In the End, Pivotal Races Tipped to Democrats
With the House now controlled by Democrats, Shays will see the value of seniority diminished but, as a surviving GOP moderate, could find himself playing a crucial role if the Democrats make good on Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi's pledge to reach across the aisle to make policy. Liz Halloran
Ohio 18th: Democrat Zach Space Wins in a Landslide
With one of the widest margins of victory in the country last night24 percentage pointsZach Space, a political neophyte and local law official, vanquished disgraced Rep. Bob Ney's handpicked replacement, Republican State Sen. Joy Padgett.
On a night when voters ranked corruption among their top concerns at the ballot box, it was little surpriseeven in a Republican-heavy districtto see Democrats retake a seat held by the first congressman to resign after pleading guilty in the Jack Abramoff-influence-peddling probe. Space retook a seat controlled by the GOP for 30 years with 62 percent of the vote to Padgett's 38 percent.
"I will do everything within my power to earn your trust and your respect," Space told supporters at the VFW Hall in New Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press.
The district had been on most political analysts' watch lists from the get-go because of the Abramoff links, and both parties spent heavily to win control. But in the end, it was just too difficult for Padgett to overcome the corruption taint. Silla Brush
Ohio 15th: A GOP Bright Spot?
In what could be one of the Republican's few bright spots of Election 2006, Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce was leading Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy by more than 3,600 votes in unofficial returns.
Pryce's victory is still unresolved, though, in a district where 200,000 people voted. Election officials have yet to count nearly 20,000 absentee votes, and as of 6 a.m., CNN reported that Pryce led by 11,000 votes, or 4 percentage points.
Pryce had carried the district in 2004 by 20 percentage points, but her position in the GOP House leadership dogged her throughout the bruising 13-month campaign. Neither candidate faced a primary challenger.
"The provisionals are in precincts where we believe I would do well," Kilroy said, according to the Associated Press. "Plus, the Democrats did a big push for early and absentee voting and mail-in voting. So, it's very critical to see what happened with those absentee and early-voting votes. I owe it to the people of the district to wait this out." Silla Brush
Florida 22nd: Longtime Republican Incumbent Shaw Gets the Boot
After 26 years in the House, Florida Rep. (22 District) Clay Shaw was shown the door. Entering the campaign season, the veteran Republican incumbent told U.S. News that his race against the well-financed lawyer Ron Klein would be "more expensive" than previous races. But that was all.
"Every time I run, I have led the ticket," he said, grabbing in 2004 even more district votes than the president and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush. But Shaw didn't foresee the anti-GOP wave sweeping the country. His challenger did.
Klein, who served as minority leader in the state Senate, doggedly tied Shaw to Bush, and by extension, to GOP woes, in what widely has been characterized as one of the fiercest and most costly races in the nation. The candidates spent $8 millionwith millions more pouring in from national parties and advocacy groups. Shaw moved to the middle, touting his environmental record in restoring the Everglades. When former President Clinton came to town, he launched a radio ad reminding voters of his willingness to work across the aisle.