Republicans were hoping Thursday to pull out a narrow win in the House of Representatives but still have not locked up the majority, a far cry from the sweeping midterms win some were expecting.

The GOP was projected to win about 220 House seats, according to CNN, a modest gain of a handful of seats that should be enough to forge a razor-thin majority.

But two days after polls closed, the GOP still had not wrapped up the 218 seats needed to win a majority. Democrats still clung to slim hopes of retaining control of the House, with their chances hinging on scoring a series of upsets in red-leaning districts on the West Coast where mail-in votes were still being counted.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has announced he plans to run for speaker of the House regardless of the small size of any putative GOP majority, and his top deputy Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said he would run for the No. 2 role.

“I trust you know that earning the majority is only the beginning,” McCarthy said in a letter to fellow GOP lawmakers. “Now, we will be measured by what we do with our majority.”

McCarthy was making calls Thursday to bolster his chances of securing the gavel.


There was no immediate sign of an open challenge to McCarthy from inside the GOP caucus.

CNN reported that members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus have already warned McCarthy that at least 25 GOP lawmakers will vote against him if they don’t win unspecified concessions.

“Kevin McCarthy has not done anything to earn my vote for speaker,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., told Axios.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., kept low public profiles, although they discussed the race’s state behind closed doors.

Pelosi, whose husband is recovering from a politically motivated attack at their San Francisco home, did not say whether she would run for another term as Democratic leader.

The potential for slight shifts mirrored the national political landscape, in which predictions for a Republican “wave” sweeping Congress into solid GOP control failed to materialize. Republicans were closing in on a slim House majority while Senate control will be decided by close races in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.

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