Republicans on Sunday picked up one of several seats that they’ll need to secure in order to gain a majority in the House of Representatives, which is still not guaranteed five days after the midterm elections were held.
Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer bested Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner to take the House seat in Oregon’s 5th District.
The win gave Republicans 212 seats in the House, still short of a minimum majority of 218 with 19 races that have not been called yet. But Republicans are not home free, and still must win most of the races where they’re leading in order to take control of the House.
As of Sunday afternoon, Republicans were leading in nine remaining races across the country and will need to win six of those to get to 218, or possibly win other races where they are not currently leading.
Many of the GOP leads in these nine races are very close and are getting closer over the last few days as the slow counting of mail-in ballots continues.
Six of those nine races are in California, where those slim GOP leads appear to be more at risk of slipping away. In California’s 13th District, for example, Republican John Duarte is leading by fewer than 100 votes, and barely half the votes had been counted as of Sunday.
Republicans have wider leads in many of the other races, but California said on Thursday that millions of votes were still not counted, a fact that has the potential to shake up some of these GOP leads. California has also said it might still be weeks before these races are decided.
The three other narrow GOP leads are in Colorado, Arizona and New York. In Colorado, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert was holding a lead of just a bit more than 1,000 votes over her Democratic challenger with nearly 99% of the vote in.
In Arizona, Republican Juan Ciscomani was up fewer than 2,000 votes with nearly 87% of the vote in.
And in New York, Republican Brandon Williams was up nearly 5,000 votes over his Democratic challenger with 97% of the vote in.
House Republican leaders have continued to predict that they will win a majority in the lower chamber, but if the GOP were to win all nine of the races where it has the lead, it would end up with a very narrow majority of 221 seats.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on Friday said he expects to reach at least 218, and said even President Biden indicated he thinks it’s going in that direction by congratulating McCarthy in a brief phone call.
“He congratulated me, so for anyone who thinks we didn’t win the majority, Joe at least believes we did as well,” McCarthy said of his call with Biden.