Posted at 11:05 PM ET by Dan Gilgoff
With election results yet to come in for much of the country west of the Mississippi River, Democrats are poised to carry the bulk of congressional contests thought to be tossups between the parties, putting control of the House of Representatives in their grasp. A Senate takeover seems less ensured, with control coming down to a handful of too-close-to call races in Virginia, Missouri, and Tennessee.
In the House, the Associated Press has reported the defeat of two Republicans, Indiana Rep. John Hostettler and Kentucky Rep. Anne Northup, whose districts were considered national bellwethers this year. Fox News, meanwhile, relying partly on exit polls, has called several more races that put new seats in Democratic hands, including those of Republican Reps. Curt Weldon and Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania, along with the seat formerly filled by Bob Ney in Ohio.
In the Senate, the AP reported the defeat of the two Republicans long thought to be the most vulnerablePennsylvania's Rick Santorum and Ohio's Sherrod Brownalong with Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee. The AP has also reported that Democrats have kept their two most endangered Senate seats, in Maryland and New Jersey, but the Democrats still face their toughest challenges in four competitive races in the West and South, all of which appear to be neck and neck.
Exit polls suggested that Democrats were the beneficiaries of disillusionment with the war in Iraq and with President Bush, with 6 in 10 Americans reporting disapproval of the president. In Ohio, for example, Brown got overwhelming support from those who disapproved of Bush and the war, even as Republican incumbent Mike DeWine built his campaign around distancing himself from the president and billing himself as an "independent fighter for Ohio families."