Democrats expected to hold Congress but with reduced majority

Full results may not be announced until days after November 3

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats had held on to their majority. EPA
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats had held on to their majority. EPA

Democrats are facing a shrunken majority as a predicted ‘blue wave’ fails to materialise in Tuesday’s elections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was confident the Democrats had managed to retain the House.

“I’m very very proud of the fact that tonight, relatively early, we’re able to say that we have held the house,” she told reporters on Wednesday morning, praising the “quality of leadership” Democrat candidates showed throughout the election.

But do not count the Republicans out yet. Despite predictions of gains numbering in the teens, Democrats failed to make inroads into the midwest and other Republican strongholds.

Republicans have so far flipped eight seats in New Mexico, Oklahoma, North and South Carolina, Texas and Florida. The fight for Democrat Torres Small’s seat cost around $35 million, making it one of the country’s most expensive races, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. She was defeated by Yvette Herrell, a former state legislator.

Democrats have flipped three seats in return, in North Carolina and Georgia.

To win control of the 435-seat chamber, Republicans would have needed 218 seats in the House, 21 more than they secured in 2018.

If Democrats have retained the house and also control the senate, they will have the power to assist first-term president Joe Biden or block the policy plans of a second-term Donald Trump.

Just like the presidency, full results may not be known until days after November 3 due to the high number of mail-in ballots and the extra time it takes to count them.

Some familiar faces have already secured their return to Congress.

The four progressive female Democrats known as ‘the squad’ - Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan - celebrated their win on Wednesday. Ms Omar tweeted: “our sisterhood is resilient” alongside photos of her fellow ‘squad’ members.

The results could also see Ms Ocasio-Cortez robbed of her title of youngest congress member ever elected. Republican Madison Cawthorn, 25, is projected to beat Democrat Moe Davis for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District. Ms Ocasio-Cortez was 29 years old when she took the post, but hold very different politics.

“I swear to you, until my dying breath, that I will defend your freedom in Washington,” he tweeted to voters on Tuesday evening.

Updated: November 5, 2020 06:49 PM

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