What To Watch For
Following the Census count, all states are tasked with drawing new legislative district maps that reflect the population shifts. Most states leave that responsibility up to the legislatures, though more states are now handing the process off to an independent commission. Because of Republicans dominance in statewide elections, they control the redistricting process in more states than Democrats do. Republicans are in charge of line-drawing for 187 congressional seats, while Democrats control just 87, according to the Cook Political Report. Population growth in states such as Texas, Florida and North Carolina, means the GOP is to increase its grip on power. Some House members who represent districts in states that lost seatssuch as West Virginiawill be forced to retire or try and win in a new district running against another incumbent in their state.
Democrats Flip 39 Seats In Latest Tally As Losing Gop Rep Mia Love Tears Into Republicans Over Treatment Of Minorities
Democrats made a net gain of 39 House seats in this year’s midterm elections, NBC News has concluded, after Democrat Ben McAdams defeated GOP Rep. Mia Love in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.
That race was NBC News’ lone remaining uncalled contest.
The gains that propelled Democrats to retake the majority in the House come on the back of the largest margin of victory, in terms of total votes, that either party has seen in a midterm election. Democrats held the prior record for vote margin, which came in 1974 with the backdrop of the Watergate scandal.
Though President Donald Trump’s first midterm election was not particularly kind to him, it is common for the party not in control of the White House to make significant gains in that initial midterm. On the House side, President Barack Obama saw Republicans make a 63-seat net gain in 2010, while President Bill Clinton watched as the GOP picked up 54 seats in 1994.
Its Not All Bad News For Democrats
While it was unquestionably a good night for Republicans, Democrats still held onto most of the seats they won in 2018 and will continue to be the majority party in the House. Thats in part because they retained most of the suburban districts they picked up in 2018.
Of the 233 seats that Democrats held coming into the election, 186 of them were in districts that were predominantly or partly suburban in nature, according to density categorizations by Bloombergs CityLab. Thus far, Democrats have lost seven of those seats, but they captured one GOP-held suburban seat around Atlanta. And thanks to redistricting, theyve also won two formerly Republican seats around Greensboro and Raleigh in North Carolina, which reflect the partys strength in more populous areas.
Because of their relative success in the suburbs, Democrats kept many seats in places President Trump won in 2016. Coming into the election, Democrats held 30 seats in districts Trump carried in 2016, and they wouldve lost their majority if theyd lost more than half of them . But theyve won 18 of them so far and picked up one from the GOP . In fact, more than half of Republicans gains have come in seats representing places that Trump won by a pretty sizable margin in 2016. Well have to wait a bit before data can tell us how congressional districts voted in 2020, but for now it seems many Republican gains were made by picking off the lowest-hanging fruit.
Trump Shames Republicans Who Lost Midterms Did Not ’embrace’ His Support
“The president’s behavior towards me made me wonder, what did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican?” Love said. “It was not really about asking him to do more, was it? Or was it something else? Well, Mr. President, we’ll have to chat about that. However, this gave me a clear vision of his world as it is no real relationships, just convenient transactions. That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.”
Love then tore into Republicans for their treatment of minority voters before vigorously defending conservative policies as more beneficial to all Americans.
“Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their home and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home or at least make them feel like they have a home,” Love said. “I’ve seen the cost of conservatives for not truly taking people into their hearts.”
“Democrats saw newly elected black members and women into Congress this election,” she continued. “This is a matter of fact that Republicans lost in this regard. However, minority communities need to ask themselves this question also: At what cost? What is the cost of staying with the Democrat Party that perpetually delivers exactly what you need to stay exactly where you are?”
This story has been updated to reflect NBC’s retraction of its call for the Republican in California’s 21st congressional district.
Why Did The Republicans Perform So Well In The Us Congressional Elections
Three factors played a part: preconceptions, policyand polls.
One of the manyironies of Republican support forPresident Donald Trumps effortstochallenge the outcome of the 2020 election is that the Republican Party, save the president himself, actually did very well in it. Unless the Democrats manage to win both runoffs in the special election early in January, Republicans will keep the Senate. While Democrats held on to their majority in the House, the margin of that majority has shrunk, leaving the party to worryabout 2022 already.
This was unexpected:Joe Biden was polling ahead, yes, but so were Democrats in many congressional races. Yetrelative Republican success followed. The Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was expected to lose her Maine seat, not only won, but won quite comfortably. In Iowa, almost all polls besides the states own Des Moines Registershowed a tight presidential race. In fact, not only did Trump win the state, but the Republican Senator Joni Ernsther seat and the Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer lost hers.
All of which raises the question: what went right for Republicansand wrong for Democrats?
There are three possible answers: preconceptions, policy and polls.
Theres a third possibility,which is that polls were wide off the mark about support for Trump, and for the Republicans more generally.
Watch Georgia North Carolina Florida And Arizona
ANALYSIS More than 16 months before Election Day, new House district lines havent even been drawn, and yet the fight for Congress is likely to hinge on the outcomes in four critical states.
On a basic level, every state matters in the Senate, considering Republicans need to gain just a single seat to get to the majority. Each significant recruitment development would instantly affect the handicapping of a race and the fight for control. But there are other states less dependent on a single candidate.
Every seat also matters in the House, where Republicans need a net gain of five seats for a majority a paltry number in a body of 435 members and in the face of the midterm history, which favors the party out of the White House. And some states, such as Texas, are of particular importance to one of the chambers. But a handful of states are hosting competitive races that will affect control of both the House and the Senate.
Incumbents Who Sought Other Offices
U.S. House members who ran for President
- 1 Democratic member of the U.S. House
|Running for president, 2020|
U.S. House members who sought a seat in the U.S. Senate
- 2 Democratic members of the U.S. House
- 3 Republican members of the U.S. House
|Running for Senate, 2020|
U.S. House members who ran for governor
- 1 Republican member of the U.S. House
|Running for governor, 2020|
U.S. House members who ran for another office
- 2 Republican members of the U.S. House
- 1 Democratic member of the U.S. House
|Running for another office, 2020|
An Incoming Class Of History
Several of the newly elected state representatives are making history.
The Republican Madison Cawthorn, 25, who beat the Democrat Moe Davis to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history.
The Democrat Cori Bush is set to become the first Black congresswoman from Missouri after winning in the state’s 1st Congressional District.
The Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres will also be the first openly gay Black men to serve in Congress, after winning in New York’s 17th and 15th districts respectively.
And nine out of the eleven Republicans who have so far unseated incumbent Democrats are women wins that will drastically expand the representation of women and especially of women of color in the House Republican caucus.
Currently, there are just 13 voting female Republican representatives in the House and 11 female Republican incumbents who ran for reelection in 2020.
Why Did House Democrats Underperform Compared To Joe Biden
The results of the 2020 elections pose several puzzles, one of which is the gap between Joe Bidens handsome victory in the presidential race and the Democrats disappointing performance in the House of Representatives. Biden enjoyed an edge of 7.1 million votes over President Trump, while the Democrats suffered a loss of 13 seats in the House, reducing their margin from 36 to just 10.
Turnout in the 2018 mid-term election reached its highest level in more than a century. Democrats were fervently opposed to the Trump administration and turned out in droves. Compared to its performance in 2016, the partys total House vote fell by only 2%. Without Donald Trump at the head of the ticket, Republican voters were much less enthusiastic, and the total House vote for Republican candidates fell by nearly 20% from 2016. Democratic candidates received almost 10 million more votes than Republican candidates, a margin of 8.6%, the highest ever for a party that was previously in the minority. It was, in short, a spectacular year for House Democrats.
To understand the difference this Democratic disadvantage can make, compare the 2020 presidential and House results in five critical swing states.
Table 1: Presidential versus House results
How Republicans Pulled Off A Big Upset And Nearly Took Back The House
Analysis by Harry Enten, CNN
There seemed to be one safe bet when it came to the 2020 election results: Democrats would easily hold on to their majority in the House of Representatives. Not only that, but the conventional wisdom held that Democrats would pick up more than the 235 seats they won in the 2018 midterm elections.
will have a majority has projectedJack Kersting FiveThirtyEight clockedThe Economist modelfinal polling averages at the Crystal Ballwhat polls suggestedCook Political ReportInside Electionsare leading
Incumbents Defeated In Primary Elections
The following table lists incumbents defeated in 2020 House primary elections or conventions.
|Incumbents defeated in primaries|
In the 2018 midterm elections, 378 U.S. House incumbents ran for re-election. This was the lowest number of U.S. House incumbents seeking re-election since 1992.
Thirty-four incumbents9 percentlost their re-election bids. That included two Democrats and 32 Republicans. This was the highest percentage of incumbents defeated since 2012, when 10.2 percent were not re-elected.
The following data for congressional re-election rates from 2000 to 2016 was reported in Vital Statistics, a joint research project of the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute. Find the original datasets and methodology . Data for the 2018 election came from .
|Defeated U.S. House incumbents by party, 2000-2018|
|U.S. House incumbents retired, defeated, or reelected, 2000-2018|
|Year||Percentage of those seeking reelection|
Popular Vote By Party And State
The following table displays the total number of votes received and the number of seats won by party for each state in the 2016 U.S. House elections. It also compares the percentage of the total vote received by each party to the percentage of seats in the state won by each party. Some interesting facts:
- Republican candidates received 49.13% of total votes cast in 2016 and won 55.4% of U.S. House seats. Comparatively, Democratic candidates received 48.03% of votes and won 44.6% of races. Third-party and write-in candidates received 2.56% of votes.
- Third-party candidates received the highest percentage of votes in Arkansas with 18.42% of votes cast. Comparatively, Democratic candidates only received 10.42% of the total votes cast in Arkansas. This is likely due to the fact that the Democratic Party only fielded a general election candidate in one of the state’s four House races.
- There were two states in which the party that received the most total votes won a minority of seats, Virginia and Wisconsin. In Virginia, Democratic candidates received 49.17% of votes but only won 36.36% of seats , while Republican candidates received 48.74% of votes and won 63.64% of seats . In Wisconsin, Democratic candidates received 49.85% of votes but won 37.5% of seats , while Republican candidates received 45.89% of votes and won 62.5% of seats .
|United States House Votes by Party and State|
Whocontrols State Legislaturesin States With Changes
Thirteen states were affected by the 2020 Census’ shift in congressional seats.
States are given the task of redrawing districts whenthey gainor loseseats.
Michael Li, senior counsel for the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program,saidthe country could be poised for a battle overgerrymandering, the practice of redrawing district lines to favor one party over the other or to suppress the vote of communities of color.
In some states, the process is fairer than others, he said, because they are not controlled by just one political party or they have instituted an independent redistricting committee, such as in Michigan. But for other states, the party in power stands to control the map.
Just How Bad Was The 2018 Election For House Republicans
On Thursday, Democrat Jared Golden beat Maine Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, marking the 33rd seat pickup for Democrats in the 2018 election.
There are seven races in the House left uncalled all are Republican-held seats; Democrats lead in five of the seven. If they win all the races where their candidates are winning at the moment, Democrats will net 38 seats. If they lose them all which is very unlikely they will hold at a 33-seat gain.
In an interview Wednesday with the conservative Daily Caller website, President Donald Trump insisted that by his aggressive last-minute campaigning across the country he had saved House Republicans from seat losses that could have numbered into the 70s. I think I did very well, he concluded.
So did he? As compared to history?
Not really, is the answer.
Theres no question that Trump did not suffer the massive seat loss that his immediate predecessor Barack Obama did in his first midterm election in 2010. In that election, Republicans netted an astounding 63-seat gain, the largest since Democrats lost 72 House seats in the 1938 midterms.
But more broadly, the 33 seat loss by Republicans in 2018 places this election firmly in the upper echelon of House-seat losses by a presidents party in modern midterms.
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Rising Violent Crime Is Likely To Present A Political Challenge For Democrats In 2022
But there are roadblocks to fully enacting Democrats’ agenda. Their thin majorities in both chambers of Congress mean nearly all Democrats have to get on board with every agenda item in order to push through major legislative priorities. And without adjusting or eliminating the legislative filibuster in the Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them for various legislation a near-impossible task.
Betting On Major Domestic Policy Programs
“We’re making a bet on substance,” Maloney says, before adding a colorful adage: “What’s the old saying any jackass can kick down a barn, it takes a carpenter to build one. It’s harder to build it than to kick it down. And so we’re the party that’s going to build the future.”
That future includes proposals to combat climate change; overhaul immigration laws; massively invest in traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges and expanded access to broadband, along with investments in affordable child care and early childhood education; and provide an expanded child tax credit with payments that top out at $3,600 a year per child.
Tens of millions of American families are already starting to receive those direct cash payments.
“That’s a huge thing for a family trying to pay for the kids’ basketball shoes or keep food in the fridge till Saturday when it’s been running out on Thursday,” Maloney says.
The monthly credit is scheduled to last one year, but some Democrats have already discussed making it permanent.
“No Democratic majority, no Democratic president, has made this much progress in a long time,” Maloney says.
The Number Of People Each House Member Represents Will Change
The number of residents represented by each House member will mostly growin 2022, though it will decrease per representative in some states.
Since Montana gained a representative, its two House members will now split the state’s population currently represented by Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican. The addition of another House seat means Montana’s House members will represent the least amount of people compared to House members in other states.
Delaware’s sole House district, currently held by Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, will be the largest in terms of population.
Republicans Are Expected To Gain Seats In Redrawn 2022 Congressional Maps But Democrats Could Be Worse Off
U.S. Census data released Monday will shift political power in Congress, reapportioning two House seats to Texas and one each to Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, and Montana and stripping a seat from California , New York , Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia. Florida, Texas, and Arizona each controlled entirely by Republicans had been expecting to pick up an additional seat.
“On balance, I think this reapportionment offers a small boost for Republicans, but the bigger boost is likely to come from how Republicans draw these seats in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia,” the Cook Political Report‘s Dave Wasserman tells Axios. “Reapportionment itself means little compared to the redistricting fights to come.” It won’t exactly be a level playing field.
“Republicans control the redistricting process in far more states than do Democrats, because of GOP dominance in down-ballot elections,”The New York Times reports. “Democrats, meanwhile, have shifted redistricting decisions in states where they have controlled the government such as California, Colorado, and Virginia to independent commissions intended to create fair maps.”
House seats broken down by final redistricting authority :
– Republican: 187
Dave Wasserman April 26, 2021
More stories from theweek.com
The Justice Department Puts States On Notice About Election Audits And Voting Changes
“If they’re going to try to rely on rigging this game, because they don’t have a plan for the future and they can’t talk to the voters about their ideas and their vision, well, I think that makes me proud to be a Democrat.”
Maloney also posits that GOP turnout will be depressed in an election that doesn’t feature former President Donald Trump himself.
“There’s no evidence that this toxic Trump message will motivate voters without Trump on the ballot,” he says. “If the other side is making one big mistake, I think that might be it, which is a doubling down on this toxic Trump message of division and anger and racism and yet there’s no evidence they can pull out voters with the message without the messenger.”
He points to Texas Republican Jake Ellzey as a recent example. Ellzey was sworn in to the House on Friday, days after winning a special election that saw him defeat a Trump-backed candidate.
Maloney underscores: “It seems like the Trump endorsement’s not what it used to be.”
Here are more highlights from his conversation with NPR’s Susan Davis.
On polarization in Congress:
On the Republican Party:
On his own reelection in 2022:
Republicans Are Well Positioned To Take The House In 2022
Although we dont yet know the winners of some House races, we can already look ahead to the 2022 midterms and see a fairly straightforward path for the GOP to capture the House. Midterm elections historically go well for the party thats not in the White House, and the out-of-power party is especially likely to do well in the House, since every seat is up for election .
Since the end of World War II, the presidential party has lost an average of 27 House seats in midterm elections, as the chart below shows. No matter how many seats Democrats end up with after 2020s election at this point, they will probably end up somewhere in the low 220s a loss of that magnitude would easily be enough for Republicans to retake the House.
The recent history of midterms in a Democratic presidents first term seems especially promising for the GOP, too. Following Bill Clintons election in 1992, Democrats lost more than 50 seats in 1994, and after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, Democrats lost more than 60 seats.
If Democrats had added five to 10 seats this year, they could have survived a 20-seat loss in the midterms. Instead, Republicans will probably need to win fewer than 10 seats to gain a slender majority in 2022.
Numerous Freshman Democrats Lost Reelection
The vulnerable first-term Democrats who Decision Desk HQ projects to lose reelection are Reps. TJ Cox, Gil Cisneros, and Harley Rouda of California, Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala of Florida, Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, Rep. Max Rose of New York, Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, and Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah.
Rep. Collin Peterson, a long-serving Democratic representative in a Minnesota district that Trump won by 30 points, also lost reelection.
Some House Democrats who flipped Republican suburban and exurban seats in 2018 did win reelection, however, including Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia, Rep. Katie Porter of California, Reps. Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, and Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey.
Important Dates And Deadlines
|Primary dates and filing deadlines, 2020|
|State||Filing deadline for primary candidates||Primary date|
|04/21/2020 & 05/08/2020||08/04/2020|
|04/24/2020 & 6/12/2020|
|05/05/2020 & 06/02/2020||09/01/2020|
The embedded spreadsheet below details filing requirements for major-party and unaffiliated congressional candidates in 2020.
States That Gained Seats
The three most populous states to gain seats are Texas, Florida and North Carolina, and in each, Republicans will control the redistricting process. For the first time in decades, they wont have to seek preclearance from the Justice Department either before implementing their maps thanks to the 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the Voting Rights Act. That, in turn, could open the door for more extreme gerrymandering in these states, which historically disenfranchised voters of color.
For instance, Republicans will at least try to draw Texass two new districts to be as safe as possible for Republicans. But they also face the challenge that Texass suburbs its fastest-growing areas are rapidly becoming more Democratic, which threatened to blow up their 2011 gerrymander. According to Daily Kos Elections, Biden came within 3 percentage points of carrying 22 out of Texass current 36 districts in the 2020 election. So in an effort to shore up Republican incumbents in some areas, the Texas legislature may be forced to create safe new districts for Democrats in places like Austin, Dallas or Houston. But even if one or both of the new seats are blue, Texass map will still likely benefit Republicans overall , muddying the question of which party truly benefits from reapportionment here.