WASHINGTON – House Democratic Party leaders conceded Wednesday that Tuesday just wasn't their day. Not only did they fail to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives, they suffered a net loss of two seats with three seats still to be called.
At a Wednesday afternoon press conference on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (search) and Democratic Caucus Committee Chairman Bob Matsui (search), both of California, attempted to look on the bright side, saying that House Democrats held their own given the circumstances, including strong presidential support in states where Democratic House candidates could have been competitive and redistricting in Texas that favored GOP members. Four incumbent Democrats from Texas lost their races on Tuesday.
"We were on a tough playing field. You knew that; we knew that. I think we held our own yesterday when you consider what else happened out there in the campaign arena," Pelosi said.
As of Wednesday, the 109th Congress would contain a House that was represented by 231 Republicans, 200 Democrats and one Democratic-leaning independent. Two open seats still had to be determined in Louisiana.
Earlier in the day, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (search), who is tasked with helping GOP candidates win seats, assembled his own press conference at the Capitol Hill Club.
Unlike his colleagues on the other side of the aisle, Reynolds was aglow as he touted his party's two-seat gain so far, saying, "This is the most members we've ever elected — 231 — since 1946."
Reynolds emphasized that the two races in Louisiana will be decided on Dec. 4; historically both districts have voted Republican.
Reynolds was quick to seize on the House Democrats' defeats, calling them "demoralizing and personally damaging to Leader Pelosi," whom he said "woke up with a black eye."
"Not only did she fail in her guarantee to lead the Democrats back to a House majority, but she lost seats," he said.
Pelosi refuted Reynolds' accusations.
"I always said, on any given day, I thought that the opportunity was there for us to take back the House, and on that day, we would. It wasn't there on Election Day. I don't consider it a black eye. I think we held our own on what wasn't a very good day for the Democrats."