According to a Saturday report from The Hill, Republicans are bullish on winning back the House of Representatives. Rep. Mike Garcia’s victory over Democrat Christy Smith in California has, apparently, re-energized the Republican Party, and top lawmakers now believe that the lower chamber is in play.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who represents Louisiana, explained to the publication that Garcia’s victory was a “wake-up call” for skeptics.
“The Garcia election in Los Angeles I think was a wake-up call to all the skeptics out there that in the middle of all of these difficult challenges, a Republican just flipped a seat in the suburbs of L.A., and that hasn’t been done in 22 years,” he said, adding that a number of other races look even “more likely” than Garcia’s to swing Republican.
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Emmer echoed Scalise, saying that he is “bullish” on the GOP winning back the House. According to Emmer, the victory in California’s 25th District has indeed been a major motivational boost for the party.
In the 2018 midterms, the Democratic Party won 41 seats, which was their largest gain since the post-Watergate 1974 elections. But according to Emmer, winning back the House is not impossible because the Republican Party now has the “momentum,” just as it did when it won control over the lower chamber in 2002.
“One of the reasons the House flipped 2002 was because of the momentum that was created by special election victories,” the NRCC chairman said.
Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio expressed similar sentiments, telling the publication that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi “overreached” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Stivers argued that Pelosi is mishandling and “politicizing” the crisis, which could create an opening for the GOP ahead of the November election.
Democrats downplayed these suggestions, arguing that victories in special elections don’t mean much, given that such contests usually attract a small number of voters. In a statement, DCCC spokeswoman Robyn Patterson suggested that Republicans’ optimism is unfounded.
“House Republicans have failed at recruiting, fallen behind on fundraising, and the NRCC even recently admitted that Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis will be a drag on Republicans in November,” Patterson stated.
According to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight, Democrats seemed well-positioned to keep the House, but that does not mean the GOP doesn’t stand a chance in November. Democrats’ greatest advantage is that they don’t have too many seats to defend, but a “good performance” from President Donald Trump could make all the difference in key districts.
The latest polling from Fox News suggests that Biden is ahead of Trump nationwide, but other polls have shown that Trump is stronger in battleground states.