucus member. One notable race will be for the third-ranking post on a majority leadership team, as Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Tom Emmer (Minn.) and Drew Ferguson (Ga.) seek to become GOP whip.

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

Read More: Republicans nearing House majority, as vote tallies continue

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