For much of 2017 and early 2018, GOP consultants of a certain age would tell us that this election had the same look, feel and smell of 2006; the last time Republicans had a terrible midterm election. The President was unpopular, the Democrats were motivated and GOP members were retiring rather than opting to run for re-election in what was shaping up to be an awful, no good, terrible year.
A coal country district that voted 73 percent to 23 percent for President Trump might sound like mission impossible for Democrats. Yet this race could turn out be one of the wildest of the cycle. A new Monmouth University poll shows Trump-voting Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda leading state Del. Carol Miller 43 percent to 41 percent for the seat Rep. Evan Jenkins vacated to run unsuccessfully for Senate.
Two-term GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) is a tough, resilient campaigner who has persevered as the prosperous Northern Virginia suburbs have zoomed away from her party in the Trump era. In 2016, she won reelection by six points while Hillary Clinton carried the seat 52 percent to 42 percent. But in the current political environment, Comstock is the single most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the House.
As the political universe fixates on the battles for control of Congress, little attention is being paid to the 36 gubernatorial contests on the ballot in November. But, the stakes for control of governorships are high given that most of the Governors elected this year will be in office during redistricting in 2021. And, races are starting to become engaged and more interesting.
If you are surprised at what President Donald Trump is doing or how he is behaving or what he is prioritizing, you shouldn’t be. This is what he was doing, what he was saying, and how he was acting throughout the 2016 campaign. On some topics, he has been espousing the same rhetoric for years and years.
Democrats have to be happy and relieved by the results of Tuesday's primaries: they appear to have avoided getting "locked out" of California's top-two primaries, advancing candidates to the November ballot in all of the seven GOP seats they're targeting (although in several districts, they didn't avert catastrophe by much). And in New Jersey, Democrats' top recruits comfortably won their primaries in two key GOP-held open seats.
With President Trump's job approval ratings up, the economy humming and the congressional ballot tightening, it no longer looks as dire out there for GOP. Some, like Washington Post’s Michael Scherer, argue that “shifts in the national mood raise the possibility that an anticipated electoral wave could flatten into a ripple.”
Democrats' route to the House majority runs through California more than any other state. Nationally, they need to win 23 GOP seats to win the chamber, and in California alone, there are seven Republican incumbents sitting in seats Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Four of those seven seats include at least a piece of Orange County, which in 2016 voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since 1936.
Next week the all-important California primary takes place. Most of the media attention, however, has not been on issues or candidates, but instead on the possible repercussions of the still relatively new top-two primary system. The worry among Democrats is that multiple Democratic candidates in some congressional districts will split the vote, allowing two Republicans to proceed to the November ballot.
As the November election approaches, forecasts of the outcome in the House have evolved. No doubt, the uncertainties will continue. But little attention has been given to the implications of the growing possibility that the House majority could be razor-thin, for one party or the other. That, in turn, could result in a chaotic handling of the House’s customary first decision and vote—the selection of the Speaker.