It wasn’t a wave election, but the 2012 races will sweep in an outsize freshman class nonetheless.
The 113th Congress will welcome at least 79 new House members — 44 Democrats, 35 Republicans. That total would grow to 85 new faces in the House if current results in still-uncalled races hold. It will be the largest freshman class of the past dozen years, aside from the 89-member class elected in November 2010.
The newest members knocked out more than 20 incumbents. But a large number of retirements and redistricting in key states also helped bring fresh blood to the Capitol. California alone will be responsible for 11 new members in the House.
“The message is that the country seems split right down the middle, and voters were looking to elect people who were a little less ideological and more pragmatic,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said in an interview Thursday.
Here are POLITICO’s five traits of the incoming class of House freshmen.