December 10, 2022

As the vote count continues, Republicans are closing in on the majority

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Republicans were poised to regain the House majority early Tuesday, with contested races in three states settled, pushing them to 215 seats, three shy of the number needed to seize control.

Washington Post, Republican Rep. David Schweigert in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District Expected Wins Monday or Early Tuesday; Republican Juan Ciscomani in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District; Republican Brandon Williams in New York’s 22nd Congressional District; and Republican Lori Chavez-Dremer in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District.

The Post did not report that any party has a majority in Parliament. Individual projected wins are close to the 218 seats needed for a majority. Even as Republicans closed in on victory, GOP leaders were tracking a narrow advantage — one that was shaping up to be much slimmer than many in the party expected. Democrats have won a significant number of competitive races, causing frustration and friction in the GOP.

Democrats have so far picked up 205 seats after The Post reported Monday that Andrea Salinas (D) will win Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District.

Counting continued a week after Election Day, making it a historic midterm year. Republicans lead in six congressional districts where the Washington Post does not predict a winner, including four with leads of at least five percentage points.

History shows that the president’s party tends to suffer significant losses in midterm elections. But this year, Democrats have caught themselves in several key races. Some Republicans saw this election season as too low, with their expectations flipping several places earlier this year.

Republican leaders expect 220 to 223 seats, a House majority, and an increase from the 212 seats they won in January 2021, but significantly less than their estimate of winning by two dozen, according to several House GOP campaign strategists. Over the weekend, The Post reported that Democrats Planned to retain control of the SenateRepublican hopes for a complete takeover of Capitol Hill.

While several vulnerable Democratic incumbents were able to hold on and some of the party’s candidates flipped districts this cycle, recent House race results have made it clear that Democrats’ path to retaining the majority has narrowed significantly.

On Tuesday afternoon, Republicans will meet to debate and select their leaders for the 118th Congress, which will take office early next year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), who has sought the speakership for years, will be challenged by former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (Ariz.) as the staunchly conservative group tries to prove McCarthy can’t muster 218 floor votes. Jan. 3 to become Speaker.

McCarthy is expected to win a plurality in a secret ballot on Tuesday, but Biggs’ challenge could force McCarthy to make concessions to ensure he gets the job next year in a House floor vote.

Republicans who won Monday and Tuesday, except for Schweigert, belong to a more pragmatic group, a welcome sign for McCarthy, who has worked throughout the primary to build a governing coalition. McCarthy is a star recruiter for McCarthy in a district where the House GOP campaign team has invested heavily.

But these wins don’t make up for unexpected GOP losses across the country that, had things turned out differently, Republicans could have built a comfortable majority. A larger caucus could have given House Republicans more breathing room to navigate potentially fraught negotiations between the far-right and moderate sides of the convention.

Republicans have their eyes on other House leadership races. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) faces no challenge as he seeks to become GOP leader. Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY) is expected to be re-elected as the GOP convention chair, but she will face independent caucus member Rep. Byron faces competition from Donalds (Fla.). A significant race will be for the third-ranking position on the 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.