Dems Take the House, But Virginia Key to Senate Control

In the wake of the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, President Bush called Speaker-in-waiting Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this morning to congratulate her and to extend an olive branch by inviting her to lunch with him tomorrow at the White House.

Earlier today, Democrats took control of the House, picking up between 28 and 36 seats. But the Senate remains up for grabs, hanging on a few thousand votes, as Virginia's hotly contested race is too close to call.

In Virginia, Democrat Jim Webb declared victory over Republican Sen. George Allen an hour before Allen told his supporters that the vote count would continue into today.

There are no automatic recounts in Virginia, but state law allows a candidate who finishes half a percentage point or less behind to request one. With a margin greater than half a point but less than one percentage point, the trailing candidate can also seek a recount.

Jean Jensen, secretary of the state Board of Elections in Virginia, told ABC News that if a recount is requested, it would not start until Nov. 28 because of the state's elaborate set of rules and laws governing the vote certification and recount processes.

Barring the unexpected, Pelosi will become Speaker of the House of Representatives -- and third in line for the presidency -- come January.

"I think we can work together for the next two years," Bush told Pelosi in his congratulatory phone call. She told the president, "Your success is our success," expressing a desire to work with the White House in a bipartisan fashion.

Meanwhile, Democrats have gained a majority of the nation's governor's seats for the first time in 12 years. There will be Democrats in 28 statehouses, reversing the advantage the Republicans currently hold.

Anger Over Iraq

In exit polls, voters made it clear that while they were voting in local races, their concerns were national -- many of them trying to send the White House a message about the war in Iraq.

So far, there is not a single House, Senate or governor's race in which a Republican is projected to have ousted a Democrat, although many Republican incumbents were easily returned to office.

President Bush has not yet commented on the election, calling a news conference for today at 1 p.m. ET. "We're disappointed with the verdict in the House," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "You'll hear from the president at the press conference."

She added, "The Senate is too close to call for us to make any broad judgments, but we are liking the position we are in."

Major Races, High Stakes

A few of the headliners:

RHODE ISLAND: In a close Senate race, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse beat the Republican incumbent, Sen. Lincoln Chafee. Chafee had distanced himself from the Bush White House, and polls show that 62 percent of Rhode Islanders approved of his performance -- but in a heavily Democratic state, people were voting for change. Sixty-three percent of those polled said they wanted Democrats running the U.S. Senate.

PENNSYLVANIA: Democrat Robert Casey unseated incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum, the No. 3 person in the Senate's Republican leadership. Exit polls show voters were disgruntled with Republican leadership, especially on the war in Iraq.

TENNESSEE: This went Republican, with Bob Corker squeezing out a victory over Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. The seat had been held by Bill Frist, who is stepping down as Senate Majority Leader.

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