Because members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, unlike the six-year terms of their colleagues in the Senate, every congressional seat is up for grabs every election cycle. That means
voters in all 435 congressional districts will be choosing someone to represent them in the lower chamber of Congress next year. Most of these elections will be mere formalities with the incumbent or a replacement of the same party cruising to electoral victory. But the outcome of several dozen House seats is not clear, and in these rare competitive districts the battle for control of the chamber will be fought.
The current partisan make-up of the House gives Republicans a 234-201 advantage over Democrats (one Democratic seat and three Republican seats are vacant). In order to reclaim the majority then,
Democrats will need to bag a net gain of 17 seats. That becomes a difficult proposition when you consider the scarcity of pick-up opportunities and the six-year handicap of the party in the White House.
A quick survey of the political experts I use in my House projection calculations affirms the challenge Democrats face in their quest for the majority. Only 15 to 20 Republican seats are currently
considered moderately to highly competitive by the consensus, while 19 to 24 seats currently held by Democrats are rated the same. Clearly, a wholesale leftward shift in the attitude of the electorate will be
needed for the blue team to realize anything more than a handful of takeovers. On the other hand, small Republican gains appear just as likely.
As an appetizer to whet your political appetite, here are some interesting tidbits about the 2014 House elections.
- Since 1950, the party of the sitting president has lost an average of 29 seats in second term midterm elections
- Nine Democratic representatives hail from districts won by Mitt Romney in 2008; all nine races are considered competitive
- Seventeen Republicans represent districts won by Barack Obama in 2008; 13 of their districts are competitive
- The only seat currently rated a takeover by the experts is Republican Gary Miller's in CA-31
- The largest GOP majority elected since 1950 was 242-193 in 2010
- The largest Democratic majority elected since 1950 was 295-140 - whoa!
- Two years ago the Democrats netted 8 seats
In 2012, Democrats recovered somewhat from the 63-seat massacre inflicted on them by the red tsunami of 2010 (The Blogging Caesar projected
a 64-seat GOP gain
that year). Regaining more of the seats they lost will prove more challenging in 2014.
Given the political climate and the competitive House race landscape, this could be the first time since the election of 1956 that the balance of power in the House is unchanged. More likely, however, is
a 2-4 seat gain for the minority party.
posted by Scott Elliott at 8:33pm 11/07/13 :: link