At least 26 of the freshman House Republicans elected in November come from districts carried by President Barack Obama in 2012 and tend to be moderates, meaning they are expected to align with Speaker John Boehner in any showdown with tea party members, Politico
At the same time, these new lawmakers will have to defend their seats in just two years in constituencies Democrats will work hard to recapture, Politico said.
The new GOP majority, with as many as 249 seats, will have to soothe its conservative base while preserving the electoral prospects of swing-district moderate newcomers, the National Journal
Blue-district Republicans — The New York Times
puts their number as high as 28 — can be expected to break with their party on immigration, taxes and government spending, GOP strategist Brian Walsh told Politico.
Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo already announced he backs immigration reform. Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy is sympathetic to creating a path to citizenship. And New York Rep. Elise Stefanik let it be known that she is committed to bipartisanship.
Liberal-leaning New York is sending a nine-member GOP delegation to the House, Politico reported.
At the same time, a dozen or so retiring or defeated GOP moderates have been replaced by more conservative members, the Journal reported.
Some analysts doubt moderate-minded lawmakers will shift the balance of power within the Republican conference.
"There are numerous movement conservatives in the new class," an unnamed Capitol Hill staffer told the Journal. "If leadership thinks it'll be easier to pass non-conservative things, not only are they mistaken, they are already selling out the mandate upon which so many new House members and senators were elected."
The 2016 Republican presidential primaries could further complicate the re-election chances of freshmen lawmakers in Obama-friendly districts.
Democrats meanwhile, having bottomed out in 2013, will have few vulnerable seats to defend, Politico reported.
"Republicans in the 26 districts that President Obama won should be especially worried that when the Republican presidential primary races to the right, their constituents will be looking [to Democrats] for a reasonable alternative," said New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the incoming chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Politico reported.
GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania says swing-district members will help Republicans define how they can "govern as a center-right party," the Journal reported.
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