Republicans likely to maintain control of House

Barack Obama came to North Carolina today to give a speech. But two Democrats from the Tarheel State reacted vastly different to his arrival in their home state.

Senator Kay Hagan has a 100% voting record from the pro-abortion group NARAL and supports redefining marriage. Rep. Mike McIntyre has cast many pro-life votes, openly supported North Carolina’s marriage amendment, voted against Obamacare from day one, and is one of only two House Democrats to vote to defund Obamacare.

So, naturally, one politician flew on Air Force One with the President and the other politician came up with another event so as not to be seen near Obama.

If you think it was pro-abortion Senator Kay Hagan who flew with President Obama on Air Force One, you would be wrong.

You see, Senator Kay Hagan is the one who refuses to campaign next to Obama because she is trying to run for reelection in North Carolina this year. But why then is Mike McIntyre flying on Air Force One with President Obama? Isn’t this the same McIntyre who refused to endorse Barack Obama in 2012?

McIntyreAh, but Rep. Mike McIntyre announced last week that he won’t be running for reelection this year. You can bet if he hadn’t announced his retirement, he would have found another event to be at as well.

McIntyre’s decision to not run again means that Republicans are likely to win his seat in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, where voters supported Romney with 59% of the vote in 2012.

McIntyre isn’t the only Democrat who has managed to win a race in unfriendly territory.

Take for example Utah’s 4th Congressional District. In 2012, 67% voters in this District supported Mitt Romney compared to just 30% for Obama. But Democrat Jim Matheson survived and was reelected to Congress that same year by just 768 votes. How did Matheson do it? Well, he was the furthest thing from a big city Democrat. He was pro-life, pro-gun, and (with McIntyre) he was the only Democrat who voted to defund Obamacare. Family affinities matter, too. It didn’t hurt that his father was Governor of Utah from 1977-1985.

But last month Jim Matheson announced he wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2014. His previous opponent, Mia Love, announced her candidacy even before Matheson’s decision. She is well-loved by conservative activists nationwide and spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012. She looks like a heavy favorite to win this seat for the Republicans. If successful, Mia Love will become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. She is also strongly pro-life.

One of the worst Democrats in Congress is Jim Moran. He represents the Democratic stronghold of Arlington, Virginia (where federal employees live). He announced his retirement today. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy that this pro-abortion “Catholic” will soon be out of office. But his decision will have zero impact on control of the U.S. House because barring an absolute miracle on top of another miracle, another Democrat will be sworn in next January for this seat.

But McIntyre and Matheson?

They’re decisions to retire make the Democrats’ already difficult task of winning control of the U.S. House even harder.

So here are three quick reasons (well, two quick, one longer) why Republicans in a great position to prevent Democrats from winning 17 seats they need to win control of the House.

1. Retirements of Moderates: As I mentioned, Democrats are unlikely to find a Democrat who can win the seats held by retiring Mike McIntyre and Jim Matheson. Harder for Democrats to gain 17 seats with these two expected losses.

2. Six-Year Itch: The congressional elections during a president’s second term are usually tough on the president’s party. Think Bush in 2006, Reagan in 1986. Eisenhower, Truman, and LBJ (with a partial first-term) felt this impact, too. Clinton fared better in 1998 because Republicans didn’t handle impeachment properly, but this is the exception. Given Obamacare’s disastrous rollout, I’d say 2014 is looking good for the GOP.

3. The Big Sort: Bob Kerrey was once a Senator from Nebraska. He was considered a strong presidential candidate in 1992. But when he decided to try to return to the Senate in 2012, he lost in a 15-point landslide to a State Senator who had almost no name ID at the beginning of that year. How did this happen? Well, liberals tend to move out of small states like Nebraska and move to Chicago. Or they’ll move to New York or Los Angeles. This makes Nebraska more conservative over time. So back in 1993, both of Nebraska’s Senators were Democrats and one of their three House seats was held by a Democrat. Today, Nebraska’s entire Congressional delegation is Republican. Meanwhile, the 15th Congressional District in the Bronx gave Obama 96.7% of the vote. And no, that ain’t all voter fraud. That district isn’t just blue, it’s navy. But since federal law requires that Congressional Districts cannot cross state lines (obviously) and that a district has to be in one piece (even if stretched for hundreds of miles on a freeway), how can you spread out all the Democrats in New York City? Democrat voters have decided to bunch themselves together in small geographic areas like Manhattan, creating ultra-safe 90%+ Districts for Democrats. That makes the Democrats from these District rather extreme. But it also means that the districts in upstate New York are more competitive. In other words: Both parties do gerrymandering (North Carolina for GOP, Illinois for the Dems), but the decision of Democrats to congregate in big urban cities will give Republicans a chance to win in all the other areas.

 

That’s why in 2012, Democrats won a half-million more votes than Republican in House races, but the GOP maintained control of the House because they won 55% of the seats. If we want the House to remain in pro-life hands, then we need to make sure we protect potential vulnerable incumbents like CatholicVote-endorsed Dan Benishek. And we should help other great candidates return to the House, like Bobby Schilling, Frank Guinta, and Quico Canseco. But unless something catastrophic happens, Republicans are in a strong edge to retain control of the House.

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Categories:Election 2014

7 thoughts on “Republicans likely to maintain control of House

  1. MorganB says:

    I was made to believe that we are all Americans first. Not Democrats, not Republicans or Liberals. The reasons are more than obvious as to WHY you direct your support to the Republican/Tea Party. Since the site is not “fair and balanced”, perhaps you might consider changing your website name to catholicrepublicanvote.COM.

    1. Joshua Mercer says:

      I don’t hide the fact that I would prefer that Republicans retain control of the U.S. House in 2014. I would hope you do, too. Republicans in the U.S. House are far from perfect, but if Democrats took back control they would likely return Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership. She is radically pro-abortion, like most (thankfully not all) of House Democrats. Almost all of Republican House members are pro-life, including Speaker John Boehner is. Could he be better? Yes, of course. But let’s also recognize that Speaker Boehner has also been very supportive of education choice, marriage, and religious liberty. So is it “fair and balanced” in your mind to pretend that it doesn’t matter which party is in control of the U.S. House? Casting a ballot for your Representative is not a harmless choice like choosing between different flavors of ice cream. The consequences are big.

      1. MorganB says:

        Joshua, I am an old time GOPer. I am watching my grandmother’s party go under. The Speaker reccently lost control of his caucus. It can be attributed to loose cannons like Cruz and Ryan.

        I always get the story that Republicans are pro-life. However there is an unacceptable Catholic exception… rape, incest ant the health and life of the mother. As you can see most people align with that stance. Pro-life is a misnomer.

        Unfortunately, as the party becomes more aligned with Christian/Evangelical dogma the party tent shrinks.

        1. AC says:

          I’m confused by your comment MorganB. Specifically the ‘however there is an unacceptable Catholic exception…. rape, incest and the health and life of the mother.” Are you saying there is Catholic teaching that alows for these exceptions? (there isn’t) Or are you saying typically Americans of all faiths alow for these exceptions? – that I think is true.
          Either way, life issues are for Catholics a vote/no vote issue. That is as a practicing Catholic in good standing we are not morally alowed to vote for a canidate who favors abortion. When facing two canidates who favor abortion we must choose the one who is most restrictive in his support for abortion.
          Given that the Catholic stance is most restrictive on abortion (ie never) I’m not sure how the Evangelical dogma statement on this makes sense.

          1. MorganB says:

            I meant to say that most “right-to-life” candidates and people in general support the three conditions for abortion, rape, incest and the life of the mother. I take a similar position. The pro-life tag is blurred.
            Pope Francis is leading a charge called the “New Evangelism”. I would ask how does the church take this position and continue to honor ecumenism? A contradiction in terms.
            Christian evangelical dogma is the surrender of moderates to the extreme right. The GOP currently has not even a remote chance of defeating Clinton. Reason? The Republican/Tea Party litmus test is so restrictive that no potential candidate could hope to pass it. The GOP needs to regain control of its caucuses by jettisoning the likes of Cruz, Ryan, Bachmann, Palen Norquist, etc.

  2. Will says:

    I have no doubt that Republicans will retain control of the majority in our state. In the 2012 election, more people voted for Democratic congressmen, but most seats wentto Republicans. Democrats won by a higher percentage than Republicans. The districts are gerrymandered.

    1. Joshua Mercer says:

      As I mentioned, gerrymandering plays a factor, but not as much as the decision by Democrats to cluster in urban areas. There are some Republican voters who live in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit. But most Republicans decide to live in these city’s suburbs. They live in Eagan, Minnesota. They live in Downers Grove, Illinois. They live in Novi, Detroit.

      So yes, gerrymandering helped Republicans in states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. But gerrymandering also helped Democrats in Illinois, California, and New York. In my own state of Michigan, gerrymandering definitely helped the Republicans; it made the task of reelecting Benishek and Walberg easier. But the fact remains that there are 700,000 people in Detroit and the city went 98% for Obama. The average congressional District is about 700,000 people. So if you make the City of Detroit into one Congressional District — which would make sense, that seat goes for the Democrats. I suppose you could slice up the City of Detroit like a pie into five pieces and put each piece into a suburban district. That would make each district much more Democratic. But the citizens of Detroit would object to this action. And it would likely run afoul of the Justice Department’s demands that black voters not be dispersed (and thus marginalized) by being placed in many different districts. So, I will admit that you could make more competitive congressional districts in Michigan. I’m not denying that. The current delegation is 9-5 Republican, even though Obama won 55% of the two-party vote. Consider Obama’s victory, you would think that Democrats would hold an 8-6 advantage in House seats from Michigan, as that would be 57% of the seats — close to Obama’s 55%. But again, you can only gerrymander and stretch the lines so much. The liberal website Daily Kos came up with their own redestricting map for Michigan — one that if Democrats were in charge of the Legislature and Governor’s mansion might have passed. Their rosiest scenario had popular State Sen. Democrat Gretchen Whitemer unseating House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers in a district they carved up that had only a D+4 advantage. I think this is highly unlikely. I think his incumbency edge as well as his ability to win this District back when it had a slight Democratic edge would convince possible strong challengers to pass unless it was D+10. But let’s say he were to lose. The map also placed Republican Tim Walberg (my Representative, btw) up against Democrat John Dingell — with Dingell winning (and that’s likely). Under this best-case scenario, the Democrats pick up two seats and bring the state delegation to 7-7. But remember, Obama won 55% of the two-party vote in Michigan. You would then think that Democrats should have 8 out the 14 House *(55% being closer to 57% than an even 7-7 delegation). So gerrymandering is a convenient boogeyman — precisely because it is 100% partisan. Just ask North Carolina Republicans and Illinois Democrats — actually — ask the Democrats in North Carolina and the Republicans in Illinois. But the need to create majority-minority Districts as well as the decision by Democrats to congregate in large cities makes it more difficult for Democrats to create competitive congressional districts.

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