With Representative-elect Julia Letlow — a Republican in Louisiana — due to be sworn in to the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning, the Democrat Party’s majority has shrunk to just a few seats. The Democrats currently have just 218 seats to the Republican Party’s 212.
Julia Letlow won a special election in March to fill the seat which was originally won by her late-husband Luke Letlow, who passed away from COVID-19 in December before he was sworn in.
“[Letlow] took 62 percent of the vote in the 12-way race, a commanding victory that cleared the majority threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Her election brings the number of Republican women in Congress to 31 — a stunning turnaround from the end of last cycle, when there were just 13,” reported Politico in March.
Letlow’s victory hands Republicans 212 seats in the House of Representatives, placing them only 6 seats behind the Democrats’ 218 seats.
“That slim margin of error could prevent Democrats from passing more progressive bills that moderates in their party may not support,” noted Fox News, adding that the Democrats cannot lose more than two further seats before they potentially lose the ability to pass legislation — since tied votes fail in the House of Representatives.
There are three further House special elections scheduled to take place in the coming months.
On April 24, a special runoff election will be held between two Democrats vying to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Troy Carter and Karen Peterson will be competing to replace former Rep. Cedric Richmond, who resigned in order to join the Biden administration as senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Liaison.
On May 1, a special election will be held in Texas’ 6th Congressional District to decide who will fill the seat of Republican Rep. Ronald Wright, who died in February 2021 of COVID-19. On June 1, another special election will be held in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District after former Democratic Rep. Debra Haaland was confirmed as interior secretary.
Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, was confirmed as Housing and Urban Development secretary, and so yet another special election will be held on November 2.
Other seats are also receiving some attention, with Politico reporting that “Rep. Alcee Hastings’ death opens up a coveted South Florida congressional seat and further narrows Democrats’ already-tenuous House majority.”
“Hastings, who died at 84 years of age, served in Congress for parts of four decades, most recently representing a majority-Black district that included parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, including slices of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The race to replace him in a yet-to-be-scheduled special election sets up what will likely be intense regional jockeying among some of the area’s most prominent political figures,” Politico added.
Democrats have dismissed concerns, however, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) saying, “Frankly, we’re doing OK as Democrats as you look at this quarter.”