If President Trump wins the 2020 election, he’ll need all the help he can get from Congress to further his America First agenda.
But any path to significant Republican gains in the U.S. House elections of 2020 would have to begin with seats currently held by Democrats in districts President Trump carried in 2016.
The campaign finance records that congressional candidates filed with the Federal Election Commission yesterday shows that the odds look dim for the GOP as of now.
The current House is made up of 233 Democrats and 198 Republicans (including one elected member waiting to be sworn in). There is also one Libertarian elected as a Republican who is leaving Congress and three vacant seats that were formerly Republican.
These seats are likely to be won by Republicans in November. That means the GOP would need a net gain of 16 seats to win back the majority.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report also rates two seats in North Carolina as likely to flip from Republican to Democratic because of court-ordered redistricting, which would bring the magic number for a majority up to 18.
The natural places for the GOP to begin finding these seats would be in the Democratic-held districts that Trump carried in 2016. There are 30 such districts up for election in 2020. Twenty-one of these are held by Democrats who were newly elected in 2018.
The Campaign Finance Institute (a division of the National Institute on Money in Politics) has examined the reports from these 30 districts. The reports were filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 15 and cover the period through June 30.
In 22 of the 30 Democratic-held districts that Trump carried in 2016, the Democratic incumbents held at least a four-to-one advantage in cash-on-hand over his or her best-funded opponent.
Among new members, 18 of the 21 Democrats held a similar advantage of at least four-to-one. In many districts the cash advantage was closer to ten-to-one. The bottom line is that the odds as of today look formidably against the GOP’s making a net gain of 16 to reach a majority in the House.