The average U.S. House member wasn’t even born the last time Republicans held 242 seats in that august chamber. But the GOP hit that milestone this week when the concessions of two Democratic incumbents in the handful of remaining undecided midterm elections pushed Republican gains in the House to 63.
The concession of Dan Maffei in New York also set another midterm milestone: Voters cut short the House careers of 22 of the 26 first-term Democrats, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Washington Bureau
Maffei, who was elected in 2008, conceded to Ann Marie Buerkle in New York's 25th Congressional District Tuesday afternoon, acknowledging that he couldn’t win even though absentee ballots had helped him narrow the gap. His ouster also symbolized a GOP rebound in the Empire State’s congressional delegation, the Trib chronicled, noting that Democratic victories there in 2008 left Republicans with just two of 29 seats. Now, six Democratic seats have gone to Republicans, for the most GOP gains in a single state.
Buerkle, an assistant district attorney who ran with Sarah Palin’s endorsement as a “New York mama grizzly,” had 104,374 votes to 103,807 for Maffei.
The other concession came from a long-timer, 14-term incumbent Solomon Ortiz, who took a knee Monday to former radio show host and political newcomer Blake Farenthold in Texas’ 27th Congressional District. Farenthold, who ran with the backing of local tea party groups, won the South Texas contest by 799 votes.
Democrats prevailed in another race, with The Associated Press awarding California’s 20th District to incumbent Jim Costa.
So, three weeks after the polls closed, only two of 435 congressional races remain hanging, with Democrats leading in both: Jerry McNerney in The Golden State’s 11th District and Tim Bishop in New York’s 1st District, where Tim Bishop has rebounded from what appeared to be a loss and now leads by about 200 votes.
Now, back to the those interesting stats: It’s been 62 years since the GOP held 242 seats in the House, and the average age for House members is 56, according to the Center on Congress at Indiana University
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