Predictions for the 2020 elections are showing a move toward the Republican Party in the wake of House Democrats approving articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and the surprise defection of Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who left the Democratic party to join the GOP.
According to Cook Political Report, New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District moved from “toss up” to “lean Republican” after Van Drew’s party change.
“Democrats in both DC and the district now view Van Drew as a feckless traitor and vow to do all they can to defeat him—including Tom Bonier, the TargetSmart CEO who conducted Van Drew’s poll just a week ago. But the reality is that it will be next to impossible for Democrats to find a candidate who can replicate Van Drew’s regional appeal (particularly in Cape May County) and ability to culturally connect here,” David Wasserman with the report wrote.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a similar site, moved the district from “leans Democrat” to “Leans Republican.”
Two other districts have also shifted toward the GOP.
Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who left the Republican party earlier this year, represents Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District. After Amash voted to impeach Trump, his district moved from “toss up” to “lean Republican,” according to Cook Political Report.
“Any path in 2020 probably involved Amash siphoning votes from the GOP nominee, reducing the threshold for victory. Now, Amash’s anti-Trump posture seems more likely to split votes on the left,” Wasserman wrote.
And the report also said that Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), moved from “lead Democrat” to “toss up” after Cartwright voted to impeach Trump.
Most Democrats voted to impeach Trump but three did not. Van Drew and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) voted no on both articles of impeachment, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) voted no on one article, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) voted “present” on both.
Twenty-nine Democrats who represent Trump-won districts voted yes on impeachment.
But, remember: Rs will need to flip ~20-25 D seats to take back the House next year.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 19, 2019
Still, Republicans face an uphill battle flipping the House. After Van Drew’s party change, Democrats hold a 232-197 majority.
“The places where Ds face the biggest risk of a backlash? The 12 Dem districts where Trump was above 50% in 2016,” Wasserman wrote on Twitter before adding: “But, remember: Rs will need to flip ~20-25 D seats to take back the House next year.”
Sabato’s Crystal Ball also predicted a tough path for the GOP to gain back the House majority, though analyst Kyle Klondik noted that “the impeachment vote may allow Republicans to more easily nationalize Democratic House incumbents in districts that Trump carried.”
“Overall, the House math is as follows. We currently list 225 House seats at least leaning to the Democrats, 192 at least leaning Republican, and 18 Toss-ups. Splitting the Toss-ups nine to nine would give the GOP a net seat of one; they need to net 18 seats to win the House. So we still see the Democrats as favorites in the House,” he wrote.
“However, there are enough Republican targets among the Trump-won seats held by Democrats, and among the marginal Clinton-won seats, where a parliamentary-style election in which incumbents don’t have much of an advantage and Trump is reelected provides a possible template for a GOP comeback in the House.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), meeting with Van Drew at the White House on Thursday, expressed optimism for 2020.
“We only need 18 more to be the majority, and I think we will do that very soon,” McCarthy said.