House

Pelosi sees ‘makings of a wave’ of Dem House victories

Greg Nash
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this week that Democrats are in striking distance of taking back the House in November.
 
{mosads}On Tuesday, Pelosi said her party would “definitely” pick up at least 20 seats “if the elections were held today.” And she amplified her optimism on Thursday, saying Democrats will dig significantly into the GOP’s historic majority — particularly if Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, performs well at the polls.
 
“You make your own wave, and that’s what we’re doing,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “We have the candidates. We have the enthusiasm. We out-raise [Republicans] in terms of resources … over and over again. 
 
“I feel very confident that the makings of a wave are there.”
 
The California liberal emphasized that it’s still too early for clear predictions. But she invoked the 2006 cycle, when Democrats shocked Washington by picking up 31 seats and winning the House gavel.
 
“Nobody thought we we’re going to win at this point in 2006, and then it turned into a wave. … It turned into a wave [for Republicans] in 2010,” Pelosi said. “It’s like saying, ‘Do you see a wave?’ We’re not even at the beach. So let’s take this thing down the road and we’ll see where it is.”
 
Pelosi said Dems agree “that we’re going to win very many seats.” 
 
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip, expressed a similar confidence on Thursday, predicting that even the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents would win in November.
 
“They’re all ahead, and they’re doing well. I don’t think we’re going to lose an incumbent,” Hoyer told a small gathering of reporters in his Capitol office. “That means simply we’re looking at add-ons.”   
 
If Clinton does well against GOP nominee Donald Trump, Hoyer added, “I think we have a shot at taking back the majority.” 
 
The Democrats are heading into the lengthy pre-election recess facing long odds of taking back the lower chamber. Republicans hold 246 of the House’s 435 seats — their largest majority since the Hoover administration — and Pelosi’s Democrats would need to flip 30 seats to win back control of the chamber.
 
The most prominent election prognosticators have put the likely Democratic gains between 10 and 20 seats, and House GOP leaders say they’re confident they’ll retain control of the chamber.
 
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week floated the idea that the Republicans would pick up seats in November. And Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is also pushing back against the notion that the Republicans are facing a drubbing.
 
“I don’t like the idea of losing any seats,” Ryan told reporters Thursday in the Capitol. “A good night is keeping our strong majority, keeping the majority in the Senate and Donald Trump winning, so we have unified Republican government.”
 
Democratic operatives are banking that Trump’s campaign — and his often incendiary message — will only boost their candidates down the ballot.
 
“The House Republicans are connected to the fate of Donald Trump,” Kelly Ward, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Hill Wednesday.
 
With that in mind, Pelosi has stopped referring to Trump by name. Instead, she’s christened him “the gift that keeps on giving.”
 
“Our friend, the gift that keeps on giving on the other side, his statements … help register voters, they help mobilize at the grassroots level, they help raise money, they help us differentiate in messaging,” Pelosi said Thursday. 
 
“So I think we’re in a very good place.”
 
Scott Wong contributed.
Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Paul Ryan

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