People have begun to wonder exactly how many House seats the Republicans can flip in November. The GOP needs to win 40 to regain the majority, which would be a significant shift but not exactly historic. After the passage of the deeply unpopular ObamaCare, polling for House Democrats has tanked, and some estimate that the number could be 70 or higher. Jim Geraghty of National Review’s Campaign Spot looks at the 435 contests in the upcoming midterms and finds 99 potential wins for the GOP, which would make this one of the most significant midterms in decades:
‘Hey Jim, could you put together a list of House races where it’s either an open seat race or a vulnerable incumbent?” the editors ask, oh-so-innocently.
Do they have any idea how much work that entails? Scott Brown won a Senate race in Massachusetts by a healthy margin this year — you can find a list of winnable House seats by starting at page one of Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics and working your way to the index. It might be shorter to list the Democrats who aren’t vulnerable this year.
Once you add up the upcoming special elections, the open-seat races, and the races where there’s some indicator of trouble for a Democratic opponent — a particularly strong challenger, favorable district demographics, surprising fundraising numbers, a particularly weak Democratic incumbent, or a combination of these factors — you come up with more than 90 House races. If the GOP wins only half the seats listed below, they win back the House.
Jim brings readers up to date on special elections in May, as well as the midterms in November. It’s a great reference list for pundits and partisans, checking in to see what races will get highlighted over the next several months. However, it may not yet be exhaustive; Jim’s conclusion notes that 20 states still have filing deadlines later this spring and summer, meaning that more races could get competitive, and soon. Keep this article bookmarked, as it will come in handy many times between now and November.
He also has a celebration idea if the GOP runs the table:
If the GOP takes them all, I suggest celebrating by releasing 99 red balloons.
I know that this 1980s New Wave song by Nena is political in an entirely different context, but it beats “99 bottles of beer on the wall”:
Update: One commenter suggests “99” by Toto instead:
I never thought it would happen
I feel quite the same
I don’t want hurt you anymore
I never knew it would work out
No one to blame
You know I love you 99