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U.S. House: GOP Losses Could Have Been Far Worse

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The headline in the battle for the U.S. House on Wednesday morning was how the Democrats not only took control from Republicans, but also gained an impressive 29 seats (up to a half-dozen races across the country are still classified as too close to call).

But what has been overlooked in the coverage is that the 'Democratic tsunami' could have been far worse for the Republicans. A closer examination of competitive districts that did not switch parties indicate the GOP was much more vulnerable at losing close races than Democrats.

Republicans held an additional 20 'very competitive' seats that were decided by 5 points or less. Only 1 Democratic district was held by this narrow margin.

Republicans also held another 16 'moderately competitive' seats that were decided by between 5 and 10 points. The Democrats only held 5 districts by this margin.

It is true several of the Democratic pick-ups were won by narrow margins: Democrats won 13 of these races by less than 5 points. However, 9 Democratic pick-ups were won by between 5 and 10 points and another 7 pick-ups were won by more than 10 points.

The cautionary message for Republicans is that if their party endures continued bad news into 2007 and 2008, many more seats are at risk of falling into enemy hands than Democratic seats switching to the Republicans.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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