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GOP keeps House majority, loses 6 seats

Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives, losing a half-dozen seats to Democrats even as President Barack Obama won a second term and Senate Democrats expanded their majority.

Congressional redistricting, which Republicans controlled in 26 states, plus the retirement of Democrats who represented Republican-leaning districts helped minimize net gains by Democrats.

With 98 percent of the 435 House races called by The Associated Press, Republicans won 236 seats, including one that will be determined by a Louisiana runoff between two Republicans. They were leading in one more. Democrats were victorious in 191 contests and led in seven others. Control of the chamber requires 218 votes.

Republicans currently have 240 seats, compared with 190 for Democrats and five vacancies. Two of the vacancies were held by Republicans and three by Democrats.

Defeated Republican incumbents such as Bob Dold and Judy Biggert in Illinois lost in Democratic-leaning districts. House Democrats who lost were defeated in Republican-leaning districts. They included Kathy Hochul in New York, Mark Critz in Pennsylvania and Larry Kissell in North Carolina. Hochul, of Hamburg, represents the 26th District.

Several freshman Republicans elected in 2010 with tea party movement support were defeated. They included Chip Cravaack of Minnesota, Joe Walsh of Illinois and Nan Hayworth of Bedford Corners, who represents the 19th Congressional District.

Two others, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire and Ann Marie Buerkle of Syracuse, both lost to Democrats whom they had unseated from the House two years ago. Buerkle represents the 25th District.

In Florida, freshman Republican Allen West, who also rode the tea party wave to Congress in 2010, was requesting a recount. Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy led by 2,456 votes out of 318,200 cast.

Democrats retained control of the Senate by holding on to crucial seats in Virginia, Montana, Missouri and North Dakota. They will hold 53 seats to 45 for the Republicans, with two independents expected to align with the majority party.

They ousted a Republican in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren beat incumbent Scott Brown, and captured an Indiana seat after incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar was beaten by a fellow Republican in a primary vote.

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