William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SCARE OF THE DAY – AT 8:57 A.M. ET:  Can Republicans lose the House this fall?  It may just be a tactic to get the GOP working harder, but Speaker John Boehner believes his party has a one in three chance of losing the body it now holds.  From Fox:

John Boehner is setting expectations high -- but apparently not too high -- for this year's congressional elections, telling Fox News that the Democrats have a chance of retaking the House.

The House speaker, in an interview with Fox News to air Tuesday morning, gave his Republican Party a "two-in-three chance" of holding on to control of the House after taking power in the 2010 elections.

"But there's a one-in-three chance we could lose," Boehner said. "I'm being myself -- frank. We've got a big challenge, and we've got work to do."

Democrats face an uphill battle in their efforts to take back the House, where Republicans hold a 242-190 seat advantage.

And control of the Senate could be up for grabs this year, too, with Democrats clinging to a fragile six-vote majority. The oddsmakers who track congressional races with obsessive dedication project a handful of pickups for Republicans in the Senate -- but not necessarily enough to get to 51.

In the House, a flurry of redistricting decisions appears to be working as of late in the Democrats' favor, though the chaotic process has stung both parties repeatedly.

The Democrats would need 25 seats in the House to regain the majority -- a very steep climb in a year when neither party is particularly popular. However, Democrats are thought to have far more safe seats than Republicans going into November. Earlier this year, the Rothenberg Political Report projected a Democratic pick-up of between five and 12 seats.

COMMENT:  I sense that many Republicans are asleep in terms of House contests.  The party could be in for a shock.  Many Republicans elected in 2010 are from swing districts.

In the Senate, the withdrawal of moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine has been a big blow to GOP chances of taking control.  Also, the retirement of great Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, now an independent, will probably mean a Dem pickup.  And Scott Brown is far from safe in Massachusetts.

Real work is required, and ideological arguments must be put aside for the general election.

April 24, 2012