A flurry of Republican retirements in the House of Representatives is dampening the party’s bid to recapture the majority, a gloomy 2020 outlook that is nonetheless being roundly rejected by optimistic GOP leaders.
The Democrats turned 40 seats in the 2018 midterm elections, winning the House for the first time since losing the chamber in 2010 in amid President Trump-fueled suburban discontent, especially among educated white women. The Democrats accomplished that feat by cleaning up in swing districts, among them 31 that voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Democrats hold another 25 seats that had voted GOP for Congress until recently.
That 2020 playing field, combined with robust fundraising in the first six months of this year, is making House Republican leaders and their closest advisers hopeful of challenging for the majority. They are pointedly dismissing the pessimism that has taken hold among many of their colleagues. If Republicans pull it off, they’ll buck history. The last time a party won the House in a presidential election after losing it in the preceding midterm contest was 1952.
“I remain very confident we will take back the majority,” said Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, who is in charge of fundraising for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign arm. Why is Hudson so optimistic? “The quality of our recruits and the diversity of our recruits,” he said.