Pushing for House control, Democrats won seven Republican-held districts Tuesday while several other GOP incumbents struggled to fend off fierce challenges rooted in disenchantment with a war, a president and scandals on Capitol Hill.

“We are on the brink of a great Democratic victory,” predicted Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat in line to become the first female House speaker if her party gains 15 seats to win control of the House and end the GOP’s 12-year reign.

In the conservative Ohio River Valley, Democrats ousted Reps. John Hostettler, Chris Chocola and Mike Sodrel in Indiana, and Anne Northup in Kentucky. In the Northeast, Republican Reps. Nancy Johnson in Connecticut and Charles Bass in New Hampshire lost.

Ethics woes clearly taking its toll on the GOP, Republicans surrendered the Ohio seat once held by Bob Ney, who resigned after pleading guilty in a lobbying scandal.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press