Republicans Lead in 11 of 14 Undecided House Races, As Progressives Pile Pressure on Pelosi

Republicans are leading Democrats in 11 of the 14 House races that have yet to be called, with progressive groups urging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to change course if she wants to avoid another disappointing election.

Democrats will still hold the majority in the House of Representatives when the final votes are counted—and they've already won control of the chamber with 219 seats—but the party's numbers will be reduced from the 232 seats currently held.

GOP candidates lead their Democratic opponents in all but three outstanding races. These are New Jersey's 7th district, New York's 18th district and New York's 19th district. All three are held by sitting Democratic congressmen.

Five serving Democratic representatives are currently behind their Republican opponents, according to the New York Times.

Those representatives are Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Tom Suozzi (NY-3), Max Rose (NY-11), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and Ben McAdams (UT-4).

Currently, none of the serving Republican representatives in the remaining races are behind and several of the contests are extremely close. Republican Burgess Owens leads McAdams in Utah by around half of one percent, while Cisneros is behind Republican Young Kim by just 1.2 percent.

In Iowa's 2nd district, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads Democrat Rita Hart by just two-hundredths of a percentage point, representing 48 votes. Miller-Meeks has claimed victory but Hart has asked for a recount and the race is so close that The Associated Press had not called it as of Thursday.

Four progressive groups—New Deal Strategies, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement and Data for Progress—issued a memo on November 10 adding to pressure on Pelosi.

"Last week's election was a split-screen: while we are all happy about President-elect Joe Biden's resounding defeat of Donald Trump, Democrats are right to be concerned about their underperformance down the ballot," the groups wrote.

"Based on current projections, Biden's margin of victory will come close to President Barack Obama's margin in 2012. But in 2012, House Democrats gained 8 seats, while in 2020 they are on track to lose at least that many."

That math is based on Democrats picking up five of the remaining seats, though they currently only lead in three. The seven-page memo urges the party to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement and progressive economic policies.

"Whatever moderate Democrats think of [Senator Bernie] Sanders and [Senator Elizabeth] Warren, the unavoidable reality is that they have provided Democrats with a profoundly compelling economic message," the progressive groups wrote.

"In a country where 60 percent of registered voters and 66 percent of independents think the country is rigged to benefit the wealthy and the powerful, a narrative that centers corporate power and the ultra wealthy as barriers to progress on the economy is compelling across the political spectrum. Democrats should adopt it."

Divisions between progressives and moderates in her party will be a major issue for Pelosi in the next congress but she is very unlikely to face a challenge from Democrats when she runs for re-election as speaker in January.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference in the House Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol on November 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Democrats will return to Washington with a reduced majority. Al Drago/Getty Images