‘Blue Wave’ Ascendant: Democrats Pick Up Two House Seats

(CN) – The results at the polls are trickling in, but already Democrats have secured two of the 23 seats they need to take control of the House of Representatives.

Already tonight, Virginia State Senator Jennifer Wexton has pulled off an upset, defeating three-term incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock.

The race has long been considered a bellwether, an indicator of the strength of the vote representing college-educated suburban women.

If the Democrats did well in this race, the thinking went, it would bode well for the party’s prospects for success in other competitive districts.

Shortly after Wexton’s victory was declared, the Democrats got more good news, learning that Donna Shalala, the   former Health and Human Services secretary and University of Miami president, had prevailed in her bid to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Shalala’s defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, in a race that was completive to the very end.

In recent weeks, the Democratic party poured money into the Miami-area district and Shalala, redoubled her efforts to pull ahead, particularly ramping up her Spanish-language advertising.

The Republicans, meanwhile, successfully staved off defeat in three Florida districts that had been considered vulnerable.

The three Republican incumbents, Brian Mast, Vern Buchanan and Mario Diaz-Balart, each prevailed in districts representing Palm Beach, Tampa and Miami, respectively.

In a fourth race, Republican Michael Waltz won the Jacksonville seat vacated by Rep.. Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor.

DeSantis is currently running slightly ahead of Democrat Andrew Gillum in that race, 49.9 percent to 48.9 percent.

The other big story of the night for the Democrats so far is the re-election of Senator Robert Menendez, who was elected to a third term on Tuesday, overcoming a public backlash related to his federal corruption trial.

But that news was tempered with would that Republican businessman Mike Braun has defeated Democratic incumbant Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, increasing the likelihood that Republicans will at least hold on to their majority in the Senate.

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