GOP Sure Bet to Win Majority in House; 20 to 30 Seat Swing Possible: Analysts

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News Analysis

Barring unusual developments, pollsters and conservative analysts said that while the GOP is a sure bet to take the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm elections, they are unsure how large the Republican majority will be.

The experts who spoke with the Epoch Times had various estimates on the number of seats the GOP could swipe, with one pollster saying the Republicans will have a 20 to 23 seat swing, and another GOP media strategist saying the party will have a 25 to 30 seat swing.

The Democrats currently control 220 seats while the GOP controls 212 seats, and three seats remain vacant until the November general election.

A combination of inflation, crime, and general unease by voters that has not been felt for generations is creating a trifecta of influences that are causing normally reliable districts in normally reliable states for the Democrats to suddenly look like prospective victories for the GOP, say the experts.

Democrat woes in liberal strongholds such as New York and Oregon, according to one analyst, are the result of the permissive attitude regarding the national crime wave that started during the George Floyd protests and has continued unabated. This, in turn, has been aggravated by an economy that is making it tough for families to buy winter fuel.

“[Americans are] getting their first bill after filling up their house with [heating] oil. And they’re shocked,” Rob Astorino, a former County Executive of New York’s Westchester County who ran as the Republican nominee for governor in 2014 and lost to Andrew Cuomo, told The Epoch Times.

“They can’t even afford to buy Halloween candy right now. It’s so expensive. So those are the issues that people are talking about,” Astorino added.

Distraction Democrats’ Only Plan

Instead, the Democrats are trying to distract voters with issues that may have resonated in 2020, but have been replaced by concerns the country hasn’t felt in two generations, said another expert.

It’s a plan that’s been hurting the Democrats.

“Abortion and Trump is the Democrat plan,” Tony Marsh of Savanna Communications told The Epoch Times.

“To the extent they can revive Trump as the boogeyman, and they can run against Jan. 6 as an insurrection using the Jan 6 Committee, that’s their playbook,” along with beating the drum on the abortion issue, he said.

Marsh said that the Democrats and being a bit too obvious in trying to make anything into a distraction politically that will keep the spotlight off President Joe Biden’s move to the left with progressives firmly in charge.

“Democrats are overreaching on all these things, they don’t really have a plan to address issues that the American people are really worried about,” said Marsh.

“If you’re unemployed, they don’t really have a plan. If you’re worried about crime and education and immigration and inflation and the economy, they don’t have a plan,” he added.

The only plan is to paint Republicans as extreme, and that’s not working. Voters are repudiating that tactic again, he said, noting that that’s what they did under Trump too.

Nevada voting
A voter returns a voter card after casting their ballot on the first day of in-person early voting inside a tent at a shopping center in Las Vegas on Oct. 22, 2022. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Early Voting Going Well for GOP

Jim Ellis, a private pollster based in Washington, said that the early voting is going pretty well for the GOP and that’s a better sign than usual because the GOP often shows up in droves on election day too.

“Some of the early votes in the Congressional Districts looks pretty good even in places like California,” Ellis told The Epoch Times.

“That’s important because [the GOP] actually have quite a few races out there and Republicans can’t afford to lose the seats they’ve got there. But with this data they might even come out of there with a seat or two,” he added.

The problem is that Democrats are at risk of being overwhelmed, having to ration resources in places they normally would expect to win.

“There are 89 races that I’m following. To get a just bare majority Republicans only have to win 34 of those,” said Ellis.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have to win 55 seats.

“They’ve [the Democrats] got to protect a lot more vulnerable seats. And I think that it’s very, very likely the GOP picks up between 20 to 23 seats,” Ellis said, adding that everything would have to break right for the GOP to capture as many as 30 seats from the Democrats.

“But I think that might be possible,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
New York Congressional District 17 Republican primary candidate state Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R-Pearl River), with bullhorn speaking at a July Westchester County rally for GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, is the projected favorite in a five-candidate Aug. 23 primary field to November’s general election. (Courtesy Like Lawler for Congress)

New York, an Unexpected Battleground State

Astorino said he thinks the GOP could pick up five seats in New York alone.

“I think we’re going to win the Long Island seats [NY-02 and NY-04] and I think Lawler [NY-17] is going to win,” he said.

“I think Mark Molinaro [NY-19] is going to win. I think Colin Schmitt [NY-18] is going to win. And so I really think we’re going to flip seats and hold the ones we have,” Astorino added.

Outside of the internal polls done by the campaigns, there isn’t much polling data in the public domain about Congressional races outside of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Of the five races cited by Astorino, Cook has NY-04, a race between Democrat incumbent Rep. Laura Gillen and Republican nominee Anthony D’Esposito, rated as +5 for the Democrats. This represents the biggest Democrat lead of the five races.

Molinaro leads the GOP pack in New York’s competitive races, with NY-19 marked as “even” in Cook’s rating system.

In early October, even the New York Times admitted that the Democrats were in trouble, saying that New York had more contested districts than any other state in the country.

That’s important because New York now has the fourth-highest Congressional representation behind California, Texas, and Florida.

Generally, like California, New York is expected to counterbalance GOP majorities in Texas and Florida.

Crime ‘Big Mover’ in Midterms

In New York, the biggest issue is crime, right after the economy, said Ellis.

“They’ve had the crime issue,” he said.

“Crime has proven to be a mover for voters on election day. We’ve seen that in Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New York that the crime issues really are moving voters,” Ellis added.

A record 56 percent of Americans said they believed there’s been an increase in local crime since last year, according to a recent Gallup poll. This figure is the highest since Gallup started conducting the survey in 1972.

“Public perceptions of an increase in crime at the national level have also edged up since last year, as 78% say there is now more crime in the U.S. This is tied with the 2020 measure. The record high was 89% in 1992, when crime rates soared in the U.S.,” said the Gallup survey of 1,009 adults.

An Ipsos/ABC poll released over the weekend found that 50 percent of registered voters cite inflation or the economy as their top concern, with 16 percent saying abortion is the top issue.

Democrats’ ‘Big Mistake’ On Abortion

“Democrats thought that they were going to change the subject of the election from Biden incompetence to abortion and women’s rights,” said Marsh about the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade that remanded the abortion issue back to the states.

This strategy didn’t pay off because, for many women, their abortion rights weren’t going to disappear, Marsh noted.

Pollster and pundit Dick Morris, who has worked for both former presidents Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bill Clinton, a Democrat, said that some of the credit for defusing the abortion issue nationwide belongs to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

“Basically, everybody in the party needs to give him huge credit for that. Because his proposal of excepting rape, incest, life of the mother, and the first trimester [on any abortion restrictions] was crucial,” Morris told The Epoch Times.

“And it permitted Republican candidates to tell voters that nobody will be denied an abortion in the first trimester, where just over 80 percent of abortions take place,” he added.

Under Clinton, a frequent talking point that was also part of the Democrat Party platform at the time was to make abortion “safe, legal and rare.”

That language was eliminated from the party platform in 2008.

“I think that was a huge mistake” by the Democrats, said Morris.

In Marsh’s view, while the Democrats have tried to paint the GOP as extremists, it’s really the Democrat party that has gone to extremes.

“If you look back 10 to 20 years, the Republican Party has changed almost no position except perhaps on gay marriage,” he said. “On the other hand, Democrats have gone to the extremes, particularly with abortion. So now, you’re seeing a lot of national debates on the subject.”

“Democrats can’t even name a week [during pregnancy] beyond which they would say ‘okay, there should be no more abortions,’” added Marsh.

Races To Watch

“I think there’s reason for optimism,” Ellis said about the GOP’s prospects this midterms.

“But it’s all going to come down to turnout as you know, and how much [the Democrats] can stir up the other side of this abortion stuff, which is clearly their only issue. They’re obviously running a single-issue campaign just on that,” he added.

Epoch Times Photo
Hung Cao, a Republican congressional candidate for the 10th District of Virginia, at a Patriot Pub forum in Hamilton, Va., on Mar. 17, 2022. (L to R) David Beckwith, Mike Clancy, and Brooke Taylor. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

VA-10

One indication of a big night for the GOP could come from Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.

The 10th race pits former U.S. Navy Captain and Special Operator, Hung Cao, a Republican, against Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who has been serving in office since 2019 after winning the seat from Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican.

According to Ellis, it’s one of the tougher seats up for grabs for the GOP.

“That’s really a bad seat now,” said Ellis of the difficulty of Republicans in winning VA-10.

The Cook Political Report rates the district D+6, which could put it out of reach for Cao.

One hopeful sign for the Republicans there is that Cao outraised Wexton by $1.4 million to Wexton’s $900,000 in the third quarter, said the Cao campaign in a press release.

A GOP pick-up in the 10th could be an early indication of a Republican rout of the Democrats.

Epoch Times Photo
Jennifer-Ruth Green, an Air Force veteran, won the Republican primary for Indiana’s 1st Congressional District. She will face Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan in the general election in November. (Courtesy of Green’s campaign)

IN-01

In Indiana, Jennifer-Ruth Green, a Republican and former Air Force Lt. Col., is locked in a tighter race against incumbent Democrat Rep. Frank Mrvan, who is running for re-election for the first time.

Cook has it rated D+3, and Green has already proven a capable campaigner.

Green earlier this year defeated fellow Republican Blair Milo, who served as mayor of LaPorte, Indiana, and is currently in the administration of Indiana’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, to secure the GOP nomination to challenge Mrvan.

“Mrvan, the incumbent is running around looking like he’s going to lose,” said Ellis, about the incumbent whose campaign has been accused by Green of the improper release of the GOP candidate’s military personnel records.

Last week, the Air Force admitted that a “junior” released private performance records about Green, including information about her being a victim of a sexual assault while she was in the military, to Politico.

Green has contended that the Mrvan campaign was responsible for the leak. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has called the release of the records “a grave violation of both Lt. Col. Green’s privacy and federal law.”

Ellis said that in contrast to Mrvan, Green has come across well with voters

“I like what she’s done. I think she’s got a shot” to win, he added.

MI-07

Another race to watch is MI-07, where Republican Tom Barrett is running ahead of Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, according to Cook.

In that race, Rep. Liz Cheney, who was defeated for the GOP nomination for her current seat in Wyoming, took the unusual step of endorsing Slotkin, a move that Newsweek said could backfire on the Democrat incumbent and mobilize rank-and-file Republicans, who dislike Cheney.

Barrett wasted no time blasting Cheney.

“Now establishment Warhawks like Liz Cheney and Elissa Slotkin are standing together because I oppose their senseless thirst for more foreign entanglements,” Barret said on Twitter.

Barrett served in the Army on two deployments in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom while Cheney’s father was vice president.

mary peltola
U.S. House candidate Mary Peltola speaks with reporters at her campaign party at 49th State Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Kerry Tasker/Reuters)

Alaska At-Large

In what could be the one disappointment in a night of GOP victories, Alaska’s at-large congressional district is essentially a rematch of a special election held in August, when Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat, defeated Republicans Nicholas Begich and Sarah Palin.

Even though Alaska has a Cook rating of R+8, its ranked-choice voting system allows multiple candidates from the same party to run in a general election. This year multiple Republicans will run against each other in the November election against a single Democrat.

If none of the candidates gets the required 50 percent majority vote, then the person with the lowest votes is eliminated and their support is redistributed among the remaining candidates, until one candidate gets the majority.

It means the lowest-vote-getter drives the next round of the election.

But Marsh is somewhat optimistic about Alaska, saying that the timing of the special election over the summer that saw Peltola beat Begich and Palin was fortunate timing for the Democrats.

“Democrats got very excited when Peltola won in Alaska earlier this year in the special elections because they just happen to time it exactly around the same time as was Roe v. Wade happening,” said Marsh.

While the Democratic Party may have been able to shift the subject onto abortions during that election, this time around they might not be so lucky.

People are dealing with how they’re going to put gas in their car, food on the table, and they’re dealing with those issues every single day, said Marsh. When that happens, abortion recedes into the background, he added, because no one’s being stopped from having abortions.

The Top 36

Listed below are the most competitive House seats for the GOP to either hold or gain, according to ratings by the Cook Political Report.

Next to each race is commentary provided by award-winning pollsters WPA Intelligence.

The list totals 36 seats, with 34 currently held by Democrats and two held by the GOP.

All told, Cook currently lists 60 competitive races in Democratic districts versus 26 in Republican districts.

Epoch Times Photo
(Click to enlarge)

The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House and Democratic National Committee for comment.

John Ransom

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John Ransom is a freelance reporter covering U.S. news for The Epoch Times with offices in Washington, D.C., and Asia.





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