Democrats projected to retain their House majority but lose key seats to Republicans

·6 min read


  • Decision Desk HQ has projected Democrats to retain control of the House of Representatives after the 2020 election.

  • The Democrats have failed, however, to protect some of their most vulnerable representatives and to expand their control of the House.

  • As of November 30, Democrats had lost a net of nine seats to Republicans. Just two House races, the race in Iowa's 2nd District and the race in New York's 22nd District, remain too close to call.

  • Before the election, many election analysts expected Democrats to easily maintain and expand their majority in the House by anywhere from five to 15 seats based on polling and fundraising data.

  • Republicans look poised to maintain control of the Senate.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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Democrats will continue to control the House of Representatives after the 2020 election, according to Decision Desk HQ.

Nine races remain to be called, but DDHQ on November 9 projected the Democrats to win the 218 seats needed for a House majority.

The Democrats won the House despite falling short of their aim to expand their control of the chamber and losing key seats to Republicans.

As of November 30, they had lost nine seats on net. Just two US Hose races with incredibly close margins, the open race in Iowa's 2nd District, where six votes separate the winning and losing candidates, and Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi's reelection bid in New York's 22nd District, remain too close to call.

Democrats also won back the White House, with DDHQ on November 6 projecting Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. Republicans still have a good chance of maintaining control of the Senate, which could cause legislative gridlock.

In the 2018 midterms, Democrats flipped 40 seats in the House and won back the chamber in a historic election — a repudiation of both President Donald Trump and the unified Republican government he presided over for nearly two years.

House Democrats' top goal in the 2020 cycle was to ensure many of their most vulnerable members who had won back the most difficult seats were reelected. Republicans posted a remarkably strong showing, however, contrary to what many district-level polls and election forecasts indicated.

The House currently consists of 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who is retiring), and five vacancies. All 435 seats in the House were up for election this fall.


Numerous freshman Democrats lost reelection

The vulnerable first-term Democrats who Decision Desk HQ projects to lose reelection are Reps. TJ Cox, Gil Cisneros, and Harley Rouda of California, Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala of Florida, Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, Rep. Max Rose of New York, Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, and Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah.

Rep. Collin Peterson, a long-serving Democratic representative in a Minnesota district that Trump won by 30 points, also lost reelection.

Some House Democrats who flipped Republican suburban and exurban seats in 2018 did win reelection, however, including Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia, Rep. Katie Porter of California, Reps. Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, and Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey.

Democrats also fell short on many offensive targets

House Democrats set out on an ambitious agenda to flip many Republican-controlled seats, particularly in Texas and in many suburban districts around the country.

But Democrats have failed, so far, to flip a single GOP-held seat other than Georgia's 7th Congressional District, located in the Atlanta suurbs, and two North Carolina seats that they were virtually guaranteed to flip because of court-ordered redistricting, according to DDHQ projections.

Democrats will not pick up competitive US House seats in Texas' 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, or 24th congressional districts, DDHQ projected.

While Biden is projected to carry Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District's sole Electoral College vote, the Democratic candidate Kara Eastman failed in her second bid to unseat the district's congressional representative, Don Bacon, in this Omaha-based seat.

Also in the Midwest, GOP Rep. Ann Wagner won reelection in her district located in suburban St. Louis, over the Democratic candidate Jill Schupp. The Republican Victoria Spartz defeated the Democrat Christina Hale in the open race for Indiana's 5th District, a wealthy seat in suburban Indianapolis that Democrats saw as a possible pickup opportunity.

In Michigan, the Republican Peter Meijer defeated the Democrat Hillary Scholten to succeed the retiring Rep. Justin Amash. And GOP Rep. Steve Chabot held off a challenge from the Democrat Kate Schroder in Ohio's 1st Congressional District, located in the Cincinnati area.

An incoming class of history-makers

Several of the newly elected state representatives are making history.

The Republican Madison Cawthorn, 25, who beat the Democrat Moe Davis to represent North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history.

The Democrat Cori Bush is set to become the first Black congresswoman from Missouri after winning in the state's 1st Congressional District.

The Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres will also be the first openly gay Black men to serve in Congress, after winning in New York's 17th and 15th districts respectively.

And nine out of the eleven Republicans who have so far unseated incumbent Democrats (Michelle Steel and Young Kim of California, Maria Salazar of Florida, Ashley Hinson of Iowa, Nicole Malliotakis of New York, Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, and Nancy Mace of South Carolina) are women — wins that will drastically expand the representation of women and especially of women of color in the House Republican caucus.

Currently, there are just 13 voting female Republican representatives in the House and 11 female Republican incumbents who ran for reelection in 2020.

'The squad' coasts to reelection

Three high-profile Democratic members of "the squad" in the House of Representatives held their seats in a comfortable fashion.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will continue to represent New York's 14th District, defeating the Republican John Cummings by a wide margin, while Rep. Ilhan Omar also ran well ahead of the Republican Lacy Johnson in the race to represent Minnesota's 5th District.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib also defeated her Republican challenger, David Dudenhoefer, and will continue to represent Michigan's 13th Congressional District.

Insider's guides and live results for the key US House seats up for election in 2020




















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