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GOP on Track to Keep the House in 2018

Image: GOP on Track to Keep the House in 2018
Rep. Pat Tiberi is soon to be resigning from Congress. (AP/John Minchillo)

Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017 02:08 PM Current | Bio | Archive

When nine-term Rep. Pat Tiberi announced last week he was soon resigning from Congress to accept the presidency of the Ohio Business Roundtable, speculation began that this was a sign Republicans were nervous about maintaining their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“GOP Retirements Open Door for Democrats in 2018 House Races,” blasted the Washington Times. “Another Republican Flees the Trump Dumpster Fire by Retiring,” was the lead in a story in Politics USA.

But is there evidence Democrats can overturn Republican rule in the House? Republicans dominate currently — 240 to 194, with one open seat.

Tiberi, who succeeded Ohio Gov. John Kasich when he retired from Congress in 2000, became the 19th Republican to say he was retiring from the House or seeking another office in 2018.

His district is like most of the others relinquished by Republican incumbents: reliably Republican.

In fact, the Columbus-based 12th District has been securely in Republicans hands for all but two years since 1938. Already, two Republican state senators, Kevin Bacon of suburban Columbus and Jay Hottinger of Newark, have signaled they will make the race. Both are considered more conservative than Tiberi, a Kasich protégé who recently took over leadership of the moderate Main Street caucus of House Republicans.

An intriguing prospect for the seat would be Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo, who recently abandoned a bid for statewide office. Mingo was a “Never Trump” Republican in 2016.

“My instinct is that Tiberi and others are probably calculating their decisions based on the probability that tax reform in some form is going to go through,” said former Rep. Phil English, R-Penn., now a senior government relations adviser with the law firm Arendt Fox.

“The reason so many House Republicans are leaving after very short stints in Congress is a conclusion that ‘it ain’t fun anymore,” Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution, who worked on the staffs of three Republican presidents, told Newsmax. “I’m interested in marginal Republicans seats and most of those leaving are from perfectly safe seats.”

Hess noted that several House members retired at young ages to make money and later returned to politics. The late Texas Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, for example, left the House in 1954 at age 33 because he couldn’t afford to raise three children and maintain two residences on what House members were paid. After making a fortune in the insurance industry, Bentsen came back in 1970 as a U.S. senator. Ohio’s Kasich’s left the House in 2000 to work in the private sector for a decade before winning the governorship in 2010.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Is there evidence Democrats can overturn Republican rule in the House? Not likely, say Washington insiders.
gop, house, 2018
Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017 02:08 PM
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