Who is the Republican candidate whose victory will expand the House majority to 245 members?
Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans are looking beyond holding their majority on Election Day. They are aiming to get to 245 members, which would be the largest Republican majority since the end of World War II. Currently, Republicans hold 233 seats to the Democrats’ 199. There are three vacancies.
House Republicans are not alone in their belief that there will be notably fewer Democrats in the 114th Congress. Famed political prognosticator Charlie Cook sees Republicans holding as many as 248 seats, while his esteemed counterpart Stu Rothenberg projects the high mark for Republicans will be as many as 245.
To achieve success, Republicans will need to win in all three of these categories:
1. Open seats currently held by a Republican in Republican territory.
2. Seats currently held by a Democrat in Republican territory.
3. Seats currently held by a Democrat in swing territory.
As results on the East Coast should be known early, here are three races to watch to gauge the potential for Republicans to reach 245 seats in the House by the end of the evening.
The 10th Congressional District of Virginia. With the retirement of Rep. Frank Wolf, Republicans must hold this sprawling Northern Virginia district, which he has represented since 1981. Republican State Delegate Barbara Comstock faces Democrat Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust. As evidenced by Republicans winning this congressional district by a mere 1 percent in last year’s gubernatorial election, it has become increasingly competitive. With her repeated elections to the state House, Comstock has shown an ability to win in the more challenging areas of the congressional district for Republicans. She will easily hold this seat if she continues to do well with voters in her current state legislative district and scores big victories in the traditionally Republican strongholds in the western counties and cities in the district.
The 3rd Congressional District of West Virginia. This race represents a Republican pickup opportunity. Republican presidential nominees have won the district recently, while Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall continues to hold on. State Sen. Evan Jenkins offers Republicans the most credible nominee the party has had since the mid-’90s. In a race that will see as much advertising by third-party organizations as any House race in the country, the winner will be the candidate who voters believe will do the most to take on President Obama’s War on Coal and the EPA.
The 2nd Congressional District of New Hampshire. Election outcomes in this district have mirrored the national environment lately as much as any congressional district in the country. In a year favoring Republicans, this provides a welcome advantage for State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, who is challenging the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Ann Kuster. Through her work in the New Hampshire House, Garcia has advocated against ObamaCare and championed alternative ideas to improve access to and quality in health care.
Conversely, Kuster has said she would vote for ObamaCare again if she had the chance. If the political impact of ObamaCare is enough to decide an election, it will happen in this district.
By winning these three races, the question throughout the night will increasingly become which Republican candidate’s victory expands the majority to 245 seats.
Who do you think it will be?