NBC News is projecting that the Republican Party will hold onto control of the House majority, though Democrats Tammy Duckworth and Alan Grayson lead their races.
According to the projection, Republicans will hold a roughly 241-194 edge in the next Congress. That’s the exact same margin as now.
There are some silver linings for progressives, however. Liberal bomb-thrower and former congressman Alan Grayson holds a commanding double-digit lead so far in Florida’s ninth congressional district. His uncommonly vitriolic campaign against Republican Todd Long appears to be paying off.
Tammy Duckworth is also currently leading against her Republican opponent, Joe Walsh, in Illinois’ eighth district. Walsh, of course, made headlines over the summer for suggesting that Duckworth—an Army vet and multiple amputee—might not be a true war hero because “all she talks about” is her military service.
The Citizens United decision may have played a larger role in House races than any other federal contest this year, as House candidates tended to have lower name recognition (and therefore less free advertising) than either presidential or Senate candidates. Super PACs flooded key house races with millions of dollars, with a significant but not overwhelming majority of that money going towards Republican candidates.
The Republican majority’s resilience also suggests that the Tea Party caucus is here to stay. Democrats are not expected to eliminate a significant portion of the Tea Party’s class of 2010.
UPDATE (10:24 p.m): Even if Paul Ryan doesn’t become president of the Senate, he’ll still have a home on the Hill. NBC now projects that he will win re-election in his Wisconsin House district. If Ryan also wins the vice presidency, and chooses to leave his House seat, then his district will have a special election to replace him.
UPDATE (12:49 a.m.): The House Democrats are now expected to make some incremental gains: NBC projects they will pick up two additional seats, bringing the Republican advantage down to 239-196.
UPDATE (1:07 a.m.): Allen West, the famously militant Tea Party Republican from Florida, is projected to narrowly lose to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
UPDATE (2:08 a.m.): Another prominent voice on the right-most edge of the Tea Party is likely to be defeated tonight. Former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is now projected to narrowly lose her House seat.
UPDATE (2:13 a.m.): With 3% more of the votes in, Bachmann has pulled ahead and is now again the projected winner.