Texas’ Farenthold, N.Y.’s Buerkle bring gain to 63; 2 races still out

November 25, 2010

By Joseph Weber-The Washington Times

House Republicans picked up two additional seats this week, winning with “tea party”-backed candidates in New York and Texas to give the party a net gain of 63 seats with two races still undecided.

The GOP won in Texas when Democrat and 28-year-incumbent Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz conceded Tuesday to Republican challenger Blake Farenthold in Texas’ 27th District, along the state’s Gulf Coast.

Mr. Farenthold, a lawyer and co-host for conservative talk radio until the campaign, said Wednesday he intends to caucus with fellow House tea-party members, whose ranks could reach nearly 50 when the new Congress begins in January.

House Republicans now have 242 seats compared to 191 for Democrats in the next Congress. Senate Republicans won six seats in the midterm races and now have 47 compared to 53 for Senate Democrats, who picked up no additional seats.

Those numbers will change at the conclusion of the most closely watched of the undecided races, the Senate contest in Alaska. Republican and tea-party candidate Joe Miller is running against incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a write-in candidate who lost in the GOP primary to Mr. Miller.

Mrs. Murkowski has more votes than the other candidates, but the outcome cannot be certified because Mr. Miller has filed a lawsuit challenging how the state counted the handwritten, write-in votes.

Though Mr. Farenthold, 52, took a tough no-amnesty stance on illegal immigration during the campaign, he said the key factors in the race were jobs, the economy and the nationwide anti-incumbent sentiment.

“There was a perception that [Mr. Ortiz] was no longer engaged with voters. They never saw him,” said Mr. Farenthold, whose stepgrandmother is 84-year-old Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, an icon in liberal Democratic politics who nearly became Sen. George McGovern’s running mate in 1972.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/24/gop-takes-two-more-house-seats/

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