GOP House strength now matches Truman era number

Republicans have now tied their biggest number in the House of Representatives since the Truman presidency, thanks to Saturday’s Louisiana election results.

Two Republicans won runoffs, giving the party 246 House seats in the next Congress, a total they last had in the 1947-49 Congress. Democrats have 188 seats.

One race, in Arizona, is still too close to call. If Republicans win there, the 247 would be the party’s best showing in the House since Herbert Hoover’s term in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Since 218 is a majority in the House, Republicans will be able to lose dozens of votes and still triumph. That could come in handy for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who often is at odds with more conservative members of his caucus.

One of Saturday’s Louisiana races pitted Republican Garret Graves against former Gov. Edwin Edwards. Edwards, a Democrat who had served prison time for a conviction on corruption charges, won 37.6 percent of the vote Saturday. Graves will replace Rep. Bill Cassidy, who defeated Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., for the U.S. Senate seat.

Also winning a House seat was Republican Ralph Abraham, who easily defeated Democrat Jamie Mayo. Abraham replaces Republican Rep. Vance McAllister, who was hurt by a video showing him kissing a woman who was not his wife.