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House party for triumphant GOP

By GEOFF EARLE, Post Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Republicans rode a wave of voter anger and frustration last night to wrest the House from Democratic control in a historic landslide -- and deal a body blow to President Obama's agenda.

With election returns confirming predictions of a rebellious electorate, House Democratic incumbents fell like dominoes across the country -- including many who came to power on Obama's coattails in his historic win just two years ago.

Republicans needed a net gain of 39 seats to regain control of the chamber, a number they easily topped last night.

Reports early this morning indicated it was a record-shattering GOP victory that would surpass the 52 seats gained in the "Newt Gingrich uprising" of 1994. But the GOP came up short of the 10 seats needed to gain control of the Senate, still trimming the Democrats' majority by picking up at least five seats.

With returns still pouring in this morning, Republicans had seized 66 House seats, according to projections by NBC News. The magic number for control of the chamber is 218.

The results toppled Democrat Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House after four years in the top leadership job. John Boehner (R- Ohio) is likely to succeed her with a solid GOP majority.

Boehner last night called the election "a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people."

Among the first to go last night was longtime Indiana Rep. Baron Hill, a Democrat, who lost to Republican Todd Young, a lawyer from Bloomington in the 9th District.

Indiana Republican Larry Bucshon picked up a seat that had been held by Democrat Brad Ellsworth, who lost his Senate bid last night.

A bloodbath among Democratic incumbents followed.

In Virginia -- a state that, like Indiana, Obama carried in 2008, Republican Robert Hurt knocked off first-term Rep. Tom Perriello, who backed key elements of Obama's agenda and got a last-ditch visit by the president in the election's final days.

"Now is our time to go to work," Hurt told his supporters. "I've given it everything that I've got," said Perriello.

Democratic Reps. Glenn Nye, who voted against Obama's health plan, and Rick Boucher were also overtaken.

Many of the victims were conservative "blue dogs," like Florida Democrat Allen Boyd, who got knocked off by Republican funeral director Steve Southerland.

Along with heavy losses among the ranks of the classes of 2006 and 2008 were several longtime Dems who fell, including Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, the Armed Services Committee Chairman, and John Spratt, the Budget Committee chairman from South Carolina.

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