(NewsNation) — Republicans inched ever closer to regaining control of the House on Monday night, with Decision Desk HQ now projecting GOP winners in 217 races.
Democrats were projected to win 203 seats, leaving just 15 races uncalled. Five races were called for Republicans on Monday in New York and California, giving the GOP a net gain of nine congressional seats thus far.
But party leaders had been hoping for — some of them outright expecting — a much bigger gain by now. Historical trends and inflation at 40-year highs had the GOP predicting a red wave that failed to materialize and even left Democrats talking about the possibility of retaining control of the chamber.
Weekend victories in Arizona and Nevada mean Democrats will head into the new year holding power in the Senate, with a runoff in Georgia presenting an opportunity to boost their majority by one seat.
In the House, key races still being tabulated included Colorado’s 3rd and California’s 3rd and 27th Congressional Districts. The Colorado contest was a surprisingly close one between incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman.
In California’s 27th, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia was looking to fend off a challenge from Democrat Christy Smith. The district in Los Angeles County elected a Democrat in 2018 and President Joe Biden won it handily in 2020, but Garcia has proven a strong candidate.
If Republicans secure a majority, the leadership of the party remains a question. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) late Monday announced a run for speaker of the House, challenging House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the Republican conference’s nomination to the post.
“We have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives. And it’s a new world, and yes, I’m going to be nominated tomorrow to … the position of speaker of the House,” Biggs said in a Monday interview on Newsmax.
McCarthy needs to win a majority from House GOP members in a secret-ballot election Tuesday to secure his conference’s nomination for the post. After that, all House members will vote on the floor on the first day of the new Congress in January, where McCarthy would need at least 218 votes to secure the speakership, assuming all 435 members are sworn in that day.
The Hill contributed to this report.