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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

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.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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