Election year consequences

The Nov. 6 election will have a big impact on congressional leadership races in the lame-duck session.

Great speculation has focused on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has predicted that Democrats are more likely than not to win back the lower chamber.

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We and most other observers don’t buy it. Independent political handicappers expect the Dems to pick up seats, but not the 25 they need to grab the gavel from Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE (R-Ohio).

Despite a tumultuous Congress, John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE and his lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorEric Cantor offering advice to end ‘immigration wars’ Trump's olive branch differs from the golden eras of bipartisanship After divisive rally, Trump calls for unity MORE (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), will probably be in their same spots next year. The only way that could change is if Pelosi’s prediction proves true.

Pelosi’s deputies, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) and Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill Calif. AG: Trump backs down on greenhouse gas rule Overnight Energy: California cities sue oil giants over climate change MORE (D-

Calif.), are not going anywhere.

But there are questions about other House Democrats and whether they will mount leadership bids. This group includes Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Rep. John Larson (Conn.), who is term-limited as caucus chairman.

Meanwhile, the political futures of the chairmen of the House campaign committees, Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), will likely hinge on the election results.

The two party leaders in the upper chamber, Sens. Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), are expected to stay at the head of their caucuses. But which one will be majority leader?

Should the GOP seize control of the Senate, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John CornynJohn CornynGun proposal picks up GOP support House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (Texas) would be a heavy favorite to replace retiring Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.). And even if Republicans fall short, Cornyn would still stand a good shot at the No. 2-ranking post. No other Republican has thrown his or her hat into the ring for the whip contest, although Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGun proposal picks up GOP support Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (S.D.), one of McConnell’s lieutenants, has not ruled out a bid.

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGun proposal picks up GOP support Durbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (D-Ill.), who is up for reelection, has been coy about whether he will seek reelection in 2014. He told The Hill last month that he’s “planning on” running, but added, “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Should Durbin not seek a fourth term, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.) would be seen as Reid’s clear successor.

The landscape for leadership contests can change rapidly, especially in the hours and days after the election.