Home>News Center>World

Republicans extend decade of house control
Updated: 2004-11-03 23:45

The power of incumbency and an advantageous GOP redistricting in Texas swept Republicans to another two years of control over the House of Representatives.

Virtually all sitting representatives in the 435-member House won re-election, leaving Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay and their GOP majority firmly in charge.

Republicans were poised to add a few seats as they embark on another term of House control the first time the party has achieved 12 consecutive years in power in the chamber since the dozen years that ended in January 1933.

"The American people have spoken tonight, and all indications are that they have hired a Republican House of Representatives for the sixth straight election," said DeLay, whose push for redistricting in Texas helped the GOP knock off four veteran Texas Democrats.

Republicans also gained seats in the Senate, keeping Congress under party control. But Democrats will retain enough votes there to make it hard for Republicans to push through their programs.

Nevertheless, Republican leaders sought to portray the results as an affirmation of their priorities in Congress. The vote is "an endorsement by the American people that you're moving in the right direction when it comes to security and safety and more on terror, prescription drugs and education," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee told CNN.

In the House, Democrats knocked off one Republican incumbent Rep. Philip M. Crane of Illinois, the party's longest-serving member but came nowhere close to taking the 12 seats they needed to win back control.

Even celebrity didn't help. Kentucky Democrat Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney and brother of the late singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, lost his bid for an open seat to Geoff Davis.

Clooney said his defeat wasn't a reflection on his party. "We just picked the wrong candidate this time," he said.

By early Wednesday, Republicans had won 228 seats and were leading in five other races, which could give them at least 233 seats. Democrats had won 199 seats and led in two other contests.

Republicans hold a 227-205 advantage over Democrats in the outgoing House, plus two vacant seats formerly held by Republicans who have retired and one independent who sides with Democrats.

A minimum of 218 seats are needed for House control.

In case of a tie in the Electoral College between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, the House chooses the next president, which likely means another four years in the White House for Bush.

Nearly all incumbents sailed to re-election, including former presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Also returned for a second term was Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., who was secretary of state during the pivotal presidential recount in the Sunshine State four years ago.

Besides Hastert and DeLay, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland all won re-election.

But Crane, who suffered a career-ending defeat, said it was time to go. "I am ready for retirement because the good Lord knows what he is doing," the 73-year-old said as he conceded defeat to Melissa Bean.

The Democratic businesswoman lost to Crane in 2002, but won Tuesday with 52 percent of the vote in a district that stretches from Chicago's northwest and northern suburbs to the Wisconsin state line and was supposed to be one of the most Republican in Illinois.


Democrat John Salazar also picked up a western Colorado seat vacated by a retiring Republican, and was headed to Washington with younger brother Ken, who was elected to the Senate.

But Republicans made sure history would be on their side by redrawing congressional districts in Texas, causing four of five Democratic incumbents to lose their seats, including two of the party's longest-serving members.

Reps. Charles Stenholm and Martin Frost, a former party leader and dean of the Texas delegation, were defeated, as were Reps. Max Sandlin and Nick Lampson. The four had a total of 68 years in the House.

Rep. Chet Edwards, the fifth targeted Democrat, survived in a central Texas district that includes Bush's ranch.

Other Texas Democrats were still fighting in the courts, hoping for redrawn districts so they can make a comeback.

A final tally for the House won't be available for several days. Two Louisiana races headed toward runoffs with Republican Billy Tauzin III against Democrat Charlie Melancon, and GOP candidate Charles Boustany and Democrat Willie Mount. Other races were yet to be called, including in Pennsylvania, Washington state, New York, Georgia and Indiana.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

President Hu congratulates Bush on re-election



ASEAN-China trade better than expected



Chinese to travel in space in 20 years: official



Consumer prices facing new pressures



Overseas investment encouraged with loans



China, Zimbabwe sign agreements, contracts


  President Hu congratulates Bush on re-election
  Arafat takes turn for worse, aides say
  Bush win sends oil near $51 a barrel
  Kerry calls Bush to concede election
  Republicans extend decade of house control
  World leaders adapt to anticipated Bush win
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?