Democrats have better than 50-50 odds of taking back the House in November, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted Tuesday.
Hoyer, the House Democratic whip, said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had it wrong this week when he said Republicans have a one-in-three chance of losing the lower chamber this year.
Strong candidates, strong fundraising and the popularity of President Obama, Hoyer argued, give the Democrats a definitive edge in this year's elections.
"We're going to pick up a lot of seats, and I think we'll take back the majority," he said.
Boehner raised plenty of eyebrows Monday when he told Fox News that the Republicans have no lock on keeping the House after trouncing Democrats to win control of the chamber just two years ago.
"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, and I’m being myself, frank," Boehner said in an interview expected to air Tuesday. "We’ve got a big challenge and we’ve got work to do.”
The remarks weren't overlooked by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), who called Boehner's handicapping "entirely reasonable."
"There's no enthusiasm for their campaigns, no enthusiasm for their agenda," she told CNN Tuesday.
Democrats have a tough road ahead. After losing 63 seats and the Speaker's gavel in 2010, the party needs to pick up 25 seats to regain the majority in the lower chamber.
Hoyer said Democratic leaders are eying at least 78 districts in which Democrats have "very good shots" of picking off sitting Republicans.
"We have a very significant number of challengers who have out-raised the Republican incumbents," he said.
Hoyer noted that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has raised more money than the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) this year, adding that it's highly unusual for the minority party to out-raise the majority.
The Maryland Democrats also downplayed the significance of redistricting in this year's elections, saying neither party gained an advantage by those changes.
"There were some states where we didn't do well in redistricting — North Carolina is probably the starkest example of that — and some states where we did very well: Illinois is the other example of that," Hoyer said. "It was a net wash."