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Feeling Bullish, Top Democrat Predicts Party Will Pick Up House Seats In November

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Democrats have been girding themselves for a tricky November, knowing full well that the president’s party traditionally loses seats in Congress in midterm elections.

But these days Democrats have began to feel more optimistic. With stumbles by far-right candidates on the Republican side, backlash to the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decision that’s energizing Democrats, a series of legislative wins and improvements in President Joe Biden’s approval rankings, Democrats are cautiously hoping that it may not be as bad as expected.

That improved outlook was throughout Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) on Thursday. The No. 2 Democrat within the House is understood for his deliberation and public cautiousness, so it was somewhat telling that he decided to call exactly which Democrats he thought would prevail in November, predicting wins in a lot of tough races.

“I believe we’re going to carry almost every front-liner,” Hoyer told reporters within the Capitol, referring to candidates in close races which can be priorities for each parties.

“It all the time happens. You’ve got individuals who you’re thinking that are going to win who don’t, and folks you’re thinking that don’t have a probability who win,” he said. “I’ll provide you with some specific names of who I believe goes to win.”

In races lower in profile than the front-liners but in districts which can be fairly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, he predicted:

  • Rudy Salas to beat Republican incumbent David Valadao in California
  • Nikki Budzinski to win an open seat in Illinois
  • Donald Davis to carry a seat in North Carolina after Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s retirement
  • Hillary Scholten to flip a Republican seat in Michigan
  • Emilia Sykes to carry Senate candidate Tim Ryan’s Democratic congressional seat in Ohio
  • Chris Deluzio to carry unsuccessful Democratic Senate candidate Conor Lamb’s seat in Pennsylvania
  • Seth Magaziner to carry retiring Rep. Jim Langevin’s seat in Rhode Island
  • Tony Vargas to beat Republican incumbent Don Bacon in Nebraska
  • Greg Landsman to beat Republican incumbent Steve Chabot in Ohio

These races are tight. Most were ranked as either outright toss-ups or “lean Democratic” by the three leading political evaluation organizations.

Hoyer also predicted Democrats Mary Peltola (Alaska) and Pat Ryan (N.Y.) would win full terms after their surprise wins in recent special elections.

The National Republican Campaign Committee didn’t return a request for comment concerning the races Hoyer cited.

“We’ve wanted the American people to know what the Republican Party is becoming, and is: an extremist party. So, yes, we told people.”

– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

While the outlook for House Democrats has brightened since mid-July, history still stays on Republicans’ side. They need only so as to add six more seats to their current 212 to take control of the chamber.

And most observers still give Republicans a considerable edge, with political site Fivethirtyeight.com putting the chances at almost 7 in 10 for a Republican takeover.

Hoyer said he was confident, though, Democrats could buck the historical trend.

“I believe we’re going to carry and pick up additional seats within the House,” he said.

Hoyer also defended a Democratic tactic in primary elections of making ads highlighting far-right or extreme Trump-supporting primary candidates, with the concept that in the event that they won the Republican nomination in those contests, they might be easier to beat in the final election. The ploy has been seen by some as undermining the Democrats’ argument that democracy is endangered by potentially enabling anti-democratic candidates to get into office.

“We’ve wanted the American people to know what the Republican Party is becoming, and is: an extremist party. So, yes, we told people,” Hoyer said.

“Now the results of that was that the people within the Republican Party who liked extremists voted for them. And now the Republicans are claiming, ‘Aha — you told them who we were! They usually’re voting for us!’ That’s their very own problem. They ought to wash house.”

“You already know, the voters are pretty smart.”

– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

Asked if Democrats could also be at risk of peaking too early ahead of the midterms, with enough time for worries over inflation and the economy to reassert themselves with voters, Hoyer said he believed many citizens had made up their minds.

“You already know, the voters are pretty smart,” he said.

“You ask them concerning the specifics, they don’t know the specifics because they don’t spend the time that we spend. But their gut response is that they know where the parties are. They’ve seen what Republicans are doing.”

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