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Democrats condemn media’s early projections of Republican victory

Even before the polls closed in the West, the major television cable networks called the overall election a Republican victory and awarded the GOP control of the House of Representatives.

The only problem was that the call came from projections rather than actual results, since polls were still open in much of the country.

Democrats were not amused by the calls of victory coming as the party was still fighting crucial Senate and House races in states such as Nevada, California and Washington.

“I think that’s a mistake,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters.

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The count at that point was that Democrats had lost about 13 seats in the eastern part of the country. Republicans need a net gain of 39 seats to be the majority.

“Those were the [seats] who were expected to be called,” Van Hollen said of the first returns and again predicted Democrats would continue to control House despite weeks of polls predicting a GOP tidal wave breaking through Congress. Estimates of GOP success have ranged from 45 to 65 seats and have grown in recent days.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would lose her post in a GOP victory, said the Democratic Party remained confident that it would retain its majority, which it gained in 2006 and increased in 2008.

At Democratic headquarters in Washington, Pelosi gave a brief speech Tuesday night thanking the volunteers for their get-out-the-vote efforts, and said that she herself would continue making calls until polls close throughout the country.

“These hundreds of thousands of volunteers are our VIPs,” she said.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

Twitter.com/LATimesmuskal


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