By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.
Today Democrats took over the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, which will boost the power and influence of representatives Maxine Waters, John Lewis, and Elijah Cummings. Republicans were able to retain control and build their majority in the U. S. Senate. Democrats lost seats in North Dakota (Heidi Heidcamp), Indiana ( Joe Donnelly) and Missouri (Claire McCaskill). Other Senate races in Florida, Arizona and Montana are too close to call and may be subject to recounts. Waters, a California Democrat, will become chair of the Financial Services Committee, and Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, is expected to become chair of the House Oversight Committee. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and he is the ranking House member on the Subcommittee on Oversight. At least four African Americans were elected to Congress for the first time, including Colin Allred, who defeated an incumbent Republican in Texas’s 32nd District in Dallas during Tuesday’s election. Allred once played for the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League. Ayanna Pressley was the first black women elected to Congress from Massachusetts. Pressley, a Chicago native, will represent Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, which includes sections of Boston. She ran unopposed. All of newly elected member of Congress are Democrats. In Illinois, Lauren Underwood, a nurse, defeated Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the state’s 14th Congressional District in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. In New York, Antonio Delgado, a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard-educated lawyer, defeated Republican incumbent John Faso in the state’s 19th Congressional District that includes the Hudson Valley. The Party controls 230 seats to Republican Party’s 205. A political party needs to 218 votes to control the House of Representatives. In Mississippi, Democrat Mike Espy will compete in a runoff election against Republican Cindy Hyde for Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seat. Democrats winning the House smoothed over some big disappoints in state governor’s races. Stacey Abrams lost her contest to become Georgia’s first black woman governor and Andrew Gillum lost his race to become Florida’s first black governor. But Abrams called for a recount because large numbers of absentee ballots have not been counted. In Maryland, incumbent Republican governor Larry Hogan defeated Democrat Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP.