The result has been that House Republicans start off with 190 districts that have a historic performance safely in their corner, while Democrats begin with just 146 such districts. That leaves just 99 districts viewed as regularly competitive, an all-time low.
From The Washington Post:
President Obama remains at least an even bet to win reelection. Democrats are favored to hold on to the Senate — an outcome few prognosticators envisioned at the beginning of the year. And yet, with a little more than a week to go, the party holds almost no chance of winning back the House.
“They called the fight. It’s over. We’re going to have a House next year that’s going to look an awful lot like the last House,” Stuart Rothenberg, the independent analyst who runs the Rothenberg Political Report, said.
The outlines of a comeback for Democrats seemed possible. From its opening act, the 112th Congress was dominated by a raucous class of House freshmen who pushed Washington to the brink of several government shutdowns and almost prompted a first-ever default on the federal debt. It became the most unpopular Congress in the history of polling and, by some measures, the least productive.
Analysts cite several factors why the Democrats haven’t been able to take advantage. First was a redistricting process that made some Republicans virtually impervious to a challenge and re-election more difficult for about 10 Democrats. A few Democratic incumbents have stumbled in their first competitive races in years. And Republicans have leveraged their majority into a fund-raising operation that has out-muscled the Democrats.
First among those critics was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), labeled the “face of defeat” after overseeing the loss of 63 seats two years ago. Defying recent precedent, Pelosi gave up the speaker’s gavel but stayed on as party leader. She vowed that “the tea party Congress” was so unpopular that Democrats would ride Obama’s coattails back to the majority.
Now, with a second straight election about to leave Democrats in the minority, Pelosi, 72, has not signaled whether she will remain in office. She delayed her leadership elections until after Thanksgiving, prompting more speculation about her future than about next year’s House majority.
The result has been that House Republicans start off with 190 districts that have a historic performance safely in their corner, while Democrats begin with just 146 such districts, according to an analysis by the independent Cook Political Report.
That leaves just 99 districts viewed as regularly competitive, an all-time low. Democrats will likely have to carry 72 of those 99 seats to reach the bare majority of 218.
“That’s a really bad omen for Democrats, not just this year but in future years,” said David Wasserman, the House editor for the Cook report.