WASHINGTON (TIP): Democrats clinched two more years of controlling the House but with a potentially razor-thin majority, a bittersweet finale to last week’s elections that has left them divided and with scant margin for error for advancing their agenda.The party on Tuesday nailed down at least 218 seats, according to The Associated Press, and could win a few others when more votes are counted.
While that assures command of the 435-member chamber, blindsided Democrats were all but certain to see their current 232-seat majority shrink after an unforeseen surge of Republican voters transformed expected gains of perhaps 15 seats into losses potentially approaching that amount.
“We have the gavel, we have the gavel,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California), who seems all but certain to continue in that role. While she bemoaned Democrats’ losses in districts where GOP votes proved “almost insurmountable,” she told reporters last week, “We’ve lost some battles but we’ve won the war.”
By retaining the House, Democrats will control the chamber for four consecutive years for only the second time since 1995. As the news sunk in, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., who led House Democrats’ campaign committee, announced Monday she wouldn’t seek another term leading that organization.