GOP House Majority Largest In 67 Years

In addition to picking up another Senate seat in yesterday’s Louisiana runoff, the GOP also won two House races, thus giving Republicans their biggest majority since Harry Truman was President and, depending on the result of a race in Arizona that is still too close to call, perhaps its biggest majority since 1929:

Republicans will hold at least 246 House seats come January, according to election results Saturday, giving the GOP a commanding majority that matches the party’s post-World War II high during Democratic President Harry S. Truman’s administration.

The GOP retained control of two seats in runoffs in Louisiana, expanding the advantage for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who can afford defections from his increasingly conservative caucus and still get legislation passed. Combined with the Republican takeover of the Senate, Congress will be all-GOP for the final two years of President Barack Obama’s second term.

The latest count gives the GOP a 246-188 majority. One race, in Arizona, is still outstanding.

In Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, which extends from the state’s northeast into parishes bordering Mississippi, physician Ralph Abraham defeated Jamie Mayo, the Democratic mayor of Monroe. The incumbent, Vance McAllister, had failed to advance to the runoff. Elected less than a year ago, the married McAllister saw his career undermined after a video surfaced earlier this year showing him kissing another woman.

In the 6th Congressional District, in the Baton Rouge area, former state coastal restoration chief Garret Graves turned back Democrat Edwin Edwards, a four-term governor and ex-congressman who had to overcome his 2000 corruption conviction and subsequent prison term.

One race still must be decided.

In a Democratic-held district in the Tucson, Arizona-area, an automatic recount will determine whether Rep. Ron Barber keeps his seat or Republican challenger Martha McSally prevails. McSally led by fewer than 200 votes.

If McSally wins, Republicans would have 247 seats, the largest majority since 1929-31 when the GOP controlled 270 seats in President Herbert Hoover’s administration.

In the midterm election rout, House Republicans prevailed on Democratic turf, netting 12 seats and winning in New York, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire and Iowa. Republican challengers knocked out long-term Democratic incumbents in Georgia and West Virginia, seats that the GOP now could hold for generations as the party maintains its stranglehold on the South.

The GOP had entered the Nov. 4 midterm elections with a 234-201 edge. Democrats had held out hope of minimizing their losses despite Obama’s low popularity and historic losses for the party occupying the White House. Democrats did manage to win three Republican-held seats in California, Florida and Nebraska, but Republicans had far greater success around the country.

The 246 seats match the total the GOP had in 1947-49 when Truman occupied the White House.

If nothing else, these additional thirteen, possibility fourteen, seats given Speaker Boehner and the House leadership additional room to play with when it comes to trying to push legislation through the House, and specifically additional room to maneuver around the small, but powerful, Tea Party Caucus inside the House GOP Caucus that has been such a problem for them for the past four years. Whether that has an impact on the substance of the legislation is, of course, a different question, but it could have an impact on the strategy that the leadership uses to get things done going forward.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. stonetools says:

    If nothing else, these additional thirteen, possibility fourteen, seats given Speaker Boehner and the House leadership additional room to play with when it comes to trying to push legislation through the House, and specifically additional room to maneuver around the small, but powerful, Tea Party Caucus inside the House GOP Caucus that has been such a problem for them for the past four years. Whether that has an impact on the substance of the legislation is, of course, a different question, but it could have an impact on the strategy that the leadership

    Of course, those additional seats most likely added to that Tea Party caucus, which means that Boehner may have less room to maneuver. Sorry, Doug, I think the House is likely to become more, not less Tea Party directed, over the next two years. I see no signs at all that the House is going to become more moderate. But we’ll see.

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    @stonetools: To be fair to Doug, many of those seats come from districts Obama won resoundingly in 2012, so the new freshmen have some incentive to at least pretend to be sane. However, they do have to go through a primary..

  3. JKB says:

    29 Democrat senators of the 58 Democrats and 2 independents who voted for Obamacare in 2009 are no longer in office. Sixteen of those seat were turned over to the Republicans. In just 5 years since their vote, with incumbency and name recognition?

    Oops.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Well, now that the dog has caught the car, it’s going to have to figure out what to do with it. The Republicans are going to have to show that they can actually govern, not just act like a collection of petulant two-year olds.

    Good luck. Stupidity should hurt. I wonder if Kansas will ever learn that lesson.

  5. stonetools says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Well, I could be wrong, but I suspect the voters that sent those Republicans to Congress didn’t send them there to compromise with black man in the White House. I suspect that if those Republicans do as these voters ask, we will see more conflict, not less.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Those who have bothered to vote now prefer the political party that shut down the federal government twice in the last 5 years, and that attempted to to leverage the threat of federal default in support of its political agenda. There are your low-information voters right there.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    29 Democrat senators of the 58 Democrats and 2 independents who voted for Obamacare in 2009 are no longer in office. Sixteen of those seat were turned over to the Republicans. In just 5 years since their vote, with incumbency and name recognition?

    And yet, despite all of that, the ACA still isn’t going anywhere.

    Oops…

  8. JKB says:

    @An Interested Party: And yet, despite all of that, the ACA still isn’t going anywhere.

    Yet!

  9. stonetools says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The Republicans are going to have to show that they can actually govern, not just act like a collection of petulant two-year olds.

    I keep hearing this, but they’ve gotten away so far with not governing. The Democrats have so far let them off with the hook with inept messaging, and I don’t see any change in that.

  10. Gustopher says:

    I see no reason to believe that these new Republican congress critters won’t be Tea Partiers. And they will have the arrogance of inexperience. They’re not there to compromise, they’re there to change the world.

    Republicans have the Senate for two years in all likelihood, and they have a Democrat in the White House during that time. And it now takes 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate.

    So, it will be kind of fun to see if they can actually get things done. Can they pull in their radicals enough to peel off a few Democrat votes in the Senate, and get a Presidential signature? I expect they will on the must pass funding legislation, but I would be surprised to see much else happening.

  11. Gustopher says:

    @stonetools: But, would you really want them to govern?

  12. Scott says:

    @JKB: Yes, I’m waiting for the Republicans to repeal ACA so they can tell the middle class that their young adult age children are tossed off their policies, that the cancer scare last year will make them ineligible for health insurance, that they can’t quit or change jobs because they will lose their insurance, and, finally, for the Congressional Budget Office to tell the Republicans that their substitute plan will greatly increase the deficit.

  13. JKB says:

    Govern – to administer the laws.

    I think you are looking to the wrong persons for governing and the Democrat in the position to govern had demonstrated that he has no interest in administering the laws.

    Perhaps you mean the Republicans will have to legislate. That they can now do once the new Congress is sworn in. Whether they can overcome the obstructive veto from Obama….

  14. Scott says:

    @JKB:

    Whether they can overcome the obstructive veto from Obama….

    Yes, I will be waiting for the Republican-led Congress to reach out to the Executive Branch to reach a bipartisan consensus on legislation.

  15. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Perhaps you mean the Republicans will have to legislate. That they can now do once the new Congress is sworn in.

    Actually, if you think a bunch of post-Tea Party Republicans “can” legislate, you’re fooling yourself.

    They can’t.

  16. bandit says:

    @stonetools: You need to give the nonstop racism a rest

  17. SKI says:

    What percentage of the electorate did they win to get this big advantage in seats?

  18. An Interested Party says:

    You need to give the nonstop racism a rest

    You need to tell that to the people who practice racism, not to anyone who mentions it…

  19. Kylopod says:

    @SKI:

    What percentage of the electorate did they win to get this big advantage in seats?

    Wikipedia reports 51.0%.