It's hard to overstate House Democrats' bad night. By all measures, Republicans enjoyed an historic night, exceeding pre-election expectations across the country. There are fewer than ten races where the outcome is in some doubt, but Republicans appear headed for a 250-seat majority, give or take three seats, for a gain of between 13 and 19. A net gain of 13 would give them their largest majority since Herbert Hoover won the presidency in 1928.
As of 4am Wednesday morning, races that appeared too close to call were Democratic Reps. Ron Barber (AZ-02), Jim Costa (CA-16), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Scott Peters (CA-52), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), and GOP Rep. Lee Terry (NE-02).
Plain and simple, the story in House races was an epic turnout collapse and motivational deficit. Democrats' surprisingly large losses are attributable to "orphan states" where there was little enthusiasm for top-of-the-ticket Democrats. For example, in New York, the lack of a competitive statewide race caused Democratic turnout to plummet, and Reps. Tim Bishop (NY-01) and Dan Maffei (NY-24) suffered surprisingly wide defeats.
Even Rep. Louise Slaughter's normally safe
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