Dick Morris: Republicans Will Probably Keep Control of the House


Republicans will likely keep control of the House unless there is some unexpected momentous event. As of now, it won’t even be that close. And the GOP may not lose much at all.

There are 37 open seats formerly or now held by Republicans. But President Donald Trump carried 27 of them by more than 10 points. They are safe.

In four more open Republican seats, Trump won, but his margin was under 10. (NJ-11, NJ-5, TX-2, Mich-11). These might be shaky.

And in six districts that Hillary Clinton carried, Republicans are retiring (CA-49, FL-27, Wash-8, PA-6, CA-39, AZ-2). For now. give those to the Dems. Dem gain 6-10.

Republicans Seeking Re-election

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Then go to seats that are not open but where Clinton carried the district. There are 20 such seats. But, in 13 of them, the incumbent Republican congressman won by more than 10 points.

In these districts, the incumbent Republican is likely so well entrenched that he can’t be beaten. That leaves seven as likely Dem gains (Denham CA-10, Knight CA-25, Royce CA-39, Issa CA-49, Coffman CO-6, Hurd TX-23, Comstock VA-10). Many of these Congressmen may win again. They have in years past, but, for now, consider them likely Dem pickups. Dem gain 7-10.

That comes to 6 open seats and 7 Hillary seats likely to go Democrat for a total Democrat gain of 13-17.

Democratic Open Seats Trump Carried

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But a lot of Democrats are also retiring or not seeking re-election. Most, however, are solidly blue seats. But in three of those districts, Trump beat Hillary (NH-1, MN-8, NV-1). We’ll likely win those seats. Republican gain 3.

Democrats Seeking Re-election 

And, there are twelve districts where the Democratic incumbent is seeking re-election but where Trump carried the district. While most are safe seats for the Democrats, Republicans could win three. (MV-3, MN-8, and NH-1). In three more, Hillary won but by less than ten points. Republican gain 3.

That comes to 3 open seats and 3 Trump seats likely to go Republican for a total Republican gain of 6.

Net Shift: Democrats gain between 13 and 17 seats but Republicans may gain 6 back for a net Democratic gain of 7 to 11 seats, well short of the 24 they need for control.

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Some caveats:

In a real “wave” election, a lot more seats could change parties. If 2018 is a replay of 1974, 1980, 1994, 2006, or 2010, all bets are off. But there is no evidence of that happening. (In the latest generic ballot polling pitting a hypothetical Dem vs a hypothetical Rep, the blue gain has only averaged three points).

As British Prime Minister Harold McMillan said, when asked what could go wrong with his plans, “events, dear boy, events.”

But, for now, Republicans are in pretty good shape in the House.

Its too early to call the Senate races, but Republican have a good shot at picking up five seats: Missouri (McCaskill), Montana (Tester), North Dakota (Heitkamp), West Virginia (Manchin), and Florida (Nelson). Democrats really only have a good shot at winning a red seat in Nevada (Heller) but hope for unlikely victories in Tennessee (open), and Arizona (open).

So Trump and the GOP will probably keep Congress.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.