Republican candidates for the House defied polling expectations and are projected to gain additional seats this election, partially rolling back a wave of Democratic victories in 2018.
While many election results have been delayed because of high levels of mail-in voting, Republicans appeared poised to win over 200 House seats, according to Politico. Democrats will retain a majority of over 218 representatives.
Among Democratic losses were several incumbent representatives who took office in 2019, including Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, Donna Shalala of Florida, and Kendra Horn of Oklahoma. Cunningham and Horn in particular represented districts that voted heavily for President Trump in 2016.
Republican Nicole Malliotakis also appeared poised to defeat Representative Max Rose (D., N.Y.) in New York’s 11th district, which encompasses the conservative-leaning Staten Island. Rose, an Afghanistan War veteran, had attempted to distance himself from progressive Democrats and even ran an ad in which he called Bill de Blasio the “worst mayor in the history of New York City.”
“We defied the odds,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) told Politico. “The Democrats never solved one problem in their majority. They promised they would govern differently, and they didn’t.”
Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried, one of the state’s top Democratic elected officials, acknowledged that the party had performed poorer than expected.
“Florida Democrats suffered some hard losses last night. Our party needs to take a long hard look at what went wrong in the election, and how we move forward,” Fried wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Although Republicans bucked polling expectations in the House, the party’s hold on its Senate majority was still unclear as of Wednesday morning, according to Associated Press projections.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine led Democratic challenger Sara Gideon by about 51-43 percent with 85 percent of the vote counted. In Georgia, with 95 percent of the vote tallied, Senator David Perdue held a 51-47 lead over progressive John Ossoff.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, also of Georgia, will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in a runoff election that has yet to be scheduled.