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Rove: Democrats Unlikely to Retake House in 2014 Elections

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By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 15 Aug 2013 11:17 AM

Democrats have little chance of winning control of the House in next year's elections, says Republican strategist Karl Rove. Indeed, the odds are better for Republicans to increase their advantage, he claims.

The Republicans now hold a 234 to 201 majority, meaning Democrats need to pick up a net 17 seats to regain the upper hand.

"One difficulty for Mr. Obama is that there are few open seats," Rove writes in his weekly Wall Street journal column.

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"Ten Republicans and six Democrats have announced they are retiring or running for higher office. All of these 16 seats appear safely in the incumbent party's hands, making it difficult for either side to make significant gains."

Top election analysts Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato and Stuart Rothenberg estimate the number of competitive seats at 36 to 49, Rove says. "By comparison, more than 100 congressional seats were in play during the 2010 mid-terms, most of them held by Democrats."

Democrats occupy more of the competitive seats this time around too, Rove says. Cook, for example, sees eight Democratic seats as tossups, but only one Republican tossup. And Rove says that Democrats this time around will not be able to ride the coattails of Barack Obama's presidential campaign

"The number of Democratic seats at risk is likely to grow," Rove states. "There are 13 Democrats who won with 52 percent or less in 2012, all in districts Mr. Obama carried. Without a presidential campaign to help pull them to victory, some of these Democrats could go down."

Democrats also may suffer more from primary challenges, Rove says. While the Club for Growth threatened to find primary opponents for 10 Republican congressmen, it has produced only one viable challenger so far, he says. Meanwhile, Democrats face six competitive primary contests.

As for fundraising, the average House member of either party has about $555,000 in campaign money, Rove says. "The 17 Republican congressmen in districts carried by Mr. Obama have an average of $792,000, while the nine Democratic congressmen in districts carried by Mr. Romney have an average of $510,000."

Meanwhile, the 13 House Democrats who won with 52 percent or less of the vote in 2012 have an average of only $406,000 in cash, Rove says.

"At this moment, the relative paucity of competitive races points to a mid-term where there are likely to be only modest changes in the House, most likely in the GOP's direction," he writes.

Democrats will seek to benefit from their strong get-out-the-vote technology and major super-PAC fundraising, Rove says. "These would help. But if conditions next year are anything like this year — with a soft economy, low presidential approval numbers and problems implementing Obamacare — tactics alone won't deliver a House Democratic majority," he maintains..

"It will take Republicans shooting themselves — either by grossly overreaching or, more likely, by failing to articulate a positive conservative agenda for jobs, health care and prosperity."

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