Republicans were expected to retain their majority in the House of Representatives by the slimmest of margins with Democrats gaining one or more seats, according to ABCNEWS projections.
Like the presidential race, the House races have been competitive, with the contests driven more by issues than strict partisanship. The fight for control of the House was played out in about three dozens races.
Republicans currently hold power in the House: 222 Republican seats compared to 209 Democrats and two independents (with two vacancies). That’s the slimmest majority since the Congress under President Dwight Eisenhower’s first term in 1953. Democrats would need seven seats to win back a majority.
Today, that did not look likely.
ABCNEWS projected Democrats to have won 211 seats with the Republicans at 220; two other seats of the total 435 were expected to go to third parties and the other two, in New Jersey’s 12th District and Florida’s 22nd District, were too close to call.
Republicans captured open Democratic seats in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Virginia and Michigan, while vulnerable incumbents pulled out wins in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana and North Carolina.
Democrats defeated incumbent California Republican James Rogan, a House prosecutor at President Clinton’s impeachment trial. In Arkansas, Democratic challenger Mike Ross beat incumbent Republican Jay Dickey and in Utah, the Republican open seat was won by Democrat Jim Matheson.
With such results, it might be the first time since the 1920s that Republicans held power in the House and the Senate for four consecutive congressional sessions, and if Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins the presidency, it would be the first time since 1953-55 that they would control the White House, Senate and House.
Some of the key races:
Closest House Races
Connecticut 5th District (D) Incumbent: Rep. Jim Maloney (D) Challenger: State Sen. Mark Neilsen (R)
In what was one of the ugliest campaigns in the Northeast, U.S. Rep. Jim Maloney (D) has come out on top in a rematch against his challenger, state Sen. Mark Neilsen (R), according to Voter News Service, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting. Democrats hoped that Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s coattails would ensure victory for Maloney, who barely pulled out a win against Neilsen in 1998, taking the seat by 50 percent to 48 percent. Rep. Maloney won the seat 54 percent to 44 percent.
New Jersey 7th District (R-Open) Candidates: Mike Ferguson (R) vs. Maryanne Connelly (D)
With all precincts reporting, Republican nominee Mike Ferguson, a 30-year-old former Bronx high school teacher, who lost a bid for the state’s 6th Congressional District in 1998, appears to have eked out a win in a district that covers some of New Jersey’s wealthier suburbs as well as working class and rural areas. With 100 percent of the vote in, Ferguson takes the race with 50 percent of the vote over his opponent, Maryanne Connelly with 47 percent.
New Jersey 12th District (D) Incumbent: Rep. Rush Holt (D) Challenger: Dick Zimmer (R)