Democrats Take Over Majority In House

Come January, Democrats will be in control of the House of Representatives for the first time since Republicans rode the revolution of change in 1994.

Democratic leaders promise that with control, will come new change.

"We are on the brink of a great Democratic victory," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., who as House Minority Leader is poised to become House speaker under the new Democratic rule.

Check Your State, Check Your Race by clicking BALANCE OF POWER dropdown menu above.

• Click here to visit YOU DECIDE 2006,'s complete election center.

"What a wonderful night," declared Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who handily won his re-election campaign and announced that he will run to become majority leader, the No. 2 position in the House. He is currently in the post of minority whip, Pelosi's chief deputy.

"Democrats are more unified than they have been in 50 years due to the hard work of our leaders and our caucus. We have put forward responsible budgets, proposed smarter defense policies, advanced innovative ideas on energy independence and stood strong against the privatization of Social Security. I have been proud to be a part of all of those efforts every step of the way," he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Democratic pols in both the House and Senate as well as from winners in the country's gubernatorial races, which also tipped in the Democrats' favor this year.

Key House races in Connecticut, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida went early for Democrats in a wave that analysts say was spurred by voter dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq and the overall direction of the country.

Exit polls conducted by FOX News indicated in the battleground state of Ohio, 59 percent of voters said they would like to see some sort of withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Sixty percent of voters also indicated they disapproved of President Bush's job performance, while 63 percent felt their own state's economy was going poorly.

In exit polling in Arizona, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia, 41 percent of voters who cast their ballots approved of Bush's job performance, while 58 percent disapproved.

Of the 37 percent in those states who said the war in Iraq was an extremely important issue in how they voted, 61 percent indicated they voted Democrat, while 37 percent said they voted for the Republican.

Meanwhile, of the 42 percent who said corruption and scandal in government was extremely important in their vote, 61 percent said they voted for the Democrat, while 36 percent went Republican.

"It's kind of rough out here," conceded House Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert during his own victory speech in his Illinois district, before saying Republicans would be on hand to mesh out their own interpretations of the elections on Wednesday.

Longtime Republican incumbents, who were used to a fight because of their competitive districts, found themselves on the losing end for the first time:

Rep. Nancy Johnson , R-Conn., who after 12 terms and many tough-fought re-election battles, lost to Democratic newcomer Chris Murphy;

Rep. Curt Weldon , R-Pa., who served 10 terms in office, was beaten by Democrat Joe Sestak, a retired vice admiral. Weldon had been dogged by charges of corruption and disenchantment in his competitive district;

Rep. Clay Shaw , R-Fla., has been in office for 13 terms, but voter dissatisfaction brought him a pink slip in favor of his Democratic opponent, Ron Klein.

Several Republican revolutionaries also lost their jobs: Reps. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota and Sue Kelly of New York all took office in the 1994 wave but are now going home.

Then there were the representatives who didn't appear to be in big trouble, but at the end of the day found themselves out of a job.

— In Pennsylvania, three-term Republican Rep. Melissa Hart was ousted by Democrat Jason Altmire; and,

— In New Hampshire, two-term Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley lost to Democrat Carol Shea-Porter.

Kirsten Powers, Democratic strategist and FOX News contributor, said the Democrats are now in a position to turn the country's disenchantment over Iraq into a positive petition for change and for more vigorous oversight of the war policy.

"I don’t think (voters) believe the administration has acknowledged the problems that have been happening there" in Iraq, said Powers. And Republicans in Congress "have been there all along the way. They have really just been saying whatever the president says is the way to go."

But Juan Williams, National Public Radio correspondent and FOX News contributor, warned that the election hangover will wear off and the pressure will be on Democrats to quickly produce, particularly on a new direction for U.S. foreign policy.

It also will spur talk about new chairmen in House committees.

Based on current top assignments for Democrats in their respective committees, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan would take the reins of the House Judiciary panel. Rep. Jane Harman of California will take over the Intelligence Committee and Rep. Henry Waxman, also of California, will be in charge of the Government Reform Committee.

Rep. Charlie Rangel, R-N.Y, is set to take over the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which steers the House tax policy.

The Democratic victory in the House will no doubt be touched upon in the president's press conference on Wednesday afternoon. FOX News analyst and National Review editor Rich Lowry said it would be no surprise if the White House was in "shock mode" right now.

"The White House is going to step back on its heels for a while," and enter a "grieving process. And then start figuring out a way forward," said Lowry. "They are a little bit in the shock mode."