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Democrats cheer House gains

November 20, 2012|By Kim Geiger
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), accompanied by female House Democrats, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), accompanied by female… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON – In an election year that had threatened to produce a deeper deficit for the House Democratic minority, the party instead narrowed the GOP’s majority by at least seven seats.

With just one seat not yet decided for either party, Democrats will hold at least 200 seats in the 113th Congress, while the GOP will maintain its majority with at least 234 seats.

Noting that House Republicans had predicted a gain of as many as 16 seats, Democrats touted the results as evidence of a superior campaign organization.

The results, said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson, show that Democrats are succeeding in their efforts to “roll back” the tea party wave that began in 2010.

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Democrats defeated 16 Republican incumbents and won a majority of toss-up contests, Ferguson said.

Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Democrats were making too much of their gains.

“If election day were such a win for House Democrats, they wouldn't have to try so hard to convince everyone that it was,” Lindsay said in a statement, “[House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi's dream of returning as speaker was crushed, and we were happy to play a part in making that happen.”

The election produced a freshman class of Democrats that will add significant diversity to a caucus that was already trending away from its white male-dominated tradition.  The new class of Democrats includes 16 women, five African Americans, 10 Latinos and five Asian American Pacific Islanders.

It also left Republicans with just one African American member after Florida Rep. Allen West’s defeat by Democrat Patrick Murphy. The new class of Republicans includes three women and 31 white men, including David Valadao of California, who is of Portuguese descent.

In North Carolina, one seat has not yet been awarded to either party. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, is leading his Republican challenger, state Sen. David Rouzer, by just 655 votes. Rouzer has requested a recount, which won’t begin until Monday, the Fayetteville Observer reported.

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kim.geiger@latimes.com

Twitter: @kimgeiger

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