It looks like we have a stunning 65 or so net gain on our hands. Aside for the amazing fact in itself that we have picked up the most seats since 1946, and are poised to hold the most seats since the 20's, there is much more positive news in this result than meets the eye. Normally, when one party wins more than 30 seats, let alone 65, they must immediately prepare for the arduous task of holding those seats for the next cycle. This year is different. If you look at the electoral map, the Republicans actually barely won any D rated districts (using the Cook PVI), while they kicked out almost every Democrat from an R rated district. This represents a permanent realignment. In fact, there are still a few more seats on the table in which we came close to winning. If we can recruit more good candidates we can wipe out the remaining red seat Dems. It is also important to notice that those few remaining blue dogs are the most conservative Democrats. So basically the Democrat caucus will be the most radical caucus ever, with the exception of a few red state Dems who will be forced to either switch parties or vote with us.
Another important point to consider is that we are now slated to control redistricting in almost every important state (we will post more regarding Governors and state legislatures later). Also, more red states will receive extra seats and more blue states will lose seats under reapportionment. These majorities will be permanent and will expand, even if we fail to make inroads into blue districts (which unfortunately seems to be the prognosis after last night's disappointment in these areas).
Here are some interesting numbers concerning the House
- The Democrats entered this election in control of 69 R rates districts and three districts that are rated even. In addition, they controlled a number of seats that are rated D+3 or less. According to current projections it appears that they will now only control 14 R seats and two even seats. That is virtually a wipe out. Yet, we still have some room to grow. We came very close to knocking off blue dogs like Giffords in AZ-8, Matheson in UT-2, Ben Chandler in KY-6, Nick Rahall in WV-3, Joe Donnelly in IN-2, Tim Bishop in NY-1, Altmire in NY-4, Crtiz in NY-12, and Schuler, McIntyre, and Kissell in North Carolina. Also, if we would only field one candidate in NY-23 we would almost certainly pick off Owens. Good recruitment could also put some other R seats in play such as MN-7-Peterson.
- 5 Committee Chairmen were either defeated or forced to retire (Obey, Gordon)
- 29 of the 54 members of the Blue Dog Coalition were defeated or forced into retirement. That means that the coalition was decimated by more than 50%! So ironically, the Democrat caucus will be even more radical. This will make it difficult for the remaining blue dogs to pretend that they are conservative. They will be placed in a rough situation. It will be interesting to see if people like Jason Altmire or Dan Boren switch parties.