Republicans Barely Won the House. Now Can They Run It?
Republicans are poised to pick up seats, but the odds of holding the majority in January are slim.
October 16, 2017
THE HOUSE has been a partisan carnival since the end of 2013, and the final results of the first half of this year’s elections are just the beginning of the show. There are seven days left until the elections—five full weeks at the House, and two at the Senate—and a lot can happen to Republicans. They have two dozen seats to defend, and three of them (Indiana’s 2nd, Arkansas’ 1st, and North Carolina’s 1st) will require a second look.
The outcome will be determined by a handful of swing seats, where the outcome could turn on a handful of votes or issues at a time. Here are some of the most interesting ones to watch.
Florida: The most interesting race: Raul Labrador, a hard-line conservative on immigration and gun rights issues, is running for the Senate. He’s considered the most vulnerable incumbent, and there are three other candidates in the race with potential vulnerabilities: Democrat Patrick Murphy and independent Chris King. If Labrador gets his wish and is elected, he will become the second Republican senator from Florida since 1999. It was the only Republican victory in the Senate in 2006, even though the party had a 25-point lead.
The top of the ticket in Florida is going to be a runoff, as the candidates have been locked in a tight race since August.
A runoff, of course, is a different election entirely. If Republican Ron DeSantis loses, the party would need to pick up a Senate seat to hold on to the House. But if Democrats take the Senate, Republicans are on track to pick up only three seats. (Two of the seats, Colorado’s 6th and Tennessee’s 3rd, are held by Democrats, so those would be considered toss-ups because the party had to defend both seats in the presidential election.)
The good news: Republicans have enough support to run the House, but the good news also goes to Democrats. The party will pick up 21 seats in the House (four of which will be Republican and 17 held by Democrats), but Democrats will pick up only five seats in the Senate. At the moment, only the GOP is expected to pick up Senate seats. And the GOP