Republicans Won The House — Barely

As expected, Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, ending two years of Democratic rule in Washington, D.C. But what wasn’t expected was how narrow the Republicans’ majority would be.

As of Wednesday evening, ABC News estimates that Republicans have won at least 218 seats and Democrats have won at least 210.

Republicans Won The House — Barely 1

Seven districts remain undecided: four where Democrats currently lead and three where Republicans do. If those leads all hold (which seems likely), Republicans will go into the 118th Congress with a 221-to-214 majority. 

Several House races are still up in the air

Districts where ABC News has not yet reported a projected winner, as of 7:04 p.m. Eastern

Race Democrat Republican Percent reporting Vote margin Vote share margin
AK-1 Peltola i Palin 81% 53,297 D+22.1
CA-3 Jones Kiley 59 8,918 R+4.6
CA-13 Gray Duarte 65 600 D+0.5
CA-22 Salas Valadao i 47 3,280 R+4.9
CA-47 Porter i Baugh 82 3,772 D+1.6
CA-49 Levin i Maryott 87 12,019 D+4.6
CO-3 Frisch Boebert i 99 1,122 R+0.3

i  Incumbent.

Does not include races where both candidates are from the same party.

Source: ABC News

FiveThirtyEight’s final preelection Deluxe forecast expected that, on average, Republicans would win 230 House seats and Democrats would win 205. So Democrats did a bit better than we reckoned, although 221 seats for the GOP was still among the most likely outcomes. And interestingly, Democrats didn’t do that just by winning all the close races; they made some strikes deep into GOP territory. For example, Democrats won at least seven of the 13 districts rated as “toss-ups” by FiveThirtyEight’s final forecast, while Republicans won at least five.

The status of ‘toss-up’ House races

Results in districts where both candidates had less than a 60 percent chance of winning, according to the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s final preelection forecast, as of 7:04 p.m. Eastern

race democrat republican Percent reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
AK-1 Peltola i Palin 81% D+22.1
IA-3 Axne i Nunn 99 R+0.7 ✔ R
MI-3 Scholten Gibbs 99 D+12.9 ✔ D
NV-1 Titus i Robertson 99 D+5.6 ✔ D
NY-19 Riley Molinaro 99 R+2.2 ✔ R
OR-5 McLeod-Skinner Chavez-DeRemer 99 R+2.5 ✔ R
PA-17 Deluzio Shaffer 99 D+6.3 ✔ D
PA-7 Wild i Scheller 97 D+1.8 ✔ D
PA-8 Cartwright i Bognet 96 D+2.5 ✔ D
RI-2 Magaziner Fung 94 D+3.7 ✔ D
TX-15 Vallejo De La Cruz-Hernandez 89 R+8.5 ✔ R
TX-34 Gonzalez i Flores i 87 D+8.5 ✔ D
VA-2 Luria i Kiggans 99 R+3.4 ✔ R

i  Incumbent.

Source: ABC News

But Democrats also won five of the 16 districts that our forecast rated as “likely Republican.” This includes Colorado’s 8th District, where Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo won despite having only a 9-in-100 chance in our forecast.

The status of ‘likely Republican’ House races

Results in districts where the Republican candidate had between a 75 percent and 95 percent chance of winning, according to the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s final preelection forecast, as of 7:04 p.m. Eastern

race democrat republican Percent reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
AZ-6 Engel Ciscomani 99% R+1.5 ✔ R
CA-45 Chen Steel i 83 R+7.4 ✔ R
CO-8 Caraveo Kirkmeyer 97 D+0.7 ✔ D
FL-13 Lynn Paulina Luna 99 R+8.1 ✔ R
FL-27 Taddeo Salazar i 99 R+14.6 ✔ R
IA-1 Bohannan Miller-Meeks i 99 R+6.8 ✔ R
IA-2 Mathis Hinson i 99 R+8.2 ✔ R
MI-10 Marlinga James 99 R+0.5 ✔ R
MT-1 Tranel Zinke 99 R+3.1 ✔ R
NC-13 Nickel Hines 99 D+2.6 ✔ D
NE-2 Vargas Bacon i 99 R+3.0 ✔ R
NM-2 Vasquez Herrell i 99 D+0.7 ✔ D
NY-1 Fleming LaLota 99 R+11.7 ✔ R
OH-1 Landsman Chabot i 91 D+4.9 ✔ D
OH-13 Sykes Gilbert 92 D+5.2 ✔ D
WI-3 Pfaff Van Orden 99 R+3.7 ✔ R

i  Incumbent.

Source: ABC News

Democrats even won one district that our forecast had rated as “solid Republican.” In Washington’s 3rd District, business owner Marie Gluesenkamp Perez had just a 2-in-100 chance of winning, according to our forecast. However, she defeated veteran Joe Kent 50 percent to 49 percent. This was likely because Kent was an extremely weak candidate: He has a history of working and associating with white nationalists and defeated a more moderate Republican in the primary. 

Republicans didn’t score as many upsets, but they had their fair share, too. They won two “lean Democratic” districts and one “likely Democratic” district.

The status of ‘lean Democratic’ House races

Results in districts where the Democratic candidate had between a 60 percent and 75 percent chance of winning, according to the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s final preelection forecast, as of 7:04 p.m. Eastern

race democrat republican Percent reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
CA-13 Gray Duarte 65% D+0.5
CT-5 Hayes i Logan 99 D+0.8 ✔ D
IL-17 Sorensen King 88 D+3.6 ✔ D
IL-6 Casten i Pekau 87 D+8.5 ✔ D
MD-6 Trone i Parrott 97 D+6.0 ✔ D
ME-2 Golden i Poliquin 99 D+6.1 ✔ D
MI-7 Slotkin i Barrett 99 D+5.4 ✔ D
NH-1 Pappas i Leavitt 99 D+8.1 ✔ D
NV-3 Lee i Becker 99 D+4.0 ✔ D
NY-17 Maloney i Lawler 99 R+0.9 ✔ R
NY-18 Ryan i Schmitt 98 D+0.8 ✔ D
NY-3 Zimmerman Devolder-Santos 90 R+8.3 ✔ R
OR-6 Salinas Erickson 92 D+1.5 ✔ D
VA-7 Spanberger i Vega 99 D+4.5 ✔ D
WA-8 Schrier i Larkin 99 D+6.3 ✔ D

i  Incumbent.

Source: ABC News

The status of ‘likely Democratic’ House races

Results in districts where the Democratic candidate had between a 75 percent and 95 percent chance of winning, according to the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s final preelection forecast, as of 7:04 p.m. Eastern

race democrat republican Percent reporting Vote Margin ABC Projection
AZ-4 Stanton i Cooper 98% D+12.3 ✔ D
CA-47 Porter i Baugh 82 D+1.6
CA-49 Levin i Maryott 87 D+4.6
CA-9 Harder i Patti 61 D+12.6 ✔ D
CO-7 Pettersen Aadland 98 D+15.0 ✔ D
FL-23 Moskowitz Budd 99 D+4.7 ✔ D
GA-2 Bishop i West 99 D+9.9 ✔ D
IL-13 Budzinski Deering 83 D+9.5 ✔ D
IL-14 Underwood i Gryder 86 D+8.8 ✔ D
IN-1 Mrvan i Green 99 D+5.7 ✔ D
KS-3 Davids i Adkins 99 D+12.1 ✔ D
MI-8 Kildee i Junge 98 D+10.2 ✔ D
MN-2 Craig i Kistner 97 D+5.2 ✔ D
NH-2 Kuster i Burns 99 D+11.7 ✔ D
NJ-3 Kim i Healey 99 D+10.2 ✔ D
NJ-5 Gottheimer i Pallotta 99 D+9.7 ✔ D
NV-4 Horsford i Peters 99 D+4.9 ✔ D
NY-4 Gillen D’Esposito 93 R+3.8 ✔ R
OH-9 Kaptur i Majewski 86 D+13.1 ✔ D
OR-4 Hoyle Skarlatos 98 D+8.1 ✔ D
TX-28 Cuellar i Garcia 87 D+13.2 ✔ D
VA-10 Wexton i Cao 99 D+6.5 ✔ D

i  Incumbent.

Source: ABC News

Notably, all three GOP-flipped districts were in New York, one of the brightest spots for Republicans nationally this election.7 Indeed, one of the hallmarks of this midterm was how various states experienced it differently. It was a good election for Republicans in states like New York, but a bad one for Republicans in states like Ohio, where Democrats scored two House upsets

So how should we assess the House results for Republicans? On the one hand, Republicans took control of the chamber and ended Democrats’ ability to pass legislation without GOP approval. That’s a big deal! On the other hand, though, Republicans have to be pretty disappointed with their showing. They will likely gain around eight seats, which is relatively low by historical standards. Since the end of World War II, the president’s party has lost an average of 26 House seats in midterm elections.8 Of course, Republicans had an unexpectedly good 2020 election in the House, so they were starting from a higher baseline (you can’t flip a seat that you already control). But even their raw seat total is underwhelming by the standards of recent midterms. Republicans controlled 242 seats after the 2010 midterms and 247 after 2014; Democrats held 233 after the 2006 midterms and 235 after 2018.

More importantly, it will likely be a difficult feat for House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to muster up 218 votes to pass anything — or even be elected speaker. While a GOP House would mostly be playing defense (killing Democratic bills, conducting investigations into the Biden administration) rather than offense (passing its own bills), it would still need to pass bipartisan legislation like the budget. And conservative hardliners made it difficult for Republicans to govern even when they had wider majorities in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. So we could be in for a chaotic two years in the south wing of the Capitol and look back at the 2022 elections as a Republican victory in name only.

Watch: https://abcnews.go.com/fivethirtyeight/video/trump-win-gop-nomination-fivethirtyeight-politics-podcast-93445345