Grayson headed back to Congress; joins old foe Webster
Republicans have clinched control of the House for two more years, assuring that their conservative agenda will dominate the chamber and that future clashes with re-elected President Barack Obama lie ahead.
The GOP has won 217 seats. Two Louisiana Republicans will face each other in a December runoff, assuring the GOP will have 218 seats - the number needed for a majority.
Their margin will likely resemble the majority they enjoy in the current House, which they control by 240-190. There are also five vacant seats.
By early Tuesday morning in the East, out of 435 House races, Republicans had defeated just four Democratic incumbents. Democrats ousted 11 current Republicans, including nine of the House GOP's tea party-backed freshman class of 2010.
In Florida, the biggest target for Democrats ahead of Tuesday's vote was South Florida Congressman Alan West. The tea party favorite is being challenged in a Palm Beach-area district by Democrat Patrick Murphy, a young businessman whose family owns a construction firm. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, just under a thousand votes separated the two candidates, with Murphy holding a slim lead.
Miami-area incumbent Republican David Rivera lost his fight for a second term, but in the Panhandle, first-term GOP Congressman Steve Southerland defeated Al Lawson, a longtime Democratic state lawmaker. Southerland had out-fundraised Lawson more than three-to-one.
Grayson headed back to Congress; Long loses
Former Congressman and outspoken liberal Alan Grayson is headed back to Congress from central Florida.
With 70 percent of District 9 precincts reporting, Grayson had 62 percent of the vote, defeating his Republican challenger, conservative radio host Todd Long.
Grayson was a freshman representative when he was soundly defeated two years ago. He's eyed a return ever since and amassed a huge fundraising advantage against Long, more than 44-to-1.
Grayson was known as one of the most vocal partisans on Capitol Hill, perhaps best known for saying Republicans' health care plan amounted to hoping people "die quickly."
Webster wins 2nd House term over Demings
Freshman Republican Congressman Daniel Webster has survived a close race to return to Washington from central Florida.
With 95 percent of District 10 precincts reporting, Webster had 51.9 percent of the vote. Democratic challenger Val Demings phoned Webster to offer her concession.
Webster's narrow win comes despite the fact that Demings out-fundraised her opponent and is well-known as a former Orlando police chief.
Webster is a former speaker of the state House and majority leader in the Senate. He is a hero to many Republicans for defeating a brash liberal congressman, Alan Grayson, in 2010. Grayson is going back to Washington, though -- he won a newly created seat Tuesday.