This article is adapted from the CalMatters election results explainer for classroom use.
Republicans reached the magic projection of 218 seats to win a majority in the U.S. House, and it was a California race that put them over the top.
The GOP majority means that President Biden will have more difficulty enacting his agenda, and his administration will likely be condemned to relentless investigations and lame duck-itude. It also means that Republican Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the current minority leader, will likely be the next Speaker of House, taking the gavel from Democrat Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
Going into Election Day, Democrats had a mere eight-seat majority in the House. And some of the closest nail-biters were in California, though, for now, it doesn’t appear that either party has been able to flip any seats.
As of Thursday, November 17, the national count stood at 218 seats for Republicans and 211 for Democrats. The Associated Press had not called 6 races, 5 of them in California.
The margins in two toss-up seats were within 2 percentage points: Orange County’s 47th District, where Democratic Rep. Katie Porter held a tenuous lead over Republican Scott Baugh, and the new, open 13th District, anchored in Modesto, where Republican farmer John Duarte was in a tight battle with longtime moderate Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray.
The AP also declared Democrat Mike Levin the winner in a San Diego County race. Monday night, the AP called California’s 41st District, which spans Coachella Valley and Riverside County, for longtime conservative Republican Ken Calvert over Democratic federal prosecutor Will Rollins, and the 45th District for Republican incumbent Michelle Steel over Democrat Jay Chen.
In other closely watched races, incumbents had somewhat larger leads, including Republican David Valadao in Bakersfield and Democrat Josh Harder in Stockton.
As for the 50-50 U.S. Senate, Democrats held on to their majority, barely. That includes California’s U.S. senator, Alex Padilla, who was appointed to the position by Newsom in 2021 and was quickly declared the victor over Republican challenger Mark Meuser.