Here’s which party had control of the House in recent years

Republicans narrowly recaptured control of the U.S. House in the 2022 midterms. But it was hardly the red wave most analysts anticipated. Instead, the elections could more accurately be described as a red trickle as the GOP fell short of recapturing Senate control and limped to what’s looking like the thinnest of majorities in the lower chamber. Republicans’ narrow gains, however, do follow in the footsteps of a long pattern in U.S. politics — Democrats and Republicans trading control of the House fairly regularly since 1994, when Republicans stole the majority from Democrats for the first time in 40 years.

Here’s a breakdown of the recent years the House has flipped:

2022: Republicans take House control

Defying political gravity and history, Republicans picked up only a handful of seats to retake control of the House. They had been expected to be vaulted into a double-digit seat gain by President Biden’s relative unpopularity, a halting economy and a pretty consistent trend in which the party out of power (in this case, Republicans) has captured nearly 30 House seats in recent midterm elections — though the average since 1994 has only been 25 seats. But voters appear to have been more motivated by threats to abortion rights following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the challenge to democracy presented by former president Donald Trump and many Republican candidates who denied the 2020 election results.

2018: Democrats take House control

Democrats: 235; Republicans: 199

House Democrats rode a wave of anger at President Donald Trump and turned out in droves to give Democrats a 41-seat gain. Women, especially revolted against Trump’s governance, supported Democrats by 19 percentage points more than Republicans. Young people, Black women and Latinas also favored Democrats disproportionately in 2018. Voter turnout was at its highest for a midterm election in 50 years.

2010: Republicans take House control

Republicans: 242; Democrats: 193

The Democrats held on to the House in 2008, gaining another 21 seats, and took a 57-41 advantage in the Senate. And America elected its first Black president.

But President Barack Obama took office in the midst of an enormous recession, and he quickly drew a venomous backlash from the right. The 2010 election was a story of a grass-roots movement — the tea party — which existed outside of the Republican campaign machine and was furious about the Affordable Care Act passed by the Democratic congressional majority.

The tea party rallied against government overreach, protesting Obama’s stimulus packages and health-care proposals. Tea party-affiliated outsider candidates, including Rand Paul, sprung up all over the country. High unemployment drove Obama’s approval ratings down, and in November 2010, Republicans flipped 63 House seats throughout the country.

An even bigger wave was happening farther down the ballot. Republicans dominated elections at the state level — thanks in part to a targeted strategy called Project REDMAP — taking control of legislative chambers around the country. And in most states, these legislatures would be responsible for redrawing congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census.

Gerrymandering, the drawing of districts to favor one group’s interests, had long been employed by both parties. But the size of the 2010 wave and advancements in voter targeting gave Republicans an unprecedented opportunity to redraw the national map in their favor, and they did not pass it up.

This redistricting advantage became immediately obvious in 2012. Democratic candidates captured 48.8 percent of the nationwide vote in House races, compared with 47.6 percent for Republicans. But Democrats gained only eight seats, leaving Republicans with a 33-seat edge in the House. Democrats faced a similar uphill battle in the 2018 midterms.

2006: Democrats take House control

Democrats: 233; Republicans: 202

Democrats were demoralized in the mid-2000s after a string of defeats. Desperate for a victory, the party handed over the reins to an abrasive young congressman named Rahm Emanuel, making him chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Emanuel had a “winning is everything” attitude and set about recruiting centrist candidates that didn’t look like traditional Democrats, in the hope that they’d woo moderate voters in red districts. He favored military veterans and police officers, including people that didn’t hold the standard party views on gun control and abortion.

On the campaign trail, he made sure that Democrats took every opportunity to tie their opponents to the unpopular presidency of George W. Bush — just as Republicans had done 12 years earlier with Bill Clinton. Plus, a series of embarrassing scandals among Republican congressmen didn’t hurt. Democrats needed only 15 seats to win the House, and they got double that.

But Emanuel drew criticism from his own party throughout the election, even after his victory. The more liberal wings, including Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, felt like the gains were illusory, in areas that the party couldn’t hold using candidates that were Democrats in name only.

And sure enough, these 2006 gains were wiped out just four years later. The ideological battle of how the Democratic Party should position itself continues to this day.

1994: Republicans take House control

Republicans: 230; Democrats: 204

Going into 1994, midterm elections didn’t hold the same drama they do today. It was assumed that Democrats would control the House, because, for four decades, they had never lost.

And nobody had much reason to think that would change. Republicans were also the minority in the Senate. President George H.W. Bush had just lost his reelection bid to Bill Clinton. Around the country, the GOP held fewer governorships and state legislature seats than Democrats.

But Minority Whip Newt Gingrich and Rep. Bill Paxon had a plan. They employed some aggressive fundraising practices and candidate recruiting, resurrecting a National Republican Congressional Committee that was on the edge of bankruptcy. A special election victory in May, for a seat held by Democrats for 129 years, made clear the campaign strategy that would guide Republicans to victory: Run hard against Clinton.

In September, Republicans introduced their “Contract with America” — a list of legislation they promised to execute within their first 100 days in power that guided campaign messaging across the country. And they continued to rail against the increasingly unpopular Clinton. After the dust settled in November, they had gained 54 seats and built a machine that held the House for the next five elections.

Martine Powers and Nick Mourtoupalas contributed to this report.

The 2022 Midterm Elections

Georgia runoff election: Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) won re-election in the Georgia Senate runoff, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker and giving Democrats a 51st seat in the Senate for the 118th Congress. Get live updates here and runoff results by county.

Divided government: Republicans narrowly won back control of the House, while Democrats will keep control of the Senate, creating a split Congress.

What the results mean for 2024: A Republican Party red wave seems to be a ripple after Republicans fell short in the Senate and narrowly won control in the House. Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign shortly after the midterms. Here are the top 10 2024 presidential candidates for the Republicans and Democrats.