A high-profile Republican on Thursday rejected Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s contention that Democrats can win back the House in November, even as analysis by multiple media organizations found she could be right.
On Wednesday, Pelosi told Politico “anything is possible,” depending on the presidential race: “If [Democratic nominee] Hillary [Clinton] were to win 54-46, oh my God. It’s all over. If it’s 53-47, and I think that’s in the realm of possibility … that’s a big deal. Five or more [percentage points] is a big deal.”
But in an appearance at the National Press Club Thursday, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said he’s confident his party will retain its House majority.
“Throughout the year, there have been folks on the other side who have made the claim that all they have to do is tie our [members] to [GOP presidential nominee] Donald Trump,” said Walden, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “I’m not seeing empirical data that backs up that, and they’re even having to shift how they now operate in terms of their campaigns. I think American voters, first of all, are a lot smarter than that, and they understand that the person they’re voting for in their House district is somebody they know and it’s clear that these presidential candidates are running for their own offices.”
Walden pointed out that leading Democrats have said they could win back the House in each of the past three election cycles — 2010, 2012 and 2014 — but that obviously didn’t happen.
At the same time, at least two news outlets published articles Thursday defending Pelosi’s contention that the House is in play. Vox wrote that “math backs her up,” citing analysis from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and several other reputable sources.
The Washington Post went up with an even more striking post, writing to “correct the record” after it “called out” Pelosi earlier in the year “for her pie-in-the-sky prediction.”
“Given current conditions, Pelosi was right,” wrote reporter Amber Phillips. “Depending on how well Clinton performs in November, Democrats do have a shot at taking back the House.”
For his part, the Speaker of the House wasn’t taking anything for granted Thursday.
“I’m going to be working with House Republicans,” Paul Ryan said at a Capitol Hill briefing with reporters. “[M]y job as Speaker of the House, politically, is to help make sure we preserve our House majority. And by the way, helping preserve the House majority helps our ticket up and down. It helps our nominee all the way around.”