Republicans keep House majority, projected to gain 12 seats

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Republicans have kept control of the House and are expected to win at least 12 additional seats to expand their majority beyond their post-World War II record of 246 seats set in the 1946 election, Fox News projected Tuesday night.

Out of all 435 House seats up for grabs, only about a dozen were considered close.

Among them was the race in New York’s Staten Island, where GOP. Rep. Michael Grimm, underfunded and facing a 20-count federal indictment, fended off Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia.

“The people have spoken,” GOP state party Chairman Ed Cox said. “Grimm will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the 11th congressional district, veterans and those still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy."

Republicans had hoped wins Tuesday would also increase the number of GOP congresswomen.

In upstate New York, 30-year-old Republican Elise Stefanik won an open seat, making her the youngest female House member in history.

And Mia Love won an open Utah House seat, making her the first black female Republican in Congress.

However, Marilinda Garcia, a state lawmaker and Tea Party favorite, lost in her long-shot bid to take a New Hampshire House seat from Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster.

The Arizona House race for Martha McSally, the first female Air Force pilot to fly in combat, was undecided early Wednesday morning, with precincts still reporting.

The other tight races decided before midnight included the upstate New York contest in which GOP Rep. Chris Gibson survived a tough challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge and the North Carolina contest in which incumbent GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers fended off American Idol star and Democrat Clay Aiken.

Ellmers was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave but apparently has fallen out of favor with some conservatives who think she is soft on immigration.

In West Virginia, Republican Alex Mooney won the seat left open when GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito decided to run for a Senate seat, a race she won Tuesday.

Some of the early GOP pickups included Georgia Republican Rick Allen over four-term Democratic incumbent Rep. John Barrow.

“I look forward to working with him to create jobs, dismantle ObamaCare, and stand up to a president that is so clearly out of touch with the priorities of Georgia families,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden.

One of the first House races decided Tuesday was for the seat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The Virginia Republican lost his primary race to Dave Brat.

Brat defeated Democratic opponent Jack Trammell and Libertarian candidate James Carr, in Virginia's heavily Republican 7th District.

Love narrowly lost in 2012 and returned with more money and a stronger campaign that helped give her a solid lead in the polls over Democratic challenger Doug Owens.

McSally is in a rematch with Democratic Rep. Ron Barber for the seat once held by his former boss, retired Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Barber narrowly defeated McSally in 2012, making the rematch among the most compelling races of the midterm cycle. Giffords left Congress to recover from a head wound she sustained in a 2011 mass shooting.

The nonpartisan website listed the race as a tossup.

Of the 435 races, 233 Republicans and 199 Democrats were up for re-election. The other three races are for vacant seats -- two for Democrats and one for Republicans.

Most of the races are not competitive because Republicans are in GOP-leaning districts and Democrats are in more liberal-leaning districts. The Barber-McSally race is an exception because the Phoenix-area district is a mix of voters from both parties.

Perhaps the most unusual House race was in Louisiana where GOP Rep. Vance McAllister lost his re-election bid in a contest with five other candidates -- four other Republicans and one Democrat.

McAllister, who is married, originally said he wouldn’t seek re-election after being seen on video tape earlier this year kissing a female staffer. None of the candidate got 50 percent of the vote, which means the race will be decided in a two-person December runoff.

Also in Louisiana, former governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards, a Democrat, advance in a race with 10 other candidates for an open House seat. The 87-year-old Edwards, who served nine years in prison on corruption charges, will be in a runoff next month with Republican candidate Garret Graves, the other top vote-getter.