AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

With Allen West out, we got a clearer picture today of the partisan makeup of the new House of Representatives. Republicans will have 234 seats, Democrats 201, though that number could still shift a bit. As NPR's S.V. Date reports, races in two states are still too close to call.

S.V. DATE, BYLINE: One House race remains unresolved in Louisiana, where a new district map forced two Republican incumbents to run against each other. They'll meet in a runoff on December 8th. And in North Carolina, Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre appears to have won a ninth term in the district that includes counties around Cape Fear and Wilmington. But just 655 votes separate him from Republican challenger David Rouzer. That's within the 1 percent margin that permits a recount, and today, Rouzer exercised his right to ask for one.

The recount won't even begin until Monday and might not be finished until a week from tomorrow. If McIntyre holds, the Democrats will have gained ground on the majority Republicans. Not enough to take control, as they would have hoped, but more than had seemed possible in the run-up to Election Day.

DAVID WASSERMAN: In the waning days of the campaign, there was some optimism on the part of Republicans they could actually add to their majority.

DATE: David Wasserman analyzes the House of Representatives for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

WASSERMAN: What ended up happening was a mild success for Democrats. They ended up picking up a net gain of eight seats in the House and getting to 201 seats.

DATE: Democratic campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson says as important as the final number is the makeup of that total, most of them are women and minorities.

JESSE FERGUSON: The Democratic caucus will look like America in 2012, while the Republican caucus still looks like, you know, a rerun of a "Mad Men" episode.

DATE: And that's a demographic challenge many Republicans have already conceded they need to address before the next election. S.V. Date, NPR News.

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