House Republicans have expressed optimism about adding more seats to the net five they’ve already flipped and appear poised to pick up at least three, possibly five more.
A gain of 10 seats in an election that appears to be lost by the incumbent is nearly unprecedented. Someone must have cut Joe Biden’s coattails before he walked out the door election morning.
There are about 40 House races still undecided at this hour, many in states where the counting has been as slow as molasses. It will probably be Monday before the unofficial results for all races are available. Republicans have already had a good election. Anything they get from here on out is gravy and sets them up very nicely to take over the House in 2022.
Illinois Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood was running behind her GOP challenger, Jim Oberweis, by fewer than 1,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon in the state’s 14th District. Rep. Cheri Bustos, another Illinois Democrat who led her party’s campaign arm for this cycle, had a narrow lead against GOP challenger Esther Joy King, in the still-uncalled 17th District.
“We know that our key races in the battleground are going to come down to the wire,” Bustos told reporters on a video call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the morning of Election Day. “We know that. In many cases, we are already preparing for extended counts and even potential recounts.”
She said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had invested $10 million to handle potentially protracted legal challenges. “We will use every legal means necessary to make sure that we count every vote,” Bustos said.
One reason Illinois is so problematic for the Democrats is that the presidential race took a back seat to the tax increase referendum. Conservatives came out in force and soundly defeated the proposal. The blowback from that referendum appears to be affecting several races in the state.
Other states with uncalled House races included California, Texas and Virginia. California’s uncalled races included the 21st District where Republican David Valadao was leading Democratic Rep. TJ Cox, 51-49 percent, and the 25th District where Democratic challenger Christy Smith had a slim lead over GOP Rep. Mike Garcia, 51-49 percent.
Texas’ 24th District, an open seat, also hadn’t been called yet with Republican Beth Van Duyne leading Democrat Candace Valenzuela, 49-47 percent.
A race in Virginia featuring a vulnerable Democrat incumbent, Abigail Spanberger, is also too close to call at this point. Spanberger went off on her radical-left colleagues saying in a caucus call yesterday morning that they were to blame for this disaster at the polls for Democrats. The charge probably went in one ear and out the other. The far left is likely to double down and claim they weren’t radical enough to win. That would be music to Republican ears.
Nancy Pelosi says that the Democrats “lost some battles but won the war” because they maintain control of the House. Trying to put lipstick on a pig is about all she could do after the shellacking Democratic House members experienced on Election Day.