“The Republicans are gonna win the House,” he [Brian Hagerty] said. “It’s a done deal. We just need to do what we said we were gonna do.” ~Dave Weigel
As sure-thing Senate seats drift out of sight tonight for the GOP, it’s rather funny to read a report quoting Dick Morris talking about picking up a seat in Oregon, but then Morris would say something that preposterous just to get quoted. More to the point, I was thinking about that activist’s statement about taking over the House, “It’s a done deal.” Certainly, this is what many conservative pundits have been telling activists for months, and activists want to believe it is true. It’s possible that they’re all seeing something that I’m not. Still, whenever I read someone saying something like this I have a simple question: How?
Based on CQPolitics’ rankings, available funding and recent polling, I count 25 Democratic House seats that will most likely change hands, 4 Republican House seats (including HI-01) that will become Democratic seats in November, and 16 genuine toss-ups. This doesn’t include FL-25, which is an intriguing and weird race that bears watching and might be an unexpected Democratic pick-up. Even if the Republicans win all of those toss-ups (which is not likely), they will not have enough net seats to take the majority. They would be painfully, intolerably close, but they would fall just short. Revisiting South Dakota’s House race that I discussed earlier this month, I now find that Herseth Sandlin is slightly leading her challenger in a Rasmussen poll.
One of the more amazing discoveries I made while browsing Politico’s House tracker in the last week was that Harry Teague in NM-02 was ahead of Steve Pearce by a few points in a late August Albuquerque Journal poll. I have been taking for granted that Teague was politically doomed in that district ever since his cap-and-trade vote. For those who don’t know, NM-02 is a district in the southern part of the state with major oil interests in it, and it has simply been assumed that Teague destroyed himself with that yes vote. If that isn’t true, and if Teague can win re-election, the Republicans will not only fall short of winning the House, but they will end up being embarrassed by how average their performance will be. Put another way, if someone with Teague’s voting record can win re-election in a district designed for Republicans in this environment, this election will not be a great pushback at all. In fact, it will barely be a half-hearted shove.