The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

The Rothen­berg Po­lit­i­cal Re­port has just re­leased its lat­est out­look for next year’s House races and is pre­dict­ing small gains for Repub­li­cans.

“The Repub­li­can brand re­mains dam­aged, and GOP regis­tra­tion is down in most states, but 2009-10 surely will be a bet­ter cy­cle for Repub­li­cans than the last two,” lead au­thor Stu­art Rothen­berg writes.

Midterm con­gres­sional elec­tions “are al­most al­ways dif­fi­cult for the party in the White House, and ques­tions about Demo­cratic turnout are sig­nif­i­cant. . . . Re­tire­ments will play a sig­nif­i­cant part in de­ter­min­ing which party will gain seats and how many they will net. ...

“Even with their 257 dis­tricts, Democrats still have a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties in seats cur­rently held by the GOP. But they also have a con­sid­er­able num­ber of con­ser­va­tive and Repub­li­can seats to de­fend. Given pos­si­ble shift­ing of the na­tional po­lit­i­cal land­scape, some of th­ese dis­tricts could grow in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble over the next 18 months.

“It’s still far too early to put a num­ber on net changes this cy­cle, though small Repub­li­can gains would seem the most likely out­come.”

Mr. Rothen­berg right now sees 39 House seats in play: 13 held by Repub­li­cans and 26 by Democrats.

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