The Democrats rolled to bigger-than-expected gains in the House, defeating a flock of GOP first-termer and other incumbents and threatening the rest of President Reagan's domestic agenda.
At least 14 of the 51 freshmen elected with Reagan in 1980 were beaten Tuesday. In all, at least 24 GOP incumbents lost, including veterans Margaret Heckler of Massachusetts and Don Clausen and John Rousselot of California.
With nearly complete returns, the Democrats could pick up about 24 seats -- more than predicted -- and strengthen their present 241-192 margin in this Congress. Many of the newcomers were liberals.
The Democratic gain would be somewhat less than the average 31 in World War II mid-term elections for the party not holding the White House, but it still would cut deeply into the GOP-conservative Democrat coalition that gave Reagan about all he sought in his first two years.
House Republican leader Bob Michel won narrowly in Peoria, Ill., hard hit by unemployment, although it took most of the night to determine the winner. Five North Carolina Republicans funded by conservative Sen. Jesse Helms' Congressional Club -- including two who were favored -- lost.
Republicans lost in two key match-ups of incumbents caused by redistricting -- Mrs. Heckler, senior woman in Congress, to Democrat Barney Frank in the Boston suburbs, and Rousselot to Democrat Marty Martinez in a new Hispanic-majority district in California.
The entire House Democratic leadership, including Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., were re-elected. Rep. Phil Burton, D-Calif., won handily in what had been expected to be the toughest of his nine races.
Democrats won 38 Republican seats, and early today were leading for two others. Republicans won seven Democratic seats and were not leading in any other races.
Two Republican former Vietnam prisoners of war split -- Eugene "Red" McDaniel losing to incumbent Charles Whitley, D-N.C., and Republican John McCain winning in Arizona.
In Tennessee, Cissy Baker, daughter of Senate Republican leader Howard H. Baker Jr., lost to Jim Cooper, son of the state's World War II governor. So did Mrs. Lynn Cutler, Democratic national vice chair, in her second race against Rep. Cooper Evans, R-Iowa.
Republican Connie Mack III, grandson of the old Philadelphia Athletics baseball owner, won in Florida, but former pro basketball player Jack Marin, a Republican, lost to Democrat Tim Valentine in North Carolina.
Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, a Republican, won in the Denver suburbs.
Rep. Rom Evans, R-Del., whose name was linked to Playboy model Paula Parkinson, lost to state treasurer Thomas R. Carper. But Rep. Ike Andrews, D-N.C., who battled a drunk driving arrest, scored an upset-in-reverse by winning.
State Sen. Robert G. Clark, a Democrat, lost to Circuit Judge Webb Franklin in Clark's bid in a new black-majority district to become the first black congressman from Mississippi since Reconstruction.