Republicans have moved beyond nervousness and into flat out worry as the nation heads into the homestretch of the 2014 election. At the House level, Republicans are being outspent and their candidates are underperforming compared to 2010.
Politico interviewed a dozen Democratic and Republican strategists who all agreed that at best Republicans will pick up five seats in the House.
The strategists also agreed on other main points,
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Republicans are convinced they’ll be significantly outspent by Democrats — in contrast to the 2010 midterm election when the GOP overwhelmed their opponents with an avalanche of cash.
GOP strategists are particularly worried about the performance of a handful of candidates who are well positioned to win but seen as running poor campaigns. Three candidates are mentioned repeatedly: Florida Rep. Steve Southerland, Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry and Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock.
Nearly a year after the government shutdown, Republicans privately say the party’s tattered public image is dragging down candidates in key races.
House Republicans are struggling to raise money, and the outside groups that they depend on are focused on the Senate races. Historically, the party out of power has gained 25 seats in the House during the president’s sixth year in office. Republicans set a more modest goal of 11 seats, but it appears that they may not reach half of that number.
It was vital for Republicans to expand their House majority this year because in 2016, there could be a Hillary wave coming, and in 2020 districts will be redrawn again. Newly redrawn districts could mean the end of the current gerrymandered House.
The Republican establishment also desperately wants to give John Boehner enough of a majority to form a tea party buffer. The internal goal has been to reduce the tea party’s power in the House, but that is looking less and less likely to happen.
The best outcome for Democrats would be a small gain in the House. Democrats can talk about taking back the House, but unless Republicans do something incredibly stupid, like shutting down the government, it isn’t going to happen.
There will not be a Republican wave this year, and the nation could be watching the first steps towards a future Democratic takeover of the House.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards andÂ Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association