By Joseph Lord
Republicans in several key House races have flipped seats formerly held by Democrats.
The most optimistic expectations of Republicans seem to have been disappointed. Still, the party has many victories to point to after the eventful night, including unseating several incumbent lawmakers.
Here are five seats Republicans flipped.
Virginia’s 2nd District
Republican Jen Kiggans is projected to beat incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
The district, considered one of the most competitive in the nation, was a key target for Republican strategists.
Kiggans defeated Luria handily, winning about 52 percent of the vote to Luria’s 48 percent.
Luria has been best known during the 117th Congress for her role on the Jan. 6 Committee, which claims that the Jan. 6 Capitol breach was the result of a coordinated effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. The panel has been a focus of attacks for Republicans, who have called it a “partisan witch hunt” in the past.
Unfortunately for Republican hopes, other districts in the area—Virginia’s 7th District and 10th District—remain in Democrats’ control, despite GOP hopes that the seat would flip.
New York’s 17th District
Another surprising GOP flip came in New York, where Republican Mike Lawler defeated incumbent Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) in New York’s 17th District.
Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) conceded to Lawler, cementing one of the biggest upsets of the 2022 midterms.
As chairman of the DCCC, Maloney is responsible for most Democratic Party fundraising and strategizing efforts.
At the time of publication, Maloney is sitting at 49 percent compared to Lawler’s 51 percent. William F.B. O’Reilly, a spokesman for Maloney’s campaign, confirmed that the lawmaker had conceded.
The outcome is a bad look for the Democrats’ top campaign strategist and organizer.
The defeat came after Maloney decided to switch districts, a move that shocked observers and left many skeptical about the wisdom of the move.
New York’s 3rd District
Republican George Santos also pulled off a major victory against incumbent Rep. Robert Zimmerman (D-N.Y.) in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.
Santos is currently sitting at about 54 percent compared to Zimmerman’s 46 percent. Zimmerman has already conceded the election.
The seat was a prime GOP target this year, but on the surface the numbers would have painted a grim picture for GOP strategists: in 2020, President Joe Biden swept the district by 8 percent over Trump.
Like many other Republicans in New York, Santos concentrated his messaging on crime, which has skyrocketed in America’s major cities over the past two years. Santos has in the past called any messaging not focused on crime and economics as “a distraction.”
“Anything outside of crime, inflation, and the cost of energy this cycle is a distraction from what’s really hurting Americans,” Santos opined to Spectrum News.
Santos’ victory came after pundits called the much-watched New York gubernatorial election in favor of incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul, who reportedly won by about 5 points.
Florida’s 13th District
In Florida, Republican Anna Paulina Luna successfully flipped the seat formerly held by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who stepped down to mount a gubernatorial bid against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Luna won by comfortable margins in a state that brought Republicans their most exciting victory.
The representative-elect won 53.1 percent of the vote to Democrat Eric Lynn’s 45.1 percent.
The race fits into a larger trend of GOP wins in Florida on Election Day.
DeSantis pulled off his reelection bid by a nearly 20-point margin. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose seat was seen by some Democrats as vulnerable, similarly pulled off double-digit margins.
Wisconsin’s 3rd District
Another major win for Republicans has been announced in Wisconsin, where Republican Derrick Van Orden is projected to win the historically-Democrat stronghold of the 3rd Congressional District in the state.
Van Orden handily defeated Democrat nominee Brad Pfaff, raking in 52 percent to Pfaff’s 48 percent.
The seat has not been in Republican hands for 26 years, marking a major victory for the GOP. It became available after incumbent Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) decided not to run again. Kind’s first campaign marked the beginning of Democrat control of the district, but Democrats had to deal with no longer having the incumbent’s advantage this time around.
The Associated Press called the race after Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes conceded defeat to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in a race that Democrats were hopeful they could win.
After a relatively anticlimactic night for Republicans, the results in Wisconsin could be a good sign for the party moving forward, as Wisconsin is generally considered among the most crucial swing states.
Currently, The Associated Press projects that 203 Republicans have won their races compared to 176 Democrats, and 56 seats have yet to be called. However, things are looking up for GOP control of the lower chamber.