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THE JOURNAL

Page B8 — Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Republicans ready to grasp renewed House control

www.journal-news.net ≤ The Journal

BY ALAN FRAM

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AP photo

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talks with poll workers after voting at Ronald Reagan Lodge, Tuesday in West Chester, Ohio.

BY BOB LEWIS

AP POLITICAL WRITER

among a dwindling number of moderate Blue Dog Democrats, has represented the district in Kentucky horse country surrounding Lexington, since 2004 but faced voters who heavily favored Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who easily carried the state over Obama. Republicans also ousted Rep. Larry Kissell of North Carolina, a two-term veteran who was among several Democrats in the state who faced far tougher districts due to GOP-controlled redistricting. In Pennsylvania outside Pittsburgh, Republicans defeated Democrat Mark Critz in what was one of the year’s most expensive races, with both sides spending a combined $13.7 million. Also defeated was Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul of New York, who won a 2011 special election to her seat by attacking Republicans for trying to revamp Medicare. There were 62 districts where no incumbents were running at all, either because they had retired or lost earlier party primaries or because the seats were newly created to reflect the census.

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RICHMOND, Va. — By the thinnest of margins, President Barack Obama won Virginia for the second election in a row, edging Mitt Romney in a fiercely contested race in the battleground of Virginia despite a fired-up and organized Republican Party intent on reclaiming the state it once owned. Tim Kaine also defeated Republican George Allen on Tuesday, keeping both of Virginia’s Senate seats in Democratic hands. All 11 of Virginia’s U.S. House members cruised to easy victories over littleknown challengers. Allen conceded defeat to Kaine shortly before 11 p.m., and the race was called for Kaine shortly thereafter. Four years ago, Obama became the first Democrat in 44 years to win Virginia in a presidential race. The president had a lead in polling and appeared headed for a repeat in Virginia until Romney pulled within the statistical margin of error in October, after Obama’s poor performance in the first presidential debate. At polling places across Virginia, long lines of voters stood in chilly temperatures for hours beyond the 7 p.m. poll closing, evidence of a passionate and deeply divided electorate. Those in line by that time were allowed to vote. Some gave up and went home. Spending in the Senate race topped $80 million, obliterating all records for a statewide race in Virginia. The majority, $53 million, came from outside, independent organizations, many of which do not have to disclose their wealthy donors. That’s the largest amount for any Senate contest in the country this election cycle. About 60 percent of that money was spent either in opposition to Kaine or support of Allen. In U.S. House races, the eight incumbent Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and three Democrats all easily brushed off little-known, sparsely funded challengers.

Voters by overwhelming margins approved two constitutional amendments. One limits eminent domain, which is the government’s ability to take private property for economic development needs. Virginia’s legislature outlawed the practice in 2007, leading opponents to say the amendment is not needed. The other makes a constitutional change giving the General Assembly more leeway in setting its one-day reconvened session each spring where it considers gubernatorial vetoes and amendments to legislation. Don Palmer, executive secretary of the State Board of Elections, said the long lines would force polls to remain open in some of the state’s largest localities hours beyond their 7 p.m. closing times. They included the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Giles, Halifax, Henrico, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Culpeper and Montgomery and the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke and Virginia Beach. The state’s new voter ID law was not a factor. The law required people who lacked proper identification to vote a provisional ballot that would count only if local registrars receive proof of identity by noon Friday. But the SBE reported only 2,053 by 11 p.m. The law was passed by Republicans in the name of preventing fraud, but was decried by critics as a bid to suppress the votes of Democratic constituencies such as minorities, the poor, elderly and disabled. In a heavily Democratic, mostly black area near downtown Richmond, chief election officer Susan Woodson said that by midafternoon, more than 1,500 of the precinct’s 3,000 registered voters had cast ballots, and only five required provisional ballots because of the new law. In the campaign’s final week, both presidential candidates and their A-list surrogates have blanketed Virginia, which for 40 years was a reliably Republican afterthought in presidential politics.

ousted by Ann Kuster, the Democrat he defeated narrowly two years ago; and Francisco Canseco of Texas. In Maryland Democrats defeated 10-term GOP veteran Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland in a race that was preordained after Democrats controlling the state legislature added more Democratic suburbs near Washington to his western Maryland district. Embroiled in an unexpectedly tight re-election race was conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. One victor was Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was his party’s vice presidential nominee on the ticket with the losing presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Another winner was Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., the Chicago lawmaker who took medical leave from Congress in June and has been at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment of bipolar disorder. His only campaigning has been by automated phone calls to voters. In Kentucky, GOP attorney Andy Barr defeated Democrat Ben Chandler after losing to him by just 647 votes in 2010. Chandler,

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Kaine takes narrow victory in Virginia

trailing. An exit poll of voters showed that just 21 percent said they backed the tea party, which had fueled the big GOP House gains in 2010. The GOP’s seemingly inevitable victory in the House was a contrast to how the party was performing elsewhere on the national stage. Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney for the presidency and Democrats hold onto control of the Senate. Democrats in Illinois controlled the redrawing of congressional districts after the latest Census, and the new lines proved too tough for several incumbent House Republicans. Conservative tea party freshmen Reps. Joe Walsh and Bobby Schilling lost, as did moderate freshman Robert Dold and seventerm veteran Judy Biggert, a social moderate. Other losing GOP freshmen were Rep. David Rivera of Florida, who was hurt by investigations into his past campaign financing; Ann Marie Buerkle of New York, who lost to the Democrat she defeated in 2010, Dan Maffei; and New Hampshire Republican Charlie Bass,

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they responded by renewing our House Republican majority,” he said at a gathering of Republicans in Washington. “The American people also made clear there’s no mandate for raising tax rates.” One of the top fights when Congress returns for a postelection session this month will be over the looming expiration of income tax cuts first enacted a decade ago under President George W. Bush. Republicans want to renew them all, while President Barack Obama wants the cuts to expire for the highest-earning Americans. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., refused to concede. She told Democrats rallying a few blocks away from the GOP rally where Boehner spoke that by evening’s end, Democrats would end up “exceeding everyone’s expectations and perhaps achieving 25,” the number of added seats Democrats would need to gain House control. Though seven GOP freshmen were defeated, 65 of them were re-elected by early Wednesday morning in the East. Six others were leading in their races, but four were

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WASHINGTON — Republicans had renewed control of the House within their grasp early Wednesday as the two parties traded gains from the Eastern seaboard to the Southwest. Shortly past midnight in the East, Democrats had knocked off nine GOP House members — including six members of the huge tea party-backed House GOP freshman class of 2010. That included four Republican incumbents from Illinois and one each from Maryland, Florida, New York, New Hampshire and Texas. Republicans nearly matched that as their candidates defeated one Democratic incumbent apiece in Kentucky, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania and picked up an open seat each in Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina and Oklahoma held in this Congress by Democrats who retired or ran for another office. With almost two-thirds of the 435 House races called by The Associated Press, Republicans had won 209 seats and were leading in 28 more. A party needs 218 seats to control the House. It seemed likely the party mix in the new House would resemble the current one, which Republicans control 242193, including two GOP and three Democratic vacancies. The pickups were so evenly divided that it was unclear if either party would add to its numbers overall. Democrats had taken 155 districts and led in 39 others. Even before renewed GOP control was clinched, House Speaker John Boehner, ROhio — re-elected to his seat without opposition — claimed victory and laid down a marker for upcoming battles against President Barack Obama, who was reelected to a second term in the White House. “The American people want solutions, and tonight

When combined with losses by incumbents, the number of new House members in the next Congress was still below the 91 freshmen who started serving in 2011 — a number unmatched since 1993. Just weeks ago, Democrats had said they could win the 25 added seats they need to wrest control of the House. As Obama’s lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney shrank as Election Day approached, Democrats’ expectations for coattails that would boost their House candidates shrunk as well. Republicans, building off their enhanced control of statehouses, also did a robust job of protecting their incumbents and weakening Democrats when congressional district lines were redrawn after the 2010 census, especially in states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In addition, out of a record $1.1 billion House candidates and their allies spent in this year’s races, more than 60 percent of it went to Republicans. The economy and jobs dominated the presidential campaign, but there was little evidence either party had harnessed those issues in a decisive way at the House level. Both sides agreed that this year’s election lacked a nationwide wave that would give either side sweeping strength — as occurred when Democrats seized control in 2006 and expanded their majority in 2008, and Republicans snatched the chamber back in 2010. Polls underscored the public sentiment that Democrats had hoped they could use to their advantage. A CBS News-New York Times poll late last month showed just 15 percent of Americans approved of how Congress was handling its job, near its historic lows. And an Associated PressGfK poll in August showed that 39 percent approved of congressional Democrats while just 31 percent were satisfied with congressional Republicans.

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