With less than two weeks to go before the November 2 voting, it is not difficult to find predictions of a Republican take-over of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in four years. From pollster Scott Rasmussen’s prediction of a net Republican gain of 55 seats (see “Politics,” Page 21) to analyst Michael Barone’s forecast of net GOP gains not seen since 1946 or 1928 “if the turnout is high,” the punditocracy clearly senses a Republican tsunami.
They are on target. After looking closely at the record number of competitive House contests, here’s how I see it:
The current partisan make-up of the House is 256 Democrats and 179 Republicans (there are actually two vacancies, but the seats held by two lawmakers who resigned earlier this year, Democrat Eric Massa of New York and Republican Mark Souder of Indiana, are counted in the columns of their respective parties).
The new line-up
I see the new House line-up as 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. Here is how I come to that conclusion:
Of the 18 seats being relinquished by Democrats, in alphabetical order by state, Republicans will pick up15 now held by Representatives Berry (Ark.-1), Snyder (Ark.-2), Ellsworth (Ind.-8), Moore (Kan.-3), Melancon (La.-3), Delahunt (Mass.-10), Stupak (Mich.-1), Hodes (N.H.-2), Massa (N.Y.-29), Sestak (Pa.-7), Kennedy (R.I.-1), Tanner (Tenn.-3), Gordon (Tenn.-6), Baird (Wash.-3), Obey (Wis.-7). Those pick-ups put the House break-down at 241 Democrats and 194 Republicans.
Democrats will hold the seats being relinquished by Democratic Representatives Davis (Ala.-7), Watson (Calif.-33) and Meek (Fla.-17). They will also retain the seats of two Democrats defeated in primaries: Kilpatrick (Mich.-13) and Mollohan (W.Va.-1).
Of the 20 seats being relinquished by Republicans, the GOP will retain the 18 now held by Representatives Shadegg (Ariz.-3), Boozman (Ark.-3), Radanovich (Calif.-19), Brown-Waite (Fla.-5), Putnam (Fla.-12), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.-21), Linder (Ga.-7), Buyer (Ind.-4), Souder (Ind.-3), Moran (Kan.-1), Tiahrt (Kan.-4), Hoekstra (Mich.-2), Ehlers (Mich.-3), Blunt (Mo.-7), Fallin (Okla.-5), Brown (S.C.-1), Barrett (S.C.-3), and Wamp (Tenn.-3). They will also hold on to the seats of the two Republicans who lost renomination: Griffith (Ala.-5) and Inglis (S.C.-4).
Democrats will pick up two seats held by outgoing Republicans: Castle (Del.-AL) and Kirk (Ill.-10). These outcomes make the House lineup 243 Democrats and 192 Republicans.
50 Democrats Defeated
In the biggest changes, Republican challengers will defeat these 50 Democratic incumbents:
No GOP Loss
Not a single Republican House member will lose re-election.
New House Line-Up
These results mean the line-up in the next U.S. House will be 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats, or the largest GOP majority in the House since 1946.