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Smart Politics Projections: U.S. House of Representatives

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Republicans aim to undo 2006 and 2008 election cycles in one fell swoop

Current partisan split
Democrats: 255
Republicans: 178
Vacant: 2

Analysis
With 24 Democratic districts won by less than 10 points in 2008 and another 33 decided by between 10 and 20 points, Republicans had several good departure points by which to pick off the dozens of Democratic seats they would need this cycle to recapture the U.S. House.

Of course, the reverse could also have been the case, had the first two years of the Obama administration been more warmly received by the electorate: Republicans won 26 House districts by less than 10 points in 2008 as well.

The number of Republican net gains has been projected by some analysts to potentially eclipse 70 seats. However, as this is an anti-Democratic, rather than pro-Republican political environment, not all anti-incumbent votes in Democratic districts will be cast to the GOP nominee. A record number of third-party candidates in midterm elections since the Great Depression, most of which are right-leaning, may very well dampen the extent of Republican gains, to the tune of at least a half-dozen narrowly-decided races.

Projected partisan shift: GOP +62
Partisan control: GOP controls U.S. House

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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