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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

House Democratic Majority Will Be Skinny in January

With so much attention being focused on the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, I thought it would be helpful at New York to remind people that the Democratic advantage in the House is getting a bit iffy, too:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi already had her hands full dealing with a significantly reduced Democratic majority in her chamber wrought by voters who flipped nine net districts from blue to red in November (Republicans also flipped a Libertarian district). With one race (New York’s 22nd District rematch between Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi and his predecessor, Republican Claudia Tenney) still uncalled, Democrats currently hold 222 seats. They need 218 seats for the barest possible majority. Now President-elect Joe Biden has compounded Pelosi’s numbers problem by naming two House Democrats for administration positions: Cedric Richmond of Louisiana (Biden’s transition-team chief), who will head up the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Marcia Fudge of Ohio, who will be nominated to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Both these members of Congress represent heavily Democratic districts, so Richmond and Fudge will be replaced by fellow Democrats. But first they have to resign (Richmond right after Biden takes office in January, Fudge if and when she is confirmed by the Senate), and the governors of their states will choose a date for a special election to fill the vacancies. In the meantime, Pelosi’s majority in the 117th Congress will be down to two or three (depending on what happens in New York). That will give any three or four House Democrats who are inclined to be rebellious some serious leverage over their caucus, and could potentially give House Republicans under Kevin McCarthy more influence than they’ve had since they lost their own majority in 2018.

One comment on “House Democratic Majority Will Be Skinny in January

  1. Martin Lawford on

    So thin a majority will be easy to lose. That is especially true in the next off-year election, which will occur after the 2020 Census gives red states a net gain of three new House seats and the mostly Republican state legislatures reapportion districts. This is when House Democrats must apply their statesmanship, ensure they maintain a popular appeal which they seem to have lacked in 2020.


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