Republicans remain on track to regain control of the House despite Democrat progress during the summer, Politico reported.
The GOP needs to gain only five seats to win control, and it appears the party can assume power even if it fails to flip any districts that President Joe Biden carried in 2020, Politico reported Tuesday.
"I think we probably had a little bit of irrational exuberance during the course of the summer. No question that the president's numbers, while bad, are better," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told Politico.
"I always ask myself every morning, would I rather be us than them? And I'd rather be us. And I think if they're honest, they would say the same thing."
Historically, a president's party loses seats in the midterms. Cole, a former House Republican campaign chief, suggested Republicans could gain 20-25 seats in November.
The size of the GOP's potential majority will be determined by the two dozen or so Democrat-held seats that Biden carried narrowly in 2020.
Politico said that some Democrats privately say that they hope their party can limit GOP gains to single digits.
"The drive to hold the majority has been hampered by an historic number of Democratic retirements, setbacks in redistricting, and the fact that several Democratic incumbents are running in Trump-leaning territory," Politico said.
After the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats have been encouraged by a month of special election upsets and improved standing in generic ballot polling.
"It's the top issue that I'm hearing about with a close second being the economy," said North Carolina state Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Democrat running in a newly redrawn district around Raleigh, North Carolina.
"It's at the top of many voters' minds, because we had these constitutional rights for 50 years and now the Republicans have taken them away."
However, although redistricting didn't tilt as heavily to Republicans as some expected, the GOP appears to have added new red districts, most notably around Nashville, Atlanta and Houston, and in Florida and eastern Montana, Politico reported.
Then there's roughly a dozen Democrat seats in districts won by former President Donald Trump. About half of those seats are open, and even Democrats admit they likely won't be able to hold onto some of them.
For example, Rep. Tom O'Halleran, D-Ariz., represents a district that Trump would have won by 8 points.
"Those campaigns are going to be tough and difficult," Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., said, Politico reported, though he predicted that "inevitability for Republicans is gone."
Also, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus will be facing a coming surge of outside spending, which could swamp them in TV ads in the critical final weeks of the midterms.
Politico reported that Democrats have seen improvement in a group of blue districts Biden carried by more than 10 points in 2020, and a handful of GOP incumbents in districts the president carried appear much more vulnerable.
A collection of recent internal Democrat polls conducted in a dozen battleground seats showed Democrat candidates running, on average, more than 6 percentage points above Biden's favorability rating in those districts, Politico said.
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