Republicans won enough crucial races Tuesday to retain control of the House of Representatives, beating back a strong Democratic challenge and allowing the GOP to keep pushing an agenda of fiscal austerity.
The GOP was on track to hold on to a strong majority in the chamber, ensuring that House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) remains the dominant Republican legislator in negotiations over government spending in the months ahead. With results tallied in much of the country, Republicans appeared close to maintaining at least a 20-seat margin.
The continued GOP dominance in the House probably will lead to renewed clashes with Senate Democrats, with whom Boehner’s conservative caucus feuded for the past two years in budget battles that brought the federal government to the brink of defaulting on its debt.
Those partisan showdowns made the 112th Congress the least-popular in history. Although that seemed to bode ill for incumbents — several in both parties fell to primary challengers in the spring and summer — voters Tuesday followed an old axiom: They loathe Congress but support their local congressman.