House stays Republican as GOP limits losses

 
Democrats had gained a net total of seven seats by Wednesday morning as Trump, who for much of the campaign was expected to be a drag on House Republicans, was projected the presidential winner. 
 
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"We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the new administration to advance an agenda to improve the lives of the American people. This has been a great night for our party, and now we must turn our focus to bringing the country together," Ryan said.
 
Democrats were long expected to fall short of netting the necessary 30 seats to win back the House. But in the end, they might not be able to make much headway in erasing the historic gains made by the GOP in the 2014 midterm elections.
 
With Republicans defending the largest House majority since the Great Depression, keeping losses to single digits would be seen as a big success for the party. 
 
Freshman GOP Reps. Bruce Poliquin (Maine), Barbara Comstock (Va.), David Young (Iowa), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Rod Blum (Iowa), and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) were all projected to win reelection.
 
Reps. David Valadao (Calif.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who all represent districts with large Hispanic populations, also won reelection.
 
Freshman Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) was projected midday Wednesday to lose reelection to Republican Don Bacon. He's the first incumbent House Democrat to be defeated by a Republican. 
 
Most of those Republicans struggled all year with responding to Trump’s frequent controversies, ranging from proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. to his derogatory comments about women. House Democrats spent the last several months trying to tie House GOP candidates to Trump with the expectation that they'd face backlash from voters for supporting him.
 
In the end, the idea of a Trump effect didn't materialize the way Democrats thought it would in suburban, well-educated districts.
 
Coffman refused to say who he’d vote for and even suggested in the final weeks of the campaign that he might not vote for president at all.
 
Comstock tepidly got behind Trump, but later rescinded her support after the release of a 2005 video of the GOP nominee bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent.
 
Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen, meanwhile, said early on they’d refuse to vote for Trump.
 
An open seat in Wisconsin stayed in GOP hands, despite initial Democratic hopes that Rep. Reid RibbleReid James RibbleWith Trump, conservatives hope for ally in 'War on Christmas' GOP rushes to embrace Trump House stays Republican as GOP limits losses MORE's (R-Wis.) retirement would offer a potential pickup. Republican Mike Gallagher prevailed over Democrat Tom Nelson in the Green Bay-area district.
 
Three competitive open GOP-held seats in New York and Pennsylvania also stayed in the party’s column.
 
Early on, Republicans flipped two seats in Florida.

Republican Neal Dunn defeated Democrat Walter Dartland in Florida's 2nd Congressional District. That seat was vacated by retiring Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.). The Florida Panhandle-area seat had become even more favorable to Republicans this year due to redistricting.

In southeastern Florida's 18th District, Republican Brian Mast prevailed over Democrat Randy Perkins. The seat had been vacated by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), who ran for Senate and lost earlier in the evening to Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (R-Fla.).

In the biggest upset of the night so far, former House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) lost to Democrat Stephanie Murphy. Mica, who’s served in the House since 1993, wasn’t considered to be seriously vulnerable until later in the election cycle.

Mica’s district became more Democratic as a result of redistricting. Democrats had struggled to find a viable recruit until Murphy announced her candidacy right before the late June deadline, which fell after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Another longtime incumbent, Rep. Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettManufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank Trump taps nominee to lead Export-Import Bank Who has the edge for 2018: Republicans or Democrats? MORE (R-N.J.), lost to Democrat Josh Gottheimer. Garrett is a member of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus and chairs an influential subcommittee on the House Financial Services panel.

In Illinois, Democrat Brad Schneider defeated Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) in their third consecutive rematch. The district has switched parties in the past three elections in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

And Democrat Ruben Kihuen defeated freshman Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.) after the battleground state went to Hillary Clinton. Kihuen will be Nevada's first Mexican-born member of Congress and first Hispanic to represent the state in two decades.

Democrats are separately hoping to defeat Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a 15-year incumbent and former House Oversight Committee chairman. 

Democrat Jacky Rosen defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian in an open Nevada seat. The incumbent, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), ran for Senate and lost to Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.
 
Democrat Carol Shea-Porter unseated Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) in a rematch where she was expected to prevail.
 
In Florida's 10th District, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings cruised to victory. Demings is the first woman and first African-American to represent the district. The district had previously been represented by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who decided to run for reelection this year in another jurisdiction.

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) defeated Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) in the 13th District, which had become more Democratic thanks to redrawn boundaries. Jolly had originally run for Senate but decided to run for reelection after Rubio reversed course on keeping his seat.

Democrats were expected to unseat Jolly, the first incumbent House Republican to lose reelection Tuesday night. But they weren't able to take down Curbelo in Florida's 26th District, one of the most competitive House races heading into Election Day.  

Democrats also weren't able to flip a hotly contested seat in northern Virginia that included suburbs of Washington, D.C. Comstock won reelection against Democrat LuAnn Bennett in a tightly contested race.

Democrats gained another expected seat in southeastern Virginia, where redistricting helped propel Democrat Donald McEachin to victory. The incumbent, Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (R-Va.), tried to run in another district but lost the GOP primary earlier this year. 

Democrats also weren't able to flip a hotly contested seat in northern Virginia that included suburbs of Washington, D.C. Comstock won reelection against Democrat LuAnn Bennett in a tightly contested race.
 
— Updated at 12:24 p.m. Wednesday