It’s common for the party in control of the White House to lose control of Congress during the president’s first midterm, and it’s looking more and more like that might be the case for Republicans in 2018.
The Cook Political Report, a trusted source for rating the likelihood of either party winning a particular race, has moved three more GOP-held seats in the House into the “toss-up or worse” category. That brings the total number of GOP seats in that category to 37, nearly double the number in January.
The three races now in the “toss-up” category are Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Mimi Walters (R-CA), along with Rep. Robert Pittenger's North Carolina seat after he lost his primary.
In Pennsylvania, Cook moved Rep. Scott Perry’s seat from “likely Republican” down to “lean Republican.” He’s still favored to win, but his chances have narrowed.
A minor bright spot for Republicans comes from Florida, where Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s race moves out of the “toss-up” category and into the “lean Republican” category.
As the ratings stand now, Republicans hold 153 solid seats and Democrats hold 181. There are 50 “likely” or “lean” Republican seats and 11 “likely” or “lean” Democrat seats. If those ratings hold, the House makeup would stand at 192 Democrat seats and 203 Republican seats. There are just three Democrat-held House seats in the “toss-up” category, so this election really is close. Republicans need to hold on to at least 15 of those “toss-up” seats to retain control of the House, provided they win all of the “solid,” “likely,” and “lean” seats.
It’s not a monumental task, but it’s definitely not a cakewalk.
Republicans could take solace in the fact that even in the unlikely event that Democrats win all 37 of the “toss-up” seats, they still wouldn’t achieve the historic gains the GOP made in the 2010 wave election. The media will call it a Blue Wave no matter how narrow the margin is for Democrats, but it is unlikely we’re going to see anything close to the 60-seat gain Republicans achieved in President Barack Obama’s first term.