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Ryan on midterms: 'Tonight history has repeated itself'

Ryan on midterms: 'Tonight history has repeated itself'
© Matt Litman

Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEarmarks look to be making a comeback Former staffers push Congress for action on sexual harassment measure House Republicans need history lesson in battle over next leader MORE (R-Wisc.) in his final statement as Speaker of the House said "history has repeated itself" this midterm election cycle, adding that "a party in power always faces tough odds in its first midterm election." 

The Democrats took back the House on Tuesday night, flipping more than the 23 seats needed to take back control after eight years of a Republican majority. 

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"It is always hard to see friends and good colleagues work so hard and fall short," Ryan said in the statement.  "Yet I’m proud of the campaign that our members and candidates ran in a challenging political environment."

Ryan's statement noted that the president's party since 1862 has lost an average of 32 House seats during the midterm elections. 

The retiring Wisconsin Republican congratulated Democrats for winning the majority and the Senate Republicans for maintaining theirs.

"We don’t need an election to know that we are a divided nation, and now we have a divided Washington," Ryan added. "As a country and a government, we must find a way to come together to find common ground and build on the successes of this Congress." 

Ryan announced earlier this year that he would be retiring in November. 

The GOP held Ryan's vacated seat in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, as Republican Brian Steil won a closely watched-race against Democrat Randy Bryce.

Ryan's statement echoed the sentiments expressed by House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiGraham backs bill to protect Mueller Clyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid Congress can unite on global affairs MORE (D-Calif.) earlier Tuesday night. 

Pelosi during remarks after Democrats won the House laid out a vision of a "bipartisan" Congress in which Democrats have a "responsibility to find our common ground when we can." 

"We’ll have a ... bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong," she said.

Pelosi in October expressed confidence that she would become Speaker again if Democrats took back the House but described herself as a "transitional figure." She did not give a timeframe for how long she would want to remain in that post.