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Tags: house | split | kevin mccarthy | jeffries | nancy pelosi | mark garcia

US House Closest Split Between Parties Since 1930

(Newsmax)

John Gizzi By Monday, 21 November 2022 07:24 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Recounts and new developments from prolonged vote counting notwithstanding, it now seems that the next U.S. House of Representatives will have the closest split between the major parties since 1930 — 219 Republicans and 216 Democrats.

Last week, Republican Rep. Mark Garcia was declared the winner in California's 27th District (Los Angeles County) with about 54% of the vote against Democrat Christy Smith, against whom he initially won the seat in a 2019 special election.

Coupled with Republican Rep. David Schweikert's cliffhanger victory (50.4%) in Arizona's 1st District, Garcia's win brought Republicans to 219.

As for Democrats, California's Rep. Jimmy Gomez was officially elected in the 34th District over the weekend and Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola is almost a cinch to win when Alaska's ranked-choice voting is applied on Wednesday to the race for its at-large House seat. That will put Democrats at 216 seats.

Such a narrow split in the House means that any controversial vote — from aid to Ukraine to domestic appropriations measures — will be worked vigorously by the whips on both sides of the aisle and watched closely by the press.

Two vacancies and resulting special election could, depending on where they occur, replace "Speaker Kevin McCarthy" with "Speaker Hakeem Jeffries" (the New Yorker and likely heir to Nancy Pelosi as leader of House Democrats) in weeks.

Two such special elections would also move the gavels from Republican to Democrat in the chairmanships of the House committees.

The coming situation in the House is almost eerily akin to that after the 1930 elections, the midterms during Republican Herbert Hoover's presidency, and a time when the Great Depression was growing greater. Democrats picked up 52 new seats but still fell shy of taking a majority. The final results left the House with 218 Republicans, 216 Democrats and Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party Rep. Paul J. Kvale.

Republican House Speaker Nick Longworth continued to wield the gavel but, as historian David Pietrusza pointed out to Newsmax, "[House Democrat leader] John Nance Garner and Longworth shared the speaker's official car because no one would know who the speaker was if something happened."

Something did happen.

Almost incredibly, 14 U.S. Representatives-elect died between the election and the day the new Congress was sworn in (at the time, it was March 3) and this threw into question just who ran the House. Among the 14 was Speaker Longworth, who died on April 9, 1931.

More Republicans died than Democrats. In the subsequent special elections of 1931, Democrats made a net gain of 4 seats. On Dec. 7, 1931, Garner of Texas was elected speaker on a party-line vote.

One historic note emerging from that year's special elections involved the contest to succeed the late Rep. Harry Wurzbach, the lone Republican from Texas. Richard M. "Mr. Dick" Kleberg, a part owner of the vast King Ranch and a former rodeo cowboy, won the special election in the 14th District and was sworn in on Nov. 23.

As historian Pietrusza wrote, "Kleberg, uninterested in hands-on politics, needed an administrative assistant with drive. For $267 a month, he obtained the busiest, most political, 23-year-old on the Potomac."

His name was Lyndon Johnson.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
Recounts and new developments from prolonged vote counting notwithstanding, it now seems that the next U.S. House of Representatives will have the closest split between the major parties since 1930 - 219 Republicans and 216 Democrats.
house, split, kevin mccarthy, jeffries, nancy pelosi, mark garcia
544
2022-24-21
Monday, 21 November 2022 07:24 AM
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