Republicans expanded their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, padding their numbers with a new group of conservatives likely to press the party’s assertive control of Congress’s lower chamber.
Drama on Election Day belonged to the Senate, where Republicans snatched control from Democrats. The outcome in the House has for months been merely a matter of degree, as Republicans have aimed to expand their 234-seat majority.
After 1 a.m. Eastern time, Republicans were within striking distance of their goal of winning at least 12 seats and attaining or exceeding the party’s largest majority of the post-World War II era.
Republicans had collected 11 seats from Democrats, with some votes in Western states still to be counted. Republican wins included the election of West Virginia state Sen. Evan Jenkins over Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D). With 38 years of service in the House, Rahall is one of the most-tenured House members ever to lose reelection.
Though all 435 House seats were technically up for grabs, only about 40 races were even moderately competitive, a result of gerrymandered districts and a nation whose partisan divides mirror geography. Of those races, far more contests featured incumbent Democrats attempting to fend off Republican challengers than the reverse.