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On historic night, Republicans sweep House Democrats from power

Republicans needed to claim 39 Democratic seats to retake the House Tuesday. They won more than 60, surpassing the 'Republican Revolution' of 1994.

By Staff writer / November 3, 2010

Rep. John Boehner (R) of Ohio looks to be the biggest winner in Election 2010. With Republicans set to control the House, he's in line to become the next Speaker.

Cliff Owen/AP

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Washington

In a broad rebuke to President Obama’s agenda, Republicans have taken back the House of Representatives in a win of historic scope.

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Early Wednesday morning, Republicans appeared poised to pick up about 65 seats. They needed 39 to take control of the chamber.

Losses for the Democratic majority ranged from vulnerable freshmen elected on President Obama’s coattails, such as Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia, to popular Democratic veterans, such as 14-term House Budget chair Rep. John Spratt (D) of South Carolina and nine-term Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) of North Dakota. The latter two both won their last races with 62 percent of the vote.

Backed by strong conservative protest movements including the tea party, GOP candidates framed their campaigns as a rejection of the Obama agenda: bailouts, a $787 billion stimulus plan, sweeping health-care reform, and Wall Street regulation. Network exit polls signaled broad voter concerns over jobs and the economy and the president’s leadership.

“We’re witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people,” said Rep. John Boehner (R) of Ohio, who is expected to be the next Speaker, in an emotional speech in Washington.

“For far too long Washington has been doing what’s best for Washington and not what’s best for the American people, and tonight that begins to change,” he added.

Democrats' last-ditch efforts

Democrats, expecting the tough races typical of a midterm elections for the president’s party, tried to build a financial firewall for incumbents and turn the race into a referendum on GOP failures of the Bush years. They also counted on a strong get-out-the-vote drive, backed by union activists. In the end, it wasn’t enough to beat back a Republican wave.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had promised her caucus that voters would come to appreciate health-care reform once they understood it, may face a leadership struggle if she opts to stay on as minority leader. In a statement, she praised her caucus for actions to “save the country from the worse economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.”

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