The midterm elections are historically an uphill battle for the political party that occupies the White House. When President Barack Obama was sitting in the Oval Office, the Democrats held the majority in both chambers of Congress. In the 2010 midterm elections, House Republicans gained 63 seats to take the majority. In the 2006 midterm elections during George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats gained 31 seats, flipping control of the House.
House Republicans face a similar dilemma in 2018 — the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District was a strong wake-up call for Republicans. The Democratic base is clearly fired up and motivated — PA-18 was long held by Tim Murphy, not to mention that President Trump won the district by 20 points in the 2016 election. Rick Saccone was a weak candidate that lacked fundraising skills to take on Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., who was a quality candidate. It will be hard for Democrats to replicate him all over the country; however, that still doesn’t negate that Republicans have a lot of work to do.
Trump faces low approval ratings, matched with history being on the side of the Democrats. They simply need to flip 24 seats to win back the majority. The political environment right now is very tough for Republicans and one thing is certain: Quality candidates and good campaigning matter.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is a case study on how Republicans can win in tough political environments with a motivated Democratic base. I’ve joked around before about how I wish we could clone her; since that is not possible (yet), I think Republicans can learn a lot from her successful campaigns. In NY-21, the district was previously held by a Democrat. In fact, Obama won the district twice. Currently, the district barely leans Republican (R+4). However, Stefanik won the district in 2014 by 24 points and in 2016 by 37.
Read more at the Washington Examiner.