Cook: House Dems Favored to Pick Up (Only?) 2-7 Seats
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 09:42:20 PM EST
Last month I picked a bone with the projection from the Cook Political Report's House race editor David Wasserman that the Democrats would pick up between two and eight seats next fall. Apparently this month Wasserman has become slightly more bearish on the Democrats:
The U.S. House: House Editor David Wasserman estimates today that Democrats will pick up between two and seven House seats next year.
Frankly I just don't see it. Now I don't put it past the House Democrats to screw up their great opportunity to blow past their current majority -- which, I might add, is already larger than any GOP majority in the chamber since 1955 -- and instead lose seats (or, God forbid, the majority). After coming of political age during this decade I certainly have learned not to get my hopes up too much. That said, this prediction seems to be quite a bit too conservative for my tastes.
To begin, as I noted in my last post, the National Republican Congressional Committee remains mired in debt less than a year out from election day while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is as flush with cash as it has ever been with a net $29 million in the bank. This magnitude of this feat cannot be overstated; Larry Sabato has pointed out that this is the first time in at least two decades that the DCCC has outraised the NRCC. In other words, House Republicans haven't had to meet the Democrats on a level financial playing field in a long time -- and now they aren't going to either given the DCCC's lead of more than $30 million in cash-on-hand. Sabato also adds that individual Democrats' fundraising looks great on the micro level as well.
For example, during the first half of 2007, the 42 first-year Democrats out-raised their 13 Republican counterparts $21.8 million to $4.3 million, for an average of $520,000 per Democrat to $330,000 per Republican. (21 of these Democrats raised over half a million dollars during that time, while 4 Republicans did so.)
Not only are the Democrats enjoying a real advantage in the money race, the Democrats have also seen a lot more success in recruitment than the Republicans. I'm not going to go district-by-district here (you can look through the recruitment tag here on MyDD to get a bit of a gauge), but suffice it to say that the Democrats have been recruiting more and stronger challengers than have the Republicans. There have been some setbacks in this area, no doubt, but the overall trend is clear.
Now I would not say that I'm looking for the Democrats to pick up another 30 or so seats, as they did last cycle. That said, and I've said it before, I'd be surprised if the Democrats didn't net a pick up of at least 10-15 seats in the House next fall. Maybe I'm too optimistic. But looking at the macro and even micro factors, I just can't help but think that it would be a terrible disappointment and even a great surprise to me were the House Democrats to net only a gain of two seats come November 2008.