(NewsNation) — Republicans will hold a majority in the U.S. House following the midterm elections, according to projections by Decision Desk HQ. The result comes a week after the polls closed, due in part to the election laws in states with the tightest races.
The result that clinched the projection for the GOP was California’s 3rd Congressional District. As of 9 p.m. ET, Republicans are projected to hold at least 219 seats, which is one more than the minimum for a majority.
Republicans needed to gain six House seats to secure a majority to take legislative power away from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, and deliver a potential blow to President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Republicans were able to flip House seats in Virginia, where Republican Jennifer Kiggans beat Democrat Elaine Luria. In Florida, Republican nominee Laurel Lee beat Democrat Alan Cohn in a newly drawn district, and Republican Neal Dunn beat Democrat Al Lawson in one of only a handful of elections nationwide that pitted incumbents against each other.
Republicans were expected to win control of the House for much of the election cycle, as the party that controls the White House typically loses a chamber, or both chambers, of Congress during midterm elections.
In fact, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced his bid for Speaker of the House well before the race was called.
But what was expected to be a formality turned into a dayslong count. Scott Tranter, an investor and adviser to Decision Desk HQ, said polls pointed to the GOP securing the House quickly on Election Night.
In a one sentence statement following the projection, McCarthy said, “The era of one-party Democrat rule in Washington is over.”
The GOP spent much of its campaign season attacking President Biden and his administration on issues of inflation, crime and immigration, often tying Democrats running in midterm races to Biden, who has had low approval ratings nationwide.
Winning a simple majority in the House may not be enough for Republicans, especially McCarthy, to be satisfied, NewsNation political editor Chris Stirewalt said.
“If you have a narrow majority, what John Boehner used to call the ‘knuckleheads,’ the Freedom Caucus, the hardliners, will hold Kevin McCarthy, they will dangle him over the pit every day of his life,” Stirewalt said. “They’ll say, ‘If you don’t impeach Biden today … if you don’t do this today … if we don’t have a government shutdown today. …’ McCarthy needs some breathing room.”
Stirewalt said he thinks Republicans need to pick up 15-25 seats to be sitting in a comfortable spot of power in the House.
McCarthy cleared the first step toward becoming the speaker on Tuesday, winning support from a majority of his conference members in a secret vote. He now must fend off objections from those within his own party until the full House takes a formal vote when the new session convenes in January. He needs to shore up support from 218 lawmakers.
On Tuesday, 31 Republicans voted against McCarthy to be the party’s leader. NewsNation’s DC Bureau Chief Mike Viqueira said almost all of them will need to switch their votes in January for McCarthy to take the gavel.
“If they don’t, there’s going to be utter chaos on the floor because Democrats are not going to give them any quarter,” Viqueira said.
House Republicans have said they would use control of the House to launch investigations into the Biden administration and Democrats, in much the same way Democrats launched multiple inquiries into former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo before the midterms it would be part of Republicans’ “constitutional duty” to investigate Democrats.
“The American people deserve the facts,” Jordan said. “Part of our constitutional duty, when I take the oath of office on Jan. 3 in a new Congress, assuming we win in this election, part of our constitutional duty is to do those investigations, do the oversight so the people, we the people, get the facts, get the truth.”