218 and Beyond: How the Democrats Get There

Bottom line up front, we are looking at a gain of approximately 28 seats for Democrats in the House, more than enough to take over the majority. If there’s a wave, Democrats probably top out around a 40-seat gain. I’m looking at what that means in terms of committee chairmanships and leadership and will have more on that after November 6th. For now, here’s how we get to a House Democrat majority.

Using the Cook Political Report’s September 27 rankings there are 106 seats in play and Democrats need 23 of those for the majority. Let’s take the “likely D” or “likely R” out of our analysis and deal only with the “leaners” or “toss-ups” with a caveat that reflects a +2 net gain for Democrats in the “likely” column as NJ-2, PA-05 and PA-06 are currently held by Republicans but likely to swing to the Dems and PA-14 is currently held by a Dem but likely to swing to the Republicans. Leaving a needed net gain of only 21 seats to retake the House (out of 68 competitive races). Here’s where the fun begins.

  • Ten (10) “Lean Democrat” seats -- AZ-02, CA-49, CO-06, IA-01, MN-02, MN-03, NJ-11, PA-07, PA-17 and VA-10 -- look like the start of a wave in that they are all currently held by Republicans. Let’s assume these all go Democrat as predicted, they are 11 seats away from a majority and we haven’t even started to look at the ultra-competitive seats yet. Are there surprises in there? Maybe, but I don’t see it -- four (4) are open seats and in the other six (6) multiple polls have showed the incumbent trailing. Current Status: Democrats +10

  • Now let’s move to the toss ups, of which there are 31 (29 R and 2 D). That’s bad news for Republicans in sheer numbers.

  • The Dems could lose one of their two (2) open seats, either MN-01 or MN-08, but with Sen. Klobuchar leading big in the top of the ticket Senate race she could bring the House races to the democrats. Let’s say they hold them both.

  • Of the 29 Republican toss ups, Democrats only need to win eleven (11) or 37% to take control of the House. In a normal mid-term, this might be about what you see, possibly a little more. Going race-by-race, here’s what I see:

  • CA-10 – R

  • CA-25 – R

  • CA-39 – D

  • CA-48 – D

  • FL-27 – D

  • IA-03 – R

  • IL-06 – D

  • IL-12 – D

  • KS-02 – R

  • KS-03 – D

  • KY-06 – D

  • ME-02 – R

  • MI-08 – D

  • MI-11 – D

  • NC-09 – D

  • NC-13 – R

  • NM-02 – R

  • NJ-03 – D

  • NJ-07 – D

  • NY-19 – D

  • NY-22 – D

  • OH-01 – R

  • PA-01 – D

  • TX-07 – R

  • TX-32 – D

  • VA-02 – D

  • VA-07 – R

  • WA-08 – D

  • So, going through this race-by-race has the Dems picking up 18 more seats or 62% of the Republican toss-ups. Current Status: Democrats +28 and the Majority in the House.

  • The 28-seat loss is historically consistent with what you see for the majority party’s loss in the mid-term. If there’s a wave, those number could go significantly higher as Dems pick up seats no one’s watching that closely (this is what happened in 1994, 2006, 2010) and with 26 seats rated as “Lean Republican” this could spell a complete disaster for Republicans.

I am not going to handicap the Senate but for fun, I’ll say Beto beats Ted Cruz in Texas by less than 2500 votes. See you November 7th and we can see how we did.

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