McCarthy predicts House Republicans hold majority in midterms

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWill Congress provide relief to the ailing childcare sector? Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he’s confident Republicans will hold on to the lower chamber in November despite facing a challenging midterm election cycle.

The California Republican said he does not “believe we'll have that option" when asked by GOP strategist Frank Luntz how effective he would be as a minority leader. 

Speaking at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference, McCarthy acknowledged that there are a number of members leaving office at the end of this term, but doesn’t feel that will cost Republicans the majority after researching past election cycle patterns.

ADVERTISEMENT

“You know, when I look at retirement, I look at retirements for the Republicans who retired in seats that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform 'was vicious' Maine poised to allow ranked voting for president after state ruling Trump ad ties Biden to defund police effort, warns Americans 'won't be safe' MORE carried and Democrats who retired in seats that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform 'was vicious' White House considers sweeping travel ban on members, families of the Chinese Communist Party: report MORE carried — you know what that number is? Five to four,” he said. “We'll pick up two seats in Minnesota.”

McCarthy noted it won’t be easy, but argued recent economic growth will help stave off Democrats from regaining control.

“We have our challenge — history says the party in power loses 29 seats in an off year and 23 seats is our majority,” he continued. “In January, I gave this presentation — it was plus 12 for the Democrats. Today, if you take a rolling average, just plus 5.5. We have a 4-point advantage — if we get 49 percent of the national vote, we'll have 53 percent of the seats.”

The California Republican likened the circumstances to the 1998 election cycle, where Republicans failed to pick up seats despite expecting gains due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonLarry Hogan's hopes Davis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance McCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years MORE was impeached at the time, all polling said Republicans were going to gain seats — the election came, Democrats gained five in the House, broke even in the Senate,” he said.

“How is that possible? Bill Clinton had six quarters of economic growth. Republicans had shut the government down and lost the argument, he triangulated on the issues and Clinton focused on economic issues.”

McCarthy argued that Democrats lost the messaging war over who shut down the government earlier this year, adding he feels Republicans will have an even easier time holding on to the upper chamber.

“The Senate has a much different map — I wish I had the Senate map, unfortunately for Chuck [Schumer] it doesn't benefit him, but each cycle is different,” he said, referring to the Senate Democratic leader. “They're playing in a place that's more beholden on the Trump states. I know what the odds say, but I'd much rather be sitting where we are than where they are. We'll have a new leadership team; they'll have the same.“

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) is retiring at the end of his term. He has endorsed McCarthy as his successor.