The midterm reviews will decide the future of the January 6 investigation. Here’s what the Home race looks like today
By Simone Pathé, CNN
The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, uprising on the U.S. Capitol is racing against a political clock to shed light on what happened that day and before the attack .
While two Republicans sit on the nine-member panel, it’s a committee created by a Democratic-controlled house that the GOP leadership has tried to discredit. One of those Republican panelists, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, faces a primary challenger backed by former President Donald Trump. The other, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, is not running for election. And the Jan. 6 committee itself will likely be disbanded if Republicans return to the House in November.
So how likely are the Republicans to win this fall? Historically, very likely. The party in the White House traditionally loses seats in the first midterm election of a new president’s term. In fact, the president’s party has lost an average of 30 House seats in midterm elections over the past 100 years, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Republicans only need a net gain of five seats to win the chamber this year.
Reminder: A net gain of five seats is not the same as gaining five seats. A party needs at least 218 seats to take control of the House. As Republicans try to flip seats this year, so do Democrats — so any GOP wins will have to be offset by losses they suffer.
That said, losses aren’t a big concern for Republicans right now. Given the historical trends working in their favor and the fact that President Joe Biden’s approval rating is 40% in the latest CNN average of national polls, the domestic environment seems to be working in their favor. And the rise in retirement announcements for several longtime Democratic incumbents in recent months is a telltale sign that they weren’t looking forward to serving in the minority.
But it’s not all bad news for Democrats. The House map is not as Republican-friendly as the majority party feared. The decade-long redistricting process is nearly complete (except for a handful of states), resulting in new lines in Congress that Democrats say gives them a chance to retain their majority.
Overall, the biggest benefit of redistricting is that the number of competitive seats in the House has shrunk, meaning that in most states the primaries — rather than the general election — will be the main event.
Several states hold member-to-member primaries, in which two incumbents contest in the same district, either because their state lost a seat in redistricting or because they were dragged into the same seat for partisan reasons. While these races can provide plenty of intraparty drama — and in some cases, a test of Trump’s enduring influence on the GOP — they are not generally expected to have any effect on the general election. In West Virginia, for example, two Republican incumbents — one who opposed certification of the 2020 presidential election and one who did not — face off in a heavily Republican district. . Whoever wins the May primary, the seat is highly unlikely to fall to the Democrats in November.
Some states hold open primaries — in which candidates from all parties contest the same primary ballot, with the top two or four candidates running in the general election. One such state is Alaska, where former governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is running in a special election for the state seat vacated by the death on last month from Republican Rep. Don Young. Barring a primary surprise, Republicans are expected to take that seat.
Only 61 home races (out of 435) are currently considered competitive by Inside Elections. Of those, only 16 are classified as sweepstakes — seven seats held by Republicans, eight held by Democrats and a new seat in Colorado.
A tighter landscape of competitive races means Republicans will dig deeper into Democratic territory to seek pick-up opportunities. On Wednesday, for example, the Republican National Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House GOP, expanded its list of targets to 72 seats held by Democrats or newly minted, including districts that current President Joe Biden carried. double digits in 2020. Of course, these goal lists change over time and don’t necessarily reflect where the money ends up being spent.
On the same day as the NRCC announcement, House Majority PAC — the leading Democratic super PAC focused on home races — announced TV and digital ad bookings of more than $100 million across 50 media markets. That’s nearly double the amount the group made on initial bookings in 2020.
One of the main targets for Republicans will certainly be the seats held by Democrats that Trump won in 2020. This includes the districts represented by Representatives Jared Golden of Maine, Cindy Axne of Iowa and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, who are all for tough races. this autumn.
But the majority of the NRCC’s goals are seats that Biden has won. It shows how few “crossover” districts — those who voted one way for president but backed a U.S. House representative from a different party — are left for Republicans to try to get their way. to return to.
Increasingly nationalized and partisan elections wiped out the likes of former Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat whose district voted for Trump by the largest margin – 30 points – in 2016. But after narrowly clinging to his sprawling rural district in 2018, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee fell in 2020.
Republicans have been encouraged by their gains among Hispanic voters in 2020 and hope that trend continues this year, especially in places like Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where multiple House seats are at stake.
They also hope they can play for some of the traditionally pro-GOP suburban neighborhoods that drifted away from them during the Trump era.
Democratic retirements have also created some tantalizing pickup opportunities for Republicans. Retired Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, a former chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has often touted her success in a Trump voting district. Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, who is running for the Senate, talks about his winning record in Trump country. But both leave behind seats that will see competitive races, according to Inside Elections.
Democrats hoping to retain their majority in the House must defend the seats they have, while seeking to secure a few more to help offset the inevitable losses they are likely to suffer in a midterm year. , their party holding total control of Washington (the White House, Senate and House).
The main defensive positions for House Democrats are the incumbents that the DCCC calls “frontline” members. Many of those incumbents have already had tough races, and some of their districts have become more supportive of redistricting, though perhaps not enough to ensure comfortable re-election in a tough national environment.
Golden, a two-term holder from Maine, for example, has a habit of outperforming the top of the ticket. White working-class voters in his district backed Trump twice, while Golden won re-election in 2020 by 6 points. But even though he beat the Democratic National Party in some major votes in Washington, he is still in a tough race, potentially facing a better-funded and more organized opponent than he did two years ago. Former GOP Representative Bruce Poliquin, whom Golden ousted in 2018 under Maine’s ranked voting system, is running again. Inside Elections calls the race a toss-up.
Many DCCC Frontliners who won in 2018 — when Democrats flipped the House during Trump’s presidency — are used to raising huge sums of money. They set new quarterly records of millions taken that put even some Senate candidates to shame. But not all Democrats who potentially face competitive races this year after redistricting are used to that level of campaigning. Two longtime incumbents, Representatives Sanford Bishop of Georgia and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, have not faced competitive elections in years.
Democrats think they can stay competitive in the suburbs, which has irked Republicans under Trump. Still, Trump is not in office or on the ballot, which will be a test of whether Democrats can sustain grassroots voter enthusiasm without him.
Democrats are also considering pickup opportunities, particularly in GOP-held seats that Biden has won. That includes a handful of districts in California and New York, though there was further uncertainty over district boundaries in the Empire State after a judge blocked the map drawn by Democrats on Thursday.
And even though Trump isn’t on the ballot this year, he’s proving he still wants to be a force in GOP politics. For Democrats, it’s good news if he helps push GOP candidates to the right by passing the primaries for competitive seats. In Michigan, for example, he backs a primary challenger to freshman Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump, in a district that may be harder for Republicans to hold without the incumbent.
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