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Republicans projected to retain control of U.S. House

Nov. 7, 2012 at 2:10 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives will remain dominated by Republicans, results of Tuesday's congressional elections showed.

NBC, ABC and CNN projected the Democrats would fall short of the 25 seats they needed to wrest control of the House from the GOP.

Republicans held a commanding 240-190 edge going into the elections and five House seats were vacant (two that had been Republican seats and three Democratic seats), NBC said while projecting Republicans would finish the night with 239 seats and Democrats holding 196.

House Republican leaders said the outcome showed the country had not fully swung to the Democrats, who maintained control of the Senate and the White House, NBC reported.

"The American people want solutions, and tonight they responded by renewing our House Republican majority," House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said after he won re-election unopposed. "With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there's no mandate for raising tax rates. What Americans want are solutions that will ease the burdens on small businesses, bring jobs home and let our economy grow.

"If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs."

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, spoke in that same vein.

"Just as in 2010, our House Republican candidates listened to the American people and rejected the Democrats' tax-and-spend agenda that threatens the American Dream," said Sessions, who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Paul Ryan lost his bid to become vice president and Obama carried his home state of Wisconsin, but the Republican Party's rising star retained his House seat, NBC said.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California also won re-election.

"Democrats never really were poised to pick up a significant number of seats, [and] their momentum was always more of a mirage," David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, said even before the polls closed.

A Democratic strategist had said the combination of a tightened national environment, retirements and redistricting made major net gain less likely.

President Obama won in Iowa but his coattails were not long enough to help a couple of Democratic House candidates in the battleground state. Republican Rep. Steve King was re-elected to a sixth term in the 4th District over Christie Vilsack, wife of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and in the 6th District, which pitting two incumbents due to redistricting, Republican Tom Latham defeated Democrat Leonard Boswell.

In Minnesota, two Republican House members were having trouble winning another term. One-time GOP presidential candidate and Tea Party stalwart Michele Bachmann was clinging to her District 6 seat to Democratic challenger Jim Graves by a 341-vote margin with 68 percent of the votes counted. In the 8th District, Rep. Chip Cravaack, who upset longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar two years ago, was trailing Democrat Rick Nolan, a former congressman, 48.7 percent to 51 percent with 32 percent of the precincts counted.

In Georgia, all 13 House incumbents won, including Republican Doug Collins, who took the one open seat, leaving the delegation tied 7-7.

Rep. Greg Walden was the only GOP House candidate to win in Oregon, handily defeating Democrat Joyce Segers in District 2. Democrats Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader won their races easily.

All 11 incumbents, eight of them Republicans who included House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, won re-election in Virginia, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

In Florida's 18th District, Rep. Allen West, a conservative black Republican and Tea Party favorite, was in a close and expensive battle with challenger Patrick Murphy, The Palm Beach Post reported. Campaign spending in the race had reached $23 million.

In Vermont, Democratic Rep. Peter Welch won re-election in a walk, defeating Republican Mark Donka, 72 percent to 23 percent, with almost all votes counted.

Party control may not have changed in the U.S. House this year, but the 2012 congressional elections featured a surge of minority candidates, Politico reported.

There were 49 Latino candidates running for the House of Representatives and 21 Asian-Americans seeking seats.

In addition, Republicans were looking to elect the party's first African-American woman to the House. Mayor Mia Love of Saratoga Springs, Utah, was attempting to unseat six-term Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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