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Republicans kept their House majority Tuesday, despite suffering some losses, making their next mission the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

In early projection the parties split two of the most competitive races, both in the Sunshine State, which has Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump clinging onto a narrow lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Former governor and party-changer Charlie Crist toppled GOP Rep. David Jolly in Florida’s 13th District. Over in the 26th District, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo held on in his rematch with former Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia. Curbelo snatched the seat from Garcia, who flipped to the Democrats in 2012, in 2014.

In Virginia, Trump’s surprising strength possibly helped Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock fend off a stiff challenge from Democrat LuAnn Bennett, even though she distanced herself from the former reality TV star.

Comstock won the exurban 10th District in the Old Dominion.

No one expected Republicans to lose control of the House, but their diminished numbers means governing could be tougher given the ongoing split within the conference between anti-establishment and mainstream lawmakers.

A first test of that will be choosing a speaker. The slimmer majority could have the effect of making it easier for Ryan to hold onto the gavel, since the GOP can only afford so many defections before giving away the speaker’s slot to the Democrats. Last year, nine Republicans voted against Ryan.

Still, some Republicans want to see more changes and are trying to pressure Ryan on a handful of issues. Some lawmakers are toying with the idea of withholding their support for Ryan unless he agrees to change the House rules to make it easier to remove a speaker.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who voted against Ryan last year, issued a missive about the changes he wants to see in leadership and the way the House operates that many Tea Party-wave and Freedom Caucus members likely support.

McCrory overcomes bathroom bill, wins re-election

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory won his re-election bid over Attorney General Roy Cooper Tuesday night in the highest profile gubernatorial contest in the U.S. McCrory’s victory came despite backlash to the highly-criticized bathroom bill he pushed for and defended throughout the past eight months.

The bill, known as House Bill 2 (HB2), created a firestorm after it was passed in March, which forced transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their biological sex, not the gender they identify as.

Cooper’s campaign was centered around a repeal of HB2, arguing that it “writes discrimination into our law,” adding that it has been a “disaster” for the state’s economy.

11/09/16 5:14 AM

“The next Speaker shouldn’t send the House on vacation for five weeks in August unless the appropriations bills are done,” Massie told the Huffington Post. “The next speaker needs to make good on the broken promise to give members and the American public time to read the bills. The next speaker should immediately put a stop to the institutionalized extortion that requires members to pay for their committee assignments with lobbyists’ money. Finally, the next speaker needs to allow a debate on whether or not to authorize the military conflicts the president has unilaterally engaged us in around the globe.”

“It would be very difficult for him to get my vote based on what I assume his motives are, which are to run for president in 2020,” Massie added.

Some also want to delay the GOP leadership election, now scheduled for Nov. 15. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, who is not a member of the roughly 40-member Freedom Caucus, went public over the weekend with his willingness to formally ask Ryan to delay the internal leadership election.

In an unsent letter shared with Politico, Renacci said sticking with the plan to make Republicans cast their secret ballots just hours after returning to Washington is “ill advised.” The full House is scheduled to choose a speaker when the 115th Congress is seated Jan. 3.

All the grumbling, however, could be for naught however, as no one else enjoys anywhere near the broad support Ryan still has. The inability for the conference to quickly coalesce around a Boehner replacement last year is how Ryan ended up with the speaker’s gavel in the first place, and it’s not clear there would be an obvious alternative to Ryan who could win the votes.

With Trump as president, what's next for the Republican Party?

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The Washington Examiner examines the future of the Republican Party.

11/09/16 4:57 AM

In the meantime, Ryan has affirmed that he is seeking a full term as speaker, and dismissed the idea of him not running at all as “chatter.”

“This is the typical chatter you have every two years,” Ryan told a Green Bay radio station Friday. “They call it palace intrigue in the Hill rags. I am going to seek staying on as speaker.”

TRUMP TRIUMPHANT

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Trump’s election is the culmination of Americans’ dissatisfaction with the established political order.

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