Politics

Democrats Take Control of the House With Victories in the Suburbs

Republicans struggled in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016

Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell defeated GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th District.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are poised to take over the House after notching key victories in the suburbs.

NBC, ABC News and CNN projected Democrats would take control of the chamber even as the outcome in number of competitive races remains unclear. But early Democratic victories signaled a tough night for Republicans, especially in the 25 GOP-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

The developments mark the first time since 2011 that Democrats control the House. A Democratic majority increases the likelihood that President Donald Trump’s administration and federal agencies will face increased scrutiny and sets the stage for even more congressional gridlock with the Senate still in Republican hands. 

The biggest upset of the night so far has come in Oklahoma's 5th District, where non-profit director Kendra Horn defeated GOP Rep. Steve Russell in a district Trump won by nearly 14 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales had rated the race Solid Republican.

The race wasn't on anyone's radar -- Russell hadn't indicated to the National Republican Congressional Committee that he was in trouble. But Horn had raised more than $1 million and was endorsed by Democratic groups including End Citizens United and EMILY's List.

Democratic energy, fueled by opposition to Trump in these largely suburban districts took down incumbents often touted as among the most formidable in the GOP conference, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock.

Some GOP incumbents in Clinton districts have prevailed, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the Philadelphia suburbs and New York Rep. John Katko, whose district includes Syracuse. 

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As expected, redistricting in Pennsylvania proved to be a boon for Democrats, who so far have had a net gain of three seats in the Keystone State. The new congressional map shifted several districts in Democrats’ direction.

It remains to be seen how large a Democratic majority could be in the House, since they have not been as successful in the more Republican leaning districts.

Democrats failed to pick up some tougher GOP-held seats in Florida, Texas and Kentucky. Two Democratic women veterans with viral web videos -- MJ Hegar in Texas Amy McGrath in Kentucky -- lost their races in traditionally Republican districts. 

Democrats have had mixed success in districts that backed former President Barack Obama and flipped to backing Trump. So far Democrats have won two such races in Iowa, defeating GOP Reps. Rod Blum and David Young.  In Minnesota, Democrat Angie Craig defeated GOP Rep. Jason Lewis in a rematch from 2016.  

Army veteran Max Rose also notched a win for Democrats in a race Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rated Lean Republican, defeating New York GOP Rep. Dan Donovan in the Staten Island-based district.

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