Republicans hold US House; Senate majority likely

(Photo Credit: Mark Meredith)
(Photo Credit: Mark Meredith)

(AP) – Republicans have clinched continued House control for the new Congress.

They’ll likely lose seats from their current historic high, but they won enough seats to extend their six-year streak of commanding the chamber.

With results still being counted early Wednesday, Republicans have won at least 218 House seats. That exceeds the number needed to control the chamber.

Democrats started the year hoping Donald Trump’s divisive presidential candidacy would cost Republicans bushels of House seats. His impact on down-ballot candidates proved spotty.

Republicans now control 247 seats in the House. With a smaller GOP majority, dissident hard-right conservatives could have added leverage to press House Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders on the budget and other issues.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has narrowly defeated Democrat Katie McGinty in the most expensive political race in Senate history.

Toomey’s victory keeps Republicans in control of the Senate with races still to be decided in Louisiana and Alaska.

Toomey, a former three-term congressman, was considered one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents. A fiscal hawk, he was seeking a second term after compiling one of the most conservative voting records in Congress. Toomey tried to distance himself from Donald Trump as he appealed to moderate Democrats and independent voters willing to split their tickets, particularly in Philadelphia’s heavily populated suburbs.

McGinty, who has never held public office, was trying to become Pennsylvania’s first female senator. The 53-year-old worked in Bill Clinton’s White House and was recruited by top Washington Democrats to challenge Toomey.

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