Democrats fight history in bid to regain the majority in House

October 8, 2012

In their quest to reclaim the House majority, Democrats are fighting history: The chamber’s majority has not changed hands during a presidential election in 60 years. Moreover, not since Ulysses S. Grant’s reelection in 1872 has a president won a second term and seen his party gain 25 or more seats in the House, which is what Democrats need to retake the majority. Republicans hold 242 seats and Democrats 193, and while they has been some recent shift in momentum toward the Democrats, 25 seats amount to a very tall order.

Here are some of the tossup races to watch:

Rhode Island’s 2nd District:

Incumbent Democrat David N. Cicilline has had problems, but he registered a convincing primary win, and a new poll last week showed him turning what had been a 15-point deficit in February into a 44 percent to 38 percent lead over Republican nominee Brendan Doherty in a strongly Democratic district.

California’s 41st District:


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Democrat Mark Takano is a slight favorite against GOP Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione in this Democratic-leaning district. Neither national party has spent money in this open-seat race.

Florida’s 26th District:

Rep. David Rivera (R) is being left for dead by some in the local GOP, who are already talking about possible 2014 candidates, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) hasn’t done much to defend his friend. A recent survey by a GOP-leaning pollster showed Rivera trailing Democrat Joe Garcia by 10 points.

Florida’s 2nd District:

The district of Rep. Steve Southerland II (R) appears to have taken a turn to competitiveness, with both sides spending money there in recent days. A Democratic poll last week showed Southerland and former state senator Al Lawson (D) tied at 43 percent.

Florida’s 10th District:

Rep. Daniel Webster (R) suddenly finds himself in a race against Democrat Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief. Democratic polls shows Demings within five points of Webster.

California’s 47th District:

There’s little sign right now that state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D) is in trouble, despite some GOP hype surrounding Long Beach City Council member Gary DeLong (R).

Iowa’s 2nd District:

Rep. David Loebsack (D) has emerged as a GOP target, with the GOP spending about half a million dollars against him. Loebsak is opposed by John Archer (R).

North Carolina’s 8th District:

National Democrats have pulled out of this race, leaving Rep. Larry Kissell to fend for himself against Republican Richard Hudson in a district that is significantly more Republican after 2010 redistricting. Republicans are favored to win three Democratic seats in North Carolina, and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) could be in trouble, too.

Oklahoma’s 2nd District:

The seat of retiring Rep. Dan Boren seems like a lost cause for Democrats. Republican Markwayne Mullin is a strong favorite.

Indiana’s 2nd District:

Another likely GOP pickup comes in this seat being vacated by Democratic Senate nominee Joe Donnelly. Republican Jackie Walorski appears well positioned to win.

Pennsylvania’s 6th District:

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) is always a target, but his internal polling has him up by a huge margin, and Democrats haven’t spent money to help 2010 nominee Manan Trivedi, but it is a Democratic-leaning district.

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