Democrats seeing way clear to House majority
While Democrats’ chances to retake control of the Senate seem to diminish as the days tick on, their prospects of regaining the House majority seems to be going in the opposite direction.
It has been eight years since Democrats have enjoyed the spoils of a House majority. It was in 2010 when the Tea Party wave rushed Republicans into power — something they have yet to relinquish despite leadership changes.
Now, fivethirtyeight.com has given Democrats an 85.7 percent chance of gaining between 20 and 61 seats — enough to secure control of the lower chamber.
Despite a solid swath of red through the Midwest, Democrats are looking at places like Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, Virginia and North Carolina as places they can make gains by upending Republicans. Arizona and Pennsylvania are also places where Democrats hold edges over their Republican counterparts.
Here is a snapshot of some of the key races to watch as we get closer to midterm election day:
Former 1st Congressional District Representative Ann Kirkpatrick may be the beneficiary of redistricting as relatively unknown Republican Lea Marquez Peterson has about a 3 percent chance of winning this race.
The winner of this race will replace Martha McSally, who is running against Kyrsten Sinema for Jeff Flake’s Senate seat.
So, as it stands, this would be a strong gain for Democrats in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Kansas hasn’t voted for a Democrat president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even in one of those elections, they managed to vote against him.
Needless to say, Kansas has been an area Republicans have counted on in elections past.
Republican Kevin Yoder has held on to this seat since 2011, but now polls suggest Democrat Sharice Davids — a Cornell Law School graduate and White House Fellow under President Barack Obama — has an 81 percent chance to win the district back for Democrats.
Most polls have Davids between 3 percent and 10 percent ahead of Yoder, despite also having a Libertarian candidate in the race.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-02) has held this seat since 2009, but she announced her retirement in 2017. That allowed former Army Captain Steve Watkins to claim the Republican nomination.
However, his Democrat opponent, former state representative Paul Davis, didn’t have a primary and has had more time to drum up support.
While the race is still within the margin of error, Davis leads in every poll. Fivethirtyeight is giving Davis a 54 percent chance of winning to Watkins’ 48 percent.
North Carolina 9th
Republican Mark Harris scored a huge primary upset when he took down incumbent Robert Pittenger in this district, which serves an area around Charlotte.
Democrat Dan McCready has already received the endorsement of The Charlotte Observer, but most polls remain split. However fivethirtyeight is giving McCready a 54 percent chance of winning a district that hasn’t had a Democrat represent it since the 1960s.
Incumbent Republican Ron Blum has held this seat since 2015, but by all accounts he isn’t going to hold it much longer.
While Donald Trump won this district by four points in 2016, it voted for Barack Obama twice — by pretty good margins — giving Democrat challenger Abby Finkenauer a big shot at taking the seat back for Democrats.
Finkenauer has been a state representative since 2014 and just about every poll has her leading Blum. Her chance of winning by fivethirtyeight … 95 percent.
This is just a snapshot of a few races that could tip the scales of power in the U.S. House of Representatives. There are several hundred more and we will take a look at other races as we get closer to the midterm elections.
Matthew Clark is the Executive Editor of The Daily Lead.