Looming Republican House Majority as Vote Counts Continue

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Republican

Early Tuesday, competitive elections in three states were settled in favor of Republicans. This gave them 215 seats, just three short of taking control of the House.

Republican
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the U.S. Capitol on February 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. [Al Drago/Getty Images]

Republican projected victories

According to the Washington Post, Republican Rep. David Schweikert will win Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, Republican Juan Ciscomani will win Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, Republican Brandon Williams will win New York’s 22nd Congressional District, and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer will win Oregon’s 5th Congressional District.

The Post has yet to state which party is anticipated to control the House. With each expected win, the GOP moved closer to the 218 seats needed for a majority. Even as they came closer to victory, GOP officials searched for a tiny advantage, far smaller than many in the party had hoped. As a result, the Democrats have won many close races, which has upset and upset the GOP.

Democrats have won 205 seats thus far. The Washington Post reported Monday that Andrea Salinas (D) was expected to win Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District.

One week after Election Day, when Republicans had won 215 seats, the votes were still being counted. This was a historic midterm year. Although the Washington Post has not forecast a winner in six congressional districts, Republicans are ahead in those districts. Instead, they lead by at least five percentage points in four districts.

Republican
U.S. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) at the U.S. Capitol on June 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. [Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images]

Shattered hopes of Capitol Hill takeover

In midterm elections, the president’s party typically loses many votes. However, the Democrats have done well in several key races this year. For example, some Republicans have been unhappy with the election season because they expected to flip many seats before the year began.

GOP officials believe they will end up with 220 to 223 seats, up from 212 in January 2021. This would give them a majority in the House, but it is far less than the nearly two dozen seats that many House GOP campaign strategists predicted they would win. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the Democrats were likely to preserve control of the Senate. This would effectively end the GOP’s prospects of gaining control of Capitol Hill.

Although many vulnerable Democratic incumbents could retain their seats and some of the party’s candidates swapped districts this election cycle, the latest House race results made it evident that the Democrats’ chances of retaining the majority had dwindled significantly.

Republicans will meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss and nominate their leaders for the 118th Congress, which will convene early next year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) has been attempting to become a speaker for years. Former House Freedom Caucus head Andy Biggs (Ariz.) will run against McCarthy to demonstrate that he lacks the 218-floor votes required to become a speaker on January 3.

McCarthy is poised to make the most votes in Tuesday’s secret ballot vote, but Biggs’ challenge could compel McCarthy to make compromises to secure the top job next year in a vote on the House floor.

Except for Schweikert, the Republicans who won on Monday are more pragmatic. This is excellent news for McCarthy, who worked hard throughout the primary to establish a pool of people who could work together to run the government. McCarthy recognized Ciscomani as a star candidate in a district where the House GOP spent much on campaigning.

Republican
U.S. Congressman Byron Donalds (FL-19) at The 2022 Concordia Annual Summit – Day 1 at Sheraton New York on September 19, 2022 in New York City. [Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit]

However, the victories do not make for all of the surprise GOP losses around the country that, if they had gone differently, would have helped the party construct a solid majority. If they had done so, they would have had more opportunity to negotiate between the conference’s far-right and moderate factions, which could have been tough.

Republicans were also interested in other leadership positions in the House. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) faces no opposition in his attempt to become Republican leader, the party’s second-highest position behind the speaker. Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) is expected to be re-elected as GOP conference chair, but she will be challenged by Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.), a Freedom Caucus member. Reps. Jim Banks (Ind. ), Tom Emmer (Minn.), and Drew Ferguson (Ga.) are all vying for GOP whip, the third-highest post on the majority leadership team.

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