Democrats clinch House control, but majority likely to shrink

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Democrats clinched two more years of controlling the House on Tuesday but with a potentially razor-thin majority.

The party has now nailed down at least 218 seats, according to The Associated Press, and could win a few others when more votes are counted. While that assures command of the 435-member chamber, Democrats were all but certain to lose seats after an unforeseen surge of Republican voters transformed expected gains of perhaps 15 seats into losses potentially approaching that amount.

“We have the gavel, we have the gavel,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who seems all but certain to continue in that role. “We’ve lost some battles but we’ve won the war.”

By retaining the House, Democrats will control the chamber for four consecutive years for only the second time since 1995, when Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic dominance.

Republicans have been heartened by the House results, which many believe position them for a strong run for the majority in the 2022 elections. They also bolstered their distressingly low number of women representatives from 13 to at least 26, a record for the GOP, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, and were adding new ethnic minority lawmakers as well.

“The Republican coalition is bigger, more diverse, more energetic than ever before,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the day after the election.

Democrats went into Election Day with a 232-197 House advantage, plus an independent and five open seats. With some races remaining undecided, it was possible that in the new Congress that convenes in January they’ll have the smallest majority since Republicans had just 221 seats two decades ago.

Democrats secured the majority after The Associated Press declared three winners late Tuesday: incumbents Kim Schrier in Washington, Tom O’Halleran in Arizona and Jimmy Gomez in California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.