Worse-than-expected defeats of Republicans in Virginia elections Tuesday night make it more urgent for Congress to pass tax cuts because the party promised them in the 2016 election, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday.

"I fundamentally believe when we deliver on comprehensive tax reform and tax relief, especially for middle income families, people will see their paychecks going up, they’ll see faster economic growth, better jobs being created," the Wisconsin Republican said during a breakfast forum sponsored by the Washington Examiner.

"I think that’s going to bear fruit politically, but most importantly it’s going to help people. That’s the promise we made. If anything, this puts more pressure on making sure we follow through," Ryan said. 

Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie for governor of Virginia by about 9 percentage points Tuesday night in a race that had been seen as tightening in the final days, as Gillespie adopted themes that President Trump used effectively. Democrats also swept races for lieutenant governor and attorney general and made significant gains in the Virginia legislature, while in New Jersey, heavily favored Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

David Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, wrote on Twitter late Tuesday that significant Democratic victories in wealthy suburbs in Virginia could lead to House Republican retirements as members choose not to run again in 2018.

One 12-term incumbent Republican from New Jersey, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, announced Tuesday he would not run again, citing “a vocal and obstinate minority within both parties [that] has hijacked good legislation in pursuit of no legislation.”

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