It Was A Big, Blue Wave: Democrats Pick Up Most House Seats In A Generation

Votes are still being counted in several House races. But the AP has called another race in California, projecting Democrat Josh Harder the winner in the Modesto-area 10th Congressional District over incumbent Republican Jeff Denham.

That means, more than a week after Election Day, Democrats have increased their House gains to a net of 33 seats — and, when all the vote is counted, they may get to 39.

Make no mistake: That is a very big wave.

How big? It’s the most House seats gained by Democrats since the wave election following Watergate. President Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974, leading to Democrats’ pickup of 48 seats that fall.

In 2006, the last time Democrats took over the House, when George W. Bush was president and the Iraq war was spiraling into civil war, Democrats gained 30 seats. They picked up 26 more in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president. What’s more, this cycle’s seats are far more gerrymandered to favor Republicans than those were.

So what’s left to be counted? In addition to the recounts for statewide offices in Florida and the outstanding vote in the Georgia governor’s race, there are still nine House races to be called. Of those, Democrats very well may win six:

  • CA 39 Republican Young Kim leads in this open-seat race, but the margin is shrinking and down to about 700 votes, with Democrat Gil Cisneros gaining. There are many votes left to be counted in this district, which includes parts of Orange and Los Angeles counties. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were more than 261,000 votes left to be counted in Orange and 688,000 left in Los Angeles County.
  • CA 45 Democrat Katie Porter has now pulled ahead in this Orange County district after a week of trailing incumbent Republican Mimi Walters.
  • ME 2 GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin is ahead, but Maine’s ranked-choice voting system could give the race to Democrat Jared Golden. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, Poliquin has sued to challenge ranked-choice voting.
  • NJ 3 Democrat Andy Kim is ahead by about 3,500 votes after incumbent Tom MacArthur led on election night.
  • NY 22 Democrat Anthony Brindisi is holding on to a 1,200-vote lead over incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney in this upstate District that stretches from Binghamton past Utica.
  • UT 4 Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, a Democrat, leads incumbent Republican Mia Love by about 1,200 votes.

Republicans lead in Georgia’s 7th, New York’s 27th and Texas’ 23rd congressional districts and appear in stronger positions in those. All would represent holds for the GOP.

Republicans flipped two Democratic-held seats in Minnesota.

Note: The polls got it right. Democrats currently lead on the national House ballot by 7 percentage points, according to data compiled by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. (This link compiles the total number of votes cast and counted so far for all House races.)

The final NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll a week before the election had Democrats with a +9 advantage with likely voters (+6 with registered voters), well within the margin of error of the final result. The RealClearPolitics final congressional ballot average was Democrats +7.3. The current exact number is +7.1, and that is expected to climb as more votes in California are counted.

There are some 3.2 million votes left to be counted in California, according to the latest numbers from the California secretary of state’s office, updated at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

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