House Democrats are poised to grow majority by flipping seats that weren't even on the radar

House Democrats are poised to grow majority by flipping seats that weren't even on the radar
Photo via Gage Skidmore.

Even as Donald Trump suggests Senate Republicans are in trouble, he continues to float a prediction shared by basically no one else—Republicans will retake the House majority. Fat chance, say House Democrats, who currently command the lower chamber by 35 seats, 232-197.

"I don't think too many people would have thought [this] at the beginning of this cycle, but we're playing deep into Trump country," Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who's heading up the House Democratic effort, told the Washington Post. "I'm confident in saying this: We're going to hold on to the majority; we're going to grow our majority. . . . We're well positioned to have a good night."

Coming off a midterm where House Democrats flipped an historic 41 seats to crush the GOP majority, the notion that Democrats might be in position to pad their majority may have seemed far fetched early in the cycle. But the landscape has shifted pretty dramatically, and the Post notes that "outside analysts say [Democrats] could gain from three to 15 seats."

House Republicans call Democrats' optimism "laughable," but the GOP caucus cut its ties to the universe where the rest of us reside the moment Trump took office. So whatever.

Specifically, House Democrats hope to build on the success of three members who in 2018 flipped districts Trump had won by more than 10 points: Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Anthony Brindisi of New York.

Democrats are optimistic about their chances based on both the strength of their recruits and their muscular fundraising, which has swamped their GOP counterparts. Here's several races to watch on election night:

  • VA-05 (Trump +11 in '16): Democrat Cameron Webb, a physician who treated coronavirus patients during the campaign is taking on Liberty University fundraiser Bob Good, who knocked out GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman after he performed a same-sex marriage.
  • MT-AL (Trump +20 statewide in '16): Democrat Kathleen Williams, a former state legislator, has been consistently running ahead of Joe Biden by several points in recent polling of the state. Though Trump consistently leads Biden by a handful of points or more, Williams has run just a few points behind her GOP rival Matt Rosendale or, in several polls, even with him.
  • AZ-06 (Trump +10 in '16): Democrat Hiral Tipirneni hopes to capitalize on finance-related ethics violations of GOP Rep. David Schweikert, who the House voted unanimously to rebuke in July. Tipirneni, a former ER doctor, is running on expanding health care coverage while Schweikert backs repealing the Affordable Care Act.
  • MN-01 (Trump +15 in '16): Democrat Dan Feehan, a former public school teacher and Army Ranger who served in Iraq, nearly took out GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn in 2018, falling just 1,300 votes short. This time around, Democrats have spent twice as much as Republicans on the seat ($2.7 million to $1.8 million), while Feehan pounds on health care and the GOP's bungling of the coronavirus response.

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