Republicans in the House will probably add their first African American representative in recent years, if front-runner
In addition, House Republicans could see two openly gay congressmen in a conference that currently has none. Republicans Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Carl DeMaio in San Diego are both in tough races against Democrats.
Adding to the diversity would be a milestone for House Speaker
House Republicans are expected to gain as many as 12 seats, "with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question," according to David Wasserman, the House analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
The reinforcements in numbers will help Boehner lead the often unruly conference, giving the Ohio Republican a healthy cushion for tight votes.
Boehner and his party could also benefit if diverse newcomers help improve the party's brand. It's no secret the Republican Party has struggled to broaden its base. The last time the House included a black Republican was after
Democrats, meanwhile, have three times as many women in the House and all of the African American lawmakers.
But the speaker's political headaches are not completely in the rear-view mirror.
Republicans will be pushing for wholesale change in Washington if the party wins control of the Senate, as is increasingly likely. Several Republican candidates who are all but certain to win their House races on Tuesday could align with the conservative wing of the party that has led
Among them could be Georgia's Jody Hice, the Baptist minister and talk-radio host who fought the
Being in the majority is almost always better than the alternative, lawmakers say, but for House Republicans winning also comes with challenges.