Speed Reads

High Hopes

The battle for control of the House runs through California

House Democrats had been girding for a "red wave" wipeout in the 2024 midterms; now, they "have a legitimate — if narrow — chance" to keep the House, an outcome "that was almost unimaginable a week ago," Politico reported Sunday. Republicans officially have 212 House seats and Democrats have 204, according to Associated Press projections Sunday night. The magic number for control of the House is 218.

Democrats had their hopes boosted Saturday when Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) won reelection, ensuring that Democrats will keep control of the Senate. The Senate was always rated a tossup, but political forecasters had agreed the only question on the House side was the size of the GOP majority.

Democrats scored a major upset on Saturday when Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez beat Republican Joe Kent in Washington's conservative 3rd Congressional District, where hard-right Kent had unseated moderate Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the GOP primary.

"Just to emphasize how unlikely that Democratic pickup in Washington's 3rd District was, our midterm forecast gave Gluesenkamp Pérez just a 2-in-100 shot of defeating Kent," Geoffrey Skelley writes at FiveThirtyEight. "Democrats are keeping their hopes alive with this kind of pickup."

The GOP then got its own lift when Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer beat Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner in Oregon's 5th District, flipping the seat held by moderate Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.), who McLeod-Skinner unseated in the Democratic primary.

"A Democratic takeover is probably not the likely outcome at this point, but it is possible," Andrew Prokop writes at Vox. "Their hopes will probably hinge on California," where "only 60 percent or so of the vote has been counted" in a handful of key tossup districts. Some of those races may not be decided for weeks.

"Dems need a miracle now," Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman tweeted Sunday. After favorable vote tallies came in for Republicans in three races — Arizona's 1st and 6th Districts and California's 41st — Wasserman decided the "Dems' dreams of holding the House majority probably died tonight."

Still, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver noted, the "best case scenario for the GOP is now a very narrow House majority while Dems keep a 50-50 Senate majority." And that means, CNN's Harry Enten reports, that President Biden and the Democrats pulled off "one of the four best midterms for the party controlling the White House in the last century."