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House races: And then there was one

WASHINGTON — The midterm elections were weeks ago — Nov. 6 — and Thanksgiving has come and gone. So the election results for the U.S. House of Representatives should finally be complete, right?

Well, almost.

With Republican Mia Love’s concession on Monday to Democrat Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th Congressional District race, Democrats will have a 234-201 edge over Republicans when the new class of the House of Representatives convenes in January. That’s a pickup of at least 39 seats for Democrats.

But one congressional race in California is still not quite over. The tight 21st District race between Republican Rep. David Valadao and Democratic challenger TJ Cox was called by media outlets for Valadao after election night. But the race isn’t settled.

Election officials are still counting ballots and Valadao’s election night lead of nearly 5,000 votes has shrunk into the hundreds. That’s out of well over 100,000 cast.

Whatever happens in that race, Democrats have made major gains in the House, picking up the most seats for the party since the election after Watergate in 1974. Their gains are still not as large as the 2010 midterm Republican wave, in which the GOP picked up 63 seats. Republicans gained 52 seats in 1994.

And while Republicans lost dozens of seats in the House, they remain in control in the Senate. The 51-49 margin they held before the midterms is now 52-47, heading into Tuesday’s special election in Mississippi between GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy.

Republicans will control the House and Senate for just a few more weeks, as lawmakers rush to complete spending legislation before a Dec. 7 deadline.

Newly-elected House members are continuing their orientation this week. And on Wednesday, Democrats will carry out a caucus vote, to consider whether Rep. Nancy Pelosi will become the next House Speaker. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD is seeking to return as House Majority Leader and Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-SC, in the No. 3 position, House Majority Whip.

Before the holiday break, 16 Democrats signed a letter saying they would not vote for Pelosi. But some have reversed their position, and no one has stepped up to run against her.

Pelosi is expected to get majority support from her party this week, ahead of a final House floor vote in January.


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