Speaker John Boehner is officially worried about losing the House majority this fall.
The Ohio Republican said in an interview with Fox News Channel that will run on Tuesday that there is a “one-in-three” chance that Democrats will win the House in November — a headline that will surely catch people’s attention.
“I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there’s a one-in-three chance that we could lose,” Boehner said in the interview. “We’ve got a big challenge, and we’ve got work to do.”
Boehner’s words will make plenty of news — in no small part because of how candid he was.
But his remark was far from a slip. Rather, it seems pretty apparent it was a purposeful attempt to remind his party (and its donors) of the stakes this November.
Generally, politicians are reticent to admit when they are in trouble, but Republicans have privately worried for months that donors and party leaders are too concerned with winning the presidential race and the Senate that they will neglect the one chamber they currently hold: the House.
It’s manifested itself in a fundraising deficit for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has been outraised by $10 million this cycle despite holding its biggest majority in 60 years.
And first quarter fundraising reports filed last week showed Democratic challengers outraising incumbent House Republicans in several of the GOP’s most vulnerable districts.
Democrats need to win 25 districts to re-take the House, and that’s a steep hill to climb — particularly given that the president’s party rarely wins many seats when the president is running for reelection. But it’s got Boehner concerned enough that he’s publicly fretting about November.
“We have 50 of our members in tough races, 89 freshmen running for their first reelections, and we have 32 districts that are in states where there is no presidential campaign going to be run, no big Senate race — and we call these orphan districts,” Boehner said in the interview. “You take 18 of them — California, Illinois and New York — where you know we’re not likely to do well at the top of the ticket, and those districts are frankly pretty vulnerable.”