GOP headed to keep­ing House con­trol


Repub­li­cans were on track to se­cure two more years of House con­trol Tues­day, as GOP law­mak­ers tri­umphed in dis­tricts in Florida and Vir­ginia that Democrats had hoped Don­ald Trump’s di­vi­sive com­ments would make their own.

Democrats de­feated two Florida GOP in­cum­bents, but their prospects for putting a big dent in House Repub­li­cans’ his­toric ma­jor­ity seemed in ques­tion in early re­sults. Repub­li­cans grabbed one Demo­cratic-held district north of Mi­ami, kept an­other in In­di­ana that Democrats hoped would sig­nal a po­lit­i­cal wave in their di­rec­tion, and were lead­ing in cru­cial races in Illi­nois and Michi­gan.

With the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date rous­ing op­po­si­tion in many sub­ur­ban and eth­ni­cally di­verse dis­tricts, Democrats were hop­ing to gain Repub­li­can-held seats in New Jersey, Ne­vada and Cal­i­for­nia. But they seemed all but cer­tain to fall short of the 30-seat ad­di­tion they needed to take com­mand of the House for the first time in six years. Democrats have gained that many seats in just five of the 35 elec­tions since World War II.

In Florida, fresh­man GOP Rep. Car­los Curbelo won a race that showed Trump’s dam­age to Repub­li­cans would be more limited than Democrats hoped. With around 7 in 10 of the Mi­ami-area district’s vot­ers His­panic, the race be­came one of the coun­try’s most ex­pen­sive with a price tag ex­ceed­ing $18 mil­lion, but Curbelo held on.

Vir­ginia fresh­man Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock did the same, keep­ing her seat in the sub­urbs of Wash­ing­ton de­spite Democrats’ re­lent­less at­tempts to tie her to Trump. The two sides spent more than $20 mil­lion on that con­test in a district of highly ed­u­cated, af­flu­ent vot­ers that both sides had viewed as vul­ner­a­ble to a Demo­cratic takeover.

“This could be a re­ally good night for Amer­ica,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis­con­sin, who won a 10th term, told sup­port­ers in his home­town of Janesville, Wis­con­sin.

While Trump hurt Repub­li­cans in some ar­eas, his ap­peal to work­ing­class white vot­ers and their an­tipa­thy to Hil­lary Clin­ton, Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val for pres­i­dent, was help­ing GOP can­di­dates in oth­ers. That could help Repub­li­cans limit an ero­sion of their ma­jor­ity in the cham­ber that could leave hard-line con­ser­va­tives with added clout to vex party lead­ers.

Florida, where court-or­dered re­dis­trict­ing cre­ated a bunch of com­pet­i­tive races, was also the site of Elec­tion Day’s first two de­feated in­cum­bents, in­clud­ing 12-term veteran Rep. John Mica, 73, in the Or­lando area. Demo­cratic chal­lenger Char­lie Crist, once the state’s Repub­li­can gov­er­nor, de­feated an­other GOP law­maker in St Peters­burg.

The GOP’s cur­rent 247-188 ma­jor­ity, which in­cludes three va­can­cies, is a high-water mark for House Repub­li­cans since the 270 mem­bers they had in 1931.


A se­cu­rity guard stands on the steps of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day.

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