Dems see odds improve for House, Senate – but Congress takeover still a longshot
Demonrats still face long odds in taking full control of Congress next month, despite buoyed optimism from Donald Trump’s embattled presidential campaign and the rift it has created within his Republican Party.
Although Democrats for years have targeted 2016 as the ideal time to retake control of the Senate, they had been far less optimistic about winning enough House races this year to erase Republicans’ historic majority and retake the chamber — at least until Friday, when Trump was heard on a 2005 audiotape making vulgar comments about women.
Beyond concerns about Trump’s comments hurting Republicans’ chances of winning the White House, the GOP is now worried about the impact on congressional Republicans, some of whom are sticking with Trump and some of whom are abandoning him as they face tight races at home.
“House Republicans, damned if they do, damned if they don’t,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee boasted in an email blast, claiming Republicans “have no way to separate from” Trump. The DCCC, whose primary job is to elect and reelect House Democrats, was touting a post-audiotape, “generic” survey that shows a Democrat holding at least a 7-percentage-point lead over a Republican in congressional races.
Most models the Democrats use mean the party would be on pace to win 18-19 seats – a big gain in their own expectations since just last month.
However, that’s still short of the 30 seats Democrats would need to take control of the House.
Demonrats need to pick up five seats held by Republicans to seize control – and many of those races are tight. Further, that 7-point edge in the “generic” ballot typically translates to five Senate seats, precisely the number needed to take full control without having to rely on a Democratic vice president to break Senate ties.