Elections in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio could be key as Democrats seek to regain House, prof says

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If the Democratic Party is to regain control of the House of Representatives, key races in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana could make the difference, according to Rowan University political scientist L

If the Democratic Party is to regain control of the House of Representatives, key races in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana could make the difference, according to Rowan University political scientist Larry Butler.

Altogether, Democrats need to rack up 15 House seats on Nov. 7 to regain control of the House, according to Butler, an expert in Congressional and Gubernatorial elections. The GOP has controlled the House since 1995.

"If I do a race-by-race breakdown, I have the Democrats picking up about 18 House seats, just enough to win a majority," says Butler.

"Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana are the hottest area for House races in this cycle. There are three or four House races in each state that will be tight.

"On election night, I will pay particular attention to Indiana," Butler continues. "With its polls closing at 6 p.m., the earliest in the nation, Indiana will be a good predictor of how well Democrats will do across the nation in House races."

Meanwhile, the race for control of the Senate has grown increasingly volatile as
Democrats look to win the six seats they need to take control of the Senate, according to Butler.

"Until recently, there were only five competitive targets that Democrats could hope to capture. Now there are seven," says Butler. "At the same time, Democratic seats in New Jersey, Maryland, and, perhaps, Washington, have become vulnerable to unexpectedly strong Republican challenges.

"Democratic control of the Senate is within reach, but they will need to win virtually all of the close ones to do it."

President George W. Bush's low approval rating shouldn't have a major impact on voter behavior, says Butler.

"It can have an impact only in terms of the overall feel of the election," Butler says. "In this country, everybody is in a bad mood about everything.

"Bush isn't a drag on any particular race, but he's a drag on the climate," Butler adds. "Certainly, you're not going to see him shoulder-to-shoulder with candidates."

But you will see former President Bill Clinton on the campaign trail, according to Butler.

"Clinton is a rock star," says Butler. "I'd expect to see him a lot in the last weeks of the campaign."

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