GOP leader says Republicans could flip 60 seats next year

Republicans took a victory lap Wednesday following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s stunning win in the Virginia governor’s race, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) predicting his party could flip more than 60 House seats in next year’s midterm elections.

“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year. You are no longer safe,” McCarthy told reporters while flanked by his leadership team and Virginia Republicans.

“It’ll be more than 70 [Democratic seats] that will be competitive. There’s many that are going to lose their races based upon walking off a cliff from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] pushing them,” he continued. “She may not care if she lose. She lost 63 the last time she was Speaker moving policy that the country didn’t care for. 

“Many believe she won’t stay around” in Congress, McCarthy asserted. Speaking to Democrats, he added, “So she’s not going to be there to defend you.”

Pelosi and the Democrats did lose 63 seats — and the House majority — in the Tea Party wave of 2010, the midterms that came two years after former President Obama won the White House.

McCarthy would be well positioned to be Speaker if the GOP runs up the score on Democrats next year. Because of Democrats’ razor-thin majority, Republicans need to flip only a handful of seats in 2022 to take back the majority, but a wave election like 2010 would give McCarthy some breathing room and smooth his path to the Speakership.

McCarthy on Wednesday also took digs at Biden’s massive Build Back Better social safety net and climate package, calling Democrats’ electoral rout the previous night a “wake-up call for Washington to abandon the partisanship, the extremist agenda of Washington-based program that costs trillions of dollars.”  

“Are you going to bring President Biden with his policies into your district to defend you? Are you going to bring the vice president? Terry McAuliffe did, and look what happened to him,” McCarthy warned vulnerable Democrats. 

“What I do believe is if they continue to push these policies, it could be one of the biggest election losses for Democrats. … When she [Pelosi] was Speaker last time, losing 63 set a record, but it could be more competitive this time.”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said there were important things to learn from Tuesday night’s election but quickly added, “We have a plan to help the country; they have a ploy to win power for themselves.” 

McCarthy and his GOP conference will be looking to replicate the Youngkin victory in congressional races across the country next year, returning to issues such as mask mandates and public school curriculum to try to animate the base and juice GOP turnout. 

“We learned that parents should be empowered to make decisions about their children’s education, not the federal government. We learned that Americans want more jobs, not more government welfare and reckless spending creating inflation. Americans want to fund their police departments, not defund them. Americans want freedom, not far-left socialism,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) told reporters. 

“This is the message that united Americans across the country from New Jersey to New York to Virginia to Texas and united Americans behind Republicans last night. … Republicans are the party of parents, of education, of small businesses, of freedom and family. Democrats are the party of big government socialism, creating crisis after crisis.”

Tags 2022 midterm elections Barack Obama Elise Stefanik Glenn Youngkin Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi Virginia

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