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Republicans in the House of Representatives, in the latest sign of their optimism that they will regain the majority of the chamber in November’s midterm elections, are expanding the list of Democratic-controlled seats they see as vulnerable. .
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the House GOP’s re-election arm, on Wednesday increased the number of Democratic districts it targets from 70 to 72. The move comes as the once-in-a-lifetime congressional redistricting process a decade seats is almost over.
“As you can see from these targets…we’re going to be playing in Biden territory,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn) said.
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The Minnesota Republican, who is in his second consecutive cycle as NRCC president, noted that nearly half of the seats on the updated target slate — 33 districts — were in areas where President Biden had won at least 10 percentage points in the 2020 election. Only 12 of 72 districts were won by former President Donald Trump in the last race for the White House.
The NRCC’s move to target more blue seats is another sign of the strong headwinds congressional Democrats face as they try to defend their wafer-thin majority in November.
The party that wins or retains control of the White House in a presidential election historically suffers considerable setbacks in the ensuing midterms. But Democrats also face a difficult political climate that is fueled in part by Biden’s underwater approval ratings. Thirty-one House Democrats announced they would retire at the end of the year rather than run for office or seek another post, compared to just 15 House Republicans.
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“Vulnerable Democrats who choose not to retire will receive no mercy,” Emmer warned.
Emmer told Fox News Digital that “the 72 are seats we can play in, and we can succeed with the right candidate, with our message, and with enough resources.
“We know it’s going to be a dogfight, but we have the message, the candidates and the resources we’ll need to win in November. The message, simple enough —inflation, economy, border security, crime.
“If you look at all the polls, we’re winning on the issues that matter most to voters,” Emmer said.
And he also pointed to recent public opinion polls, noting that it’s “becoming increasingly clear…that our voters are far more energetic than theirs. [Democrats].”
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Emmer also boasted that there were now 1,428 candidates as Republicans this cycle in 422 of the 435 congressional districts, and he pointed to the increase in the number of women and minorities who filed compared to the cycle. 2020 already record.
Asked about Trump’s impact on this year’s congressional elections —who remains the most influential and popular politician in the GOP — Emmer reiterated that “Trump is a private citizen. I’ve said that before. He can do what he sees fit.”
He noted that “Trump’s policies are still hugely popular” and thanked the former president for headlining the NRCC’s two biggest fundraising galas of the 2022 cycle. But Emmer pointed out that Trump’s election midterms “are not about President Trump. This next election will be a referendum on Joe Biden and the Democrats.”
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Republicans lost their House majority in the 2018 midterm elections. But in the 2020 election, as Republicans lost control of the White House and Senate majority, they defied expectations. and took a big chunk of the House majority from Democrats. The GOP needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member chamber in November to regain a majority.