Tuesday, May 08, 2018

House 'Green' Races Look Increasingly Blue

In House races where energy and environmental issues may be decisive in this fall's midterms, Democrats are gaining an edge over Republicans, reflecting broader national trends that show the GOP may be on the brink of losing its majority, an E&E analysis shows.

Those Democratic candidates have increasingly been matching incumbent Republicans in fundraising.  They are consolidating behind strong nominees after crowded primaries that reflect enthusiasm among grass-roots environmentalists.  And they are expanding the GOP seats that will be competitive this fall.

E&E News has identified 23 competitive races where land and water issues, climate concerns or various environmental regulatory issues will have significance.

It represents an expanding battleground for House control.  ...

Republicans hold a 23-seat majority in the House, so if Democrats only won the races on the green list, they would control the chamber for the first time since 2010.

Most independent analysts show upward of 80 seats potentially in play, while E&E News' review focused only on those where energy and environmental issues could tip the races.

Still, there remain obstacles to a blue wave in green races this fall.  House GOP lawmakers have shown they can still raise substantial dollars, given that their party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.

And in some cases, intraparty Democratic jockeying may benefit Republican incumbents by leaving the strongest candidates off the ballot or drained of resources.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the nonpartisan Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, gives Democrats an even shot at taking back the House.

"I am not jumping up and down saying the Democrats will take the House back," said Kondik, who added that with the election still six months out, plausible options range from Democrats gaining only 15 seats to a blue takeover that could net them as many as 50.

Like most midterm elections, Kondik expects it will hinge on how voters view President Trump rather than on a single policy issue.

He added, however, that Democrats could use the recent ethical lapses dogging EPA chief Scott Pruitt as part of a broader election-year theme that Trump has done little to clean up Washington.

Read more at House 'Green' Races Look Increasingly Blue

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