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Congress was once so closely divided that Republicans lost power after the election when too many congressmen died

Washington, D. C.: Garner, Democratic Leader Elected Speaker As Congress Convenes. An interesting general view of the scene in the Chamber of the House of Representatives at Washington, D. C., when Rep. John H. Garner of Texas, Democratic leader was elected Speaker by a narrow margin. Mr. Garner is seen standing in the rostrum taking the oath of office, which was administered by Rep. Pough of South Carolina.Washington, D. C.: Garner, Democratic Leader Elected Speaker As Congress Convenes. An interesting general view of the scene in the Chamber of the House of Representatives at Washington, D. C., when Rep. John H. Garner of Texas, Democratic leader was elected Speaker by a narrow margin. Mr. Garner is seen standing in the rostrum taking the oath of office, which was administered by Rep. Pough of South Carolina.

George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

  • Control of Congress was once so close, Republicans lost power before they ever met in Washington DC.
  • Fourteen representatives-elect died after election day in 1931 and before the start of the new term. 
  • The special elections largely went to Democrats, flipping control of the House before the start of the term. 

A month after election day in the 2022 midterms, control of the House of Representatives has officially gone to Republicans. 

Clocking in at a 221-seat majority, with Democrats holding the other 213 seats, Republican control of the lower house of Congress is among the narrowest in the House’s history. 

But the House has been more closely divided in the past — and once flipped from the GOP to Democrats before a new Congress even had a chance to meet.

House control was the closest ever in 1931 

After the fall elections of 1930, Republicans held on to a slim lead in the House, with 218 seats going red and 216 going blue. 

But in the 13 months that passed from election day until the start of the term, 14 representatives-elect died, paving the way for 14 special elections.

By the time the term began in late 1931, Democrats had cleaned up in the special elections, flipping control so the party now held a 219-212 advantage over Republicans. 

Among the representatives-elect that died was the sitting Speaker of the House, Nicholas Longworth. 

The election of 1930 proved to be a referendum on the economy 

The economy was one of the major issues on the ballot in 2022, with levels of inflation soaring to the highest rates in 40 years. 

Similarly, the 1930 election followed another major economic event: The 1929 stock market crash. 

The crash plunged the country into the Great Depression, causing voters to oust the Republican party, which had been in control since 1918. 

With each new special election that took place, the country plunged further into a Depression, giving Democrats an edge to win their races. 

The Democrats’ success in the 1930 election paved the way for what could be called a “blue wave” in Franklin Roosevelt’s sweeping 1932 Presidential victory which helped usher in his era of “New Deal” infrastructure projects and social spending. 

Read the original article on Business Insider