Republicans Hang On By The Skin of Their Teeth
The Democratic win in 2006 was big. Yet, Congressional Quarterly shows that it could have been much bigger. Out of the 202 Republicans that were elected in the last election, 15 of them were elected with 3% or less margin. (This includes the highly contested election for FL-13 where the Democratic candidate would have won if the electronic voting machines were working correctly.)
Of the 202 Republicans sworn in Thursday as members of 110th Congress, 15 maintained GOP control of their seats by margins of just 3 percentage points or less. On the other side of the aisle, just two of the 233 members of the new Democratic majority were winners of contests in which they retained their party’s control by similarly razor-thin margins.
In the Senate, where Democrats claimed a 51-49 majority with a six-seat net gain, only one seat was maintained by the incumbent party by fewer than 3 points, and it too was won by a Republican: Tennessee’s Bob Corker, the former Chattanooga mayor who edged Democrat Harold E. Ford Jr. for the seat that Republican Bill Frist — the outgoing Senate majority leader — left open to retire.
While Corker secured a six-year hold on his Senate seat, the close House races will be closely analyzed by strategists of both major parties as they determine which seats to target in the 2008 House campaigns.
It is still remarkable to see Tom DeLay's plan to game the system so as to create a permanent Republican majority was overwhelmed by the American people who were sick and tired of a Rubber-stamp Congress and their fealty to a delusional president. No Congress did more to deserve its late, unlamented fate. Fortunately, now we get to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi lead a Congress ready to do the people's business.