The number of House seats Republicans could wrest from Democratic control is expanding, but Representative Jim Matheson’s seat is not among them.
An analysis by Congressional Quarterly says Democrats are the defending party in 42 of the 49 House races they rank as “most competitive.”
Though the lion’s share of changes benefits the Republicans, the party still has a long way to go toward making the net gain of 40 seats to win a majority. Though the political environment today favors Republicans, there are still nearly nine months before the general election; only Illinois has held primaries and only four states have concluded their candidate qualifying period. Democratic committees and their vulnerable members have not yet spent the millions of dollars they accumulated in 2009 to prepare to draw sharp contrasts with GOP opponents.
Representative Jim Matheson’s seat is still rated as “Safe Democratic,” which means the incumbent party is all but certain to win the seat.
The Crystal Ball says the Republicans will make large gains in the House, but will fall short of the 40 seat net gain they need to retake control of the house.
While the Crystal Ball believes 2010 will reverse Democratic gains at all levels, there is still no convincing evidence that a GOP wave will deliver Republicans the majority in the House.Examining history and House races on a district-by-district basis shows instead that Republicans are headed to a more typical, if better than average, midterm year, picking up between 24 and 30 seats as the Crystal Ball has predicted since September. The average pick-up in a midterm year (since 1946) is 22 seats and Republicans should exceed that, but the magic number of 40 still seems out of reach, as of February.
The Crystal Ball ranks 102 house races as competitive, but Matheson’s seat is not among them.