by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the coming months, you’re going to hear a lot of analysts repeating that “(at least) 34 House Republicans have announced they’re retiring or running for a different office,” and that “Democrats need to pick up just 24 seats to win back control of the House of Representatives.” That’s accurate as far as it goes. In addition, for the past three cycles, the midterm elections have gone badly for the president’s party.
But there’s an angle that isn’t getting nearly as much discussion: A significant number of those retiring House Republicans represent districts where the GOP traditionally wins, and about half of them are districts where the GOP candidate usually wins by a wide margin. A seat-by-seat analysis suggests that Democrats have only about 14 to 15 really good opportunities to pick up open seats — and that Republicans might snag some open seats from the Democrats, too. …
… Add it all up, and Republicans look like they have a decent shot to keep control of the House in November. Of course, some incumbent Republicans could go down, and Democrats have racked up impressive wins in recent special state legislative elections in Wisconsin, Georgia, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire, suggesting that Democratic grassroots are motivated in the Trump era. But they’ll need an epic turnout to turn some of these traditionally deep-red districts blue.