Republicans to retain control of House; Dems pick up 1 Senate seat

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) — Republicans will maintain at least a foothold in the federal government by retaining their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, though control of the Senate is still too early to call.

It remains unclear what the GOP majority will be in the House, but NBC News was first to report they will at least remain in the majority and it is likely Speaker Paul Ryan will remain in that leadership roll to begin 2017.

In the battle for the Senate, three of the nine races most likely to decide control have been called, two for Republicans and one a pickup for the Democrats — the first of five they will need to win an outright majority.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio won re-election to his seat in Florida, a race he entered late, only after his presidential campaign faltered.

And Tammy Duckworth, the Democratic Illinois congresswoman, defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Mark Kirk in a race that was widely predicted would hand Democrats one of the seats they were looking for.

Though Duckworth finished off her opponent as expected, Democrats failed to win a seat in Indiana they had eyed as a prime pickup opportunity. Evan Bayh, a former Democratic senator and governor from the state, made a late entry into the race and immediately gave his party hope they could flip a seat that looked to remain safely in Republican hands after a GOP retirement created an open seat race in a traditionally conservative state. Instead Rep. Todd Young defeated Bayh, leaving Democrats in a hole in their bid for a Senate majority.

The map for the Senate favored Democrats this year, with all but one of nine seats most likely to decide the balance being held by Republicans.

The nine races where a seat is open or most likely to change hands were in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nevada, Florida and Indiana. Of that group, seven seats belong to Republican incumbents trying to hang on. Only two are open seats, Indiana and Nevada. The only one in Democratic hands presently is Nevada, where Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring.

Coming into Tuesday, the House seemed a much safer bet for Republicans — and the election night tallies proved true. The GOP held an enormous 59-seat advantage coming into Tuesday. The non-partisan Cook political report listed 18 seats as pure tossups, not enough to flip control of the chamber to Democrats, even if they ran the table in all of them.


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