House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority has shrunk in House, a shock to Democrats and pollsters who were projecting the California Democrat would expand her caucus after Tuesday’s election.
Democrats were optimistic they could flip roughly 10 seats but their expansion efforts came up short, especially in Texas, and they ended up losing seats in Flordia, Oklahoma, Minnesota and elsewhere.
As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, Democrats have won 208 seats compared to Republicans’ 192. Another 35 races have yet to be called.
Outstanding races are in New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere. When all those votes are counted, Republicans are optimistic their numbers could swell to 208 and beyond, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
What’s known is that Republicans have flipped at least seven seats from blue to red and an eighth seat in Michigan that was most recently occupied by a Libertarian. Here’s a snapshot of the GOP victories:
GOP gains in the House
- In Florida, Republican candidate Carlos Gimenez defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the 26th district. Republican Maria Elvira Salazar defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala in the 27th district.
- In Oklahoma, Republican Stephanie Bice unseated freshman Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn. Horn flipped the seat from red to blue last cycle.
- In South Carolina, freshman congressman Democrat Joe Cunningham was projected to lose his reelection to state GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, flipping South Carolina’s 1st District back to red.
- In Minnesota, Republican Michelle Fischbach ousted longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, toppling the powerful chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the most pro-Trump district held by a Democrat.
- In New Mexico, Republican Yvette Herrell defeated freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a freshman Democrat who flipped the 2nd Congressional seat from red to blue in 2018.
- In Iowa’s First Congressional District, Republican state representative and former TV news anchor Ashley Hinson defeated Democratic incumbent Abby Finkenauer.
- In West Michigan, Republican Peter Meijer, an Iraq war veteran whose grandfather started Meijer superstores, defeated Democrat Hillary Scholten, a former Department of Justice and nonprofit lawyer. The Third Congressional District was open after Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, did not seek reelection.
Republicans say more victories are on the horizon.
Party officials are most optimistic about reclaiming two seats in New York that Democrats flipped in 2018. Votes are still being counted but Republican Nicole Malliotakis has a notable lead over freshman Rep. Max Rose in the Staten Island-Brooklyn district. And former GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney was also ahead in the 22nd District seat she lost two years ago to Rep. Anthony Brindisi.
Democrats have gained two open seats in North Carolina thanks to redrawn congressional maps that favored them and will welcome Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning to their caucus in January.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos is confident Carolyn Bourdeaux will defeat Rich McCormick in Georgia’s 7th district — adding another pick up for Democrats.
Democrats also think they can hold onto many close races that have not been called and have two other possible pick-up opportunities by defeating Rep. Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey and Rep. Mike Garcia in California.
On a call Thursday afternoon with Democratic House members, Bustos expressed frustration with the polling and election forecasts that all pointed to House Democrats expanding their majority.
“I’m furious,” Bustos told her colleagues, according to a source familiar with the call. “Something went wrong here across the entire political world. Our polls, Senate polls, Gov polls, Presidential polls, Republican polls, public polls, turnout modeling, and prognosticators all pointed to one political environment – that environment never materialized.”