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GOP Projected to Pick Up Seats in Key House Races, On Track for Majority

Republican Party on track to claim majority in the House.

ByABC News
October 29, 2010, 10:34 AM

Nov. 2, 2010— -- Republican candidates in a handful of the country's most competitive House races appear poised to knock off Democratic incumbents tonight, based on early returns in 39 states.

The GOP was projected to pick up seats in districts from Virginia to Indiana, where Democratic incumbents won narrowly in 2008 and John McCain carried the presidential vote.

Long-time Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher was projected to lose to his Republican opponent in Virginia's 9th congressional district, a sign many pundits say reflects a big GOP win in the making. Other competitive Virginia races appeared headed in the same direction.

In Virginia's fifth district first-term Democrat Tom Perriello is projected to fall to Republican challenger Robert Hurt, despite repeated campaign appearances on his behalf by President Obama.

In Indiana, two of three GOP candidates in the state's most competitive races are projected to defeat their Democratic incumbent opponents.

"If the Democrats lose two out of three tough races in Indiana they are going to lose the House," predicted George Stephanopoulos, ABC News' chief Washington correspondent and co-anchor of "Good Morning America."

And in South Carolina, voters are projected to send Republican Tim Scott to Congress, the first African American Republican member of the House since J.C. Watts was elected in 1994 and retired in 2003.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tonight rejected numerous polls predicting a Republican landslide among House candidates and defiantly predicted that Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives.

"The early returns and overwhelming number of Democrats who are coming out – we're on pace to maintain a majority in the House of Representatives," Pelosi told reporters during a photo op in Washington.

2010 Election Maps: Follow the Senate, House and Governors' Races

Republicans need to win just 39 seats from Democrats to claim a 218-seat House majority, a feat ABC News' pre-election race ratings and many polls have shown to be easily within reach. More than 100 Democrat-held seats appeared vulnerable going into midterm Election Day, including 68 seats that either lean Republican or are toss-ups.