Republicans took back the House by taking back territory in swing districts that Democrats picked up in the last two election cycles, and then some.
For instance, Democrats wiped out Republicans in the northeast in 2006 and 2008, winning both New Hampshire House seats, adding seats in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey...and even on Staten Island, the final GOP stronghold in an urban area anywhere in the country.
The GOP took back most of that.
Republicans also swiped back territory they ceded to Democrats in Virginia, as freshman lawmakers like Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello headed to defeat...with Gerry Connolly hanging on by a thread. But they added to that by wiping out 28-year veteran Richard Boucher in southwest Virginia.
Ohio, Florida and Indiana were bloodbaths for Democrats. In 2006 and 2008, Democrats added four House seats. They gave all of those back and then some this round. Same in Indiana.
Then there was the west.
Republicans wiped out freshman lawmakers in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Democrats enjoyed a near-complete seachange in the past two cycles. Now many of those victories are gone.
And then there were Republican surgical strikes in the Dakotas. The GOP took out veteran Congressman Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota, and South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
But then there were places where Republicans defeated veteran lawmakers and committtee chairs. Committee Chairman to lose included Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC). Both were moderates. And Republicans had their eyes on these seats for years, thinking they would only flip to red after those veteran Democrats retired.
Instead, Republicans just retired them.
In addition, senior moderate lawmakers like Reps. Gene Taylor (D-MS), Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Allen Boyd (D-FL) also met their political demise. All are Blue Dog Democrats.
In short, being a moderate Democrat in a district with GOP demographics....and voting against the Democratic leadership, wasn't enough to innoculate these lawmakers.
Republicans struck in every portion of the country. And many of those same districts flipped tonight could be expected to be in play again in two years.