Republicans projected to keep House majority

Republicans are projected to hold onto their majority in the House, keeping the gavel in the hands of Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio).

Democrats would have needed a net gain of 25 seats to recapture the House, and early results in races across the country show them falling well short of that mark.

The result is a resounding victory for House Republicans, who rode into power in the Tea Party-fueled wave election of 2010, and a bitter defeat for Democrats who had hoped to make Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) Speaker of the House once more.

BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE described the House GOP majority over the last two years as “the primary line of defense” against a government that “spends too much, taxes too much and certainly borrows too much.”

“The American people want solutions — and tonight, they've responded by renewing our House Republican majority,” Boehner said during remarks Tuesday evening in Washington. “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.” 

Nonpartisan election forecasters project Democratic gains in the House to be in the low single digits, and it’s possible that Republicans will find themselves with an even larger majority once all the votes are in.

Republicans scored their first big pickup in Kentucky, where attorney Andy BarrAndy BarrThe Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House How we can boost the economy through foreign direct investment MORE defeated Rep. Ben Chandler, one of the few remaining Blue Dog Democrats in the South. In North Carolina, Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) fell to conservative Republican Richard Hudson. 

Democrats notched a win in New Hampshire, where Ann McLane Kuster defeated Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) in a replay of 2010, and in Maryland, where ten-term Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) lost his his seat to Democratic challenger John Delaney.

Perhaps the biggest bright spot for Democrats was Illinois, where they defeated Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and held onto a seat left open by Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.).

Rep. Israel (N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), tried to put a positive spin on his failed campaign to retake the House.

"The Republicans said that tonight they were going to win 16 seats," he said. "Wrong! We're not letting them win 16 seats, we're stopping them in their tracks. We're going to gain seats tonight in the House of Representatives," Israel said. 

— Molly K. Hooper, Mike Lillis and Russell Berman contributed.

This story was last updated at 11:43 p.m.