In what has almost been a daily event since Election Day last week, Democrats won two more GOP seats in the House on Thursday, as a new form of runoff election in Maine knocked off a Republican incumbent, and Democrats defeated another Republican in California, increasing the gains of Democrats to 36 seats, with six GOP seats still undecided.
In Maine, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) had asked a federal judge to block the final tabulation of results in his district under the format known as “ranked choice voting” – but the judge refused, saying that was a political question, as Maine voters had approved the new runoff format twice in statewide elections.
Along with Poliquin, the AP declared Democrats the winner in California’s 45th district, where Katie Porter defeated Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), giving Democrats four GOP seats so far in the Golden State.
That now means 27 House GOP incumbents were defeated in last week’s elections; Democrats lead in three of the six remaining undecided House races, including another in California, where Republican Young Kim’s lead finally vanished on Thursday, as she dropped 941 votes behind Democrat Gil Cisneros.
“Now we’re getting up to forty,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “That’s really a very big – almost a tsunami,” arguing that Democrats had to overcome Republican gerrymanders to notch their victories.
There was even more good news on Thursday evening from California, as Democrats extended their lead to 6,200 votes over Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), and Democrats took the lead for the first time in California’s 39th district – giving Democrats the chance to win six GOP seats in the Golden State.
“Orange County is the New Blue,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
“Hey are we STILL picking up house seats?” tweeted Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
Regardless of whether you call it a ‘wave’ to describe the gains by Democrats in the House, it will be the party’s biggest pickup since 1974, a class that was dubbed, “the Watergate babies,” when Democrats gained 49 seats.
Overall, there will most likely be over 90 new members of the House, getting close to the total change in the Tea Party midterm election of 2010, when 94 new members arrived on Capitol Hill.
While Pelosi expressed excitement about the growing number of new Democrats in the Congress, she flashed a bit of impatience with reporters on Thursday, as they pestered her again with questions about whether she would have the votes to once again be Speaker of the House.
“I intend to win the Speakership,” said Pelosi, who served as Speaker for four years between 2007 and 2011.
“I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be Speaker of the House,” Pelosi added, even as other Democrats were trying to come up with another candidate to oppose her.
Pressed by reporters at a news conference, Pelosi said she would welcome a challenge by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), or anyone else.
“I say it to everybody, come on in, the water’s warm,” Pelosi said.
While Republicans held their leadership elections this week – House Democrats won’t vote until after Thanksgiving.