Republicans Sweep to Large Majority in House; Cut Democrat's Lead in Senate

Republicans have won a net gain of 60 seats in the House, giving them a 239-185 majority, with 11 races yet to be decided. Even if all undecided races fall to Democrats, the GOP will have its largest majority in the House since 1947.

Republicans have won a net gain of 60 seats in the House, giving them a 239-185 majority, with 11 races yet to be decided. Even if all undecided races fall to Democrats, the GOP will have its largest majority in the House since 1947. The largest Republican House majority since the House expanded to 435 seats in 1913 was in 1921, when they enjoyed a 300 to 132 advantage. 

In the Senate, results are 51 seats for Democrats, 46 for Republicans and three yet to be decided. Among the Democratic losses in the Senate was Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln ( Ark. ), who was defeated handily –– 57.6 percent to 37.2 percent –– by Republican challenger John Boozman. The remaining votes were cast for independent or Green Party candidates.

The rest of the Senate Ag Committee fared well, with Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.) all being returned to Washington . (Thune ran unopposed.) The person to chair the Ag panel in the new Congress will likely be Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) if Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) chooses to retain his Budget panel chairmanship. Sources do not expect Democratic leadership to offer the position to moderate Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

One of the more interesting results of a Senate race will be in Alaska , where incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R) lost her primary campaign to Tea Party Republican Joe Miller and then chose to run as a write-in candidate. Following Tuesday's election, write-in candidates have 41.0 percent of the vote, Miller has 34.2 percent, Democrat Scott McAdams has 23.7 percent and third party candidates won the remainder. The actual vote tally breaks out: write ins: 81,876; Miller: 68,288; McAdams: 47,414; remainder: 2,123.

It is expected to take a considerable time to hand-count and tally the nearly 82,000 write-in votes, not all of which were necessarily cast for Murkowski. Tea Party Republicans can be expected to challenge at least some of those ballots, meaning it could be months before Alaska 's next senator is seated.

Unlike their Senate colleagues, Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee suffered an election bloodbath, with 16 of the current 23 members either choosing not to run (2) or suffering defeat (14). One race, Jim Costa's 20th California District) has yet to be decided, but Costa is trailing.

Key Democratic Losses

Some Democratic House losses included Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), a leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, which saw many of its members defeated. Other notable Democratic losses included Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) after nine terms; Rep. John Spratt (S.C.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, after 14 terms; Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee after 17 terms; and James Oberstar (Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, after 18 terms.

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