New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik says Pelosi has ‘politicized her entire time as Speaker of the House.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said that she believes House Democrats will increase their majority in the November elections by “double-digits,” a gain that would be a blow to Republicans as they try to win back some of the Trump-district seats they lost in 2018 and serve as a mandate for Democrats, who would gain a rather historic stranglehold on the chamber.
Pelosi made the comments on “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by David Axelrod, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.
“I know you’re confident that you’re going to gain seats in the House?” Axelrod asked Pelosi.
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol February 14, 2019. Pelosi said Thursday that she believes Democrats will pick up at least 10 House seats in November. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“Yes, definitely,” the speaker responded. “If the election were today. Everything is about today…”
“How many seats do you think you’d gain?” Axelrod said.
“A lot… I know the most pessimistic view, and it’s very good. See I always go by the most pessimistic view,” Pelosi said, before Axelrod pushed her to reveal what that view is. “Double-digits. I won’t go further than that.”
Pelosi continued: “My responsibility is to protect the incumbents, protect the majority that we have. They’ve been courageous. They’ve taken votes they have to answer for in places where they may not be as obvious as to why. And my goal is to protect them. So we will have a Democratic majority.”
Such a gain would not be unprecedented, even as Democrats now hold a 235-199 majority in the House that means they are playing defense in many swing districts. During the first two years of former President Obama’s first term, Democrats held a massive 257-178 majority in the House. And from 2015-2017, Republicans owned a 247-188 majority.
But if they manage to gain 10 or more seats, Democrats would still have an edge that would be atypically wide for recent years. Before 2009, the most recent House majority of 245 seats or more was held by the Democrats in the 103rd Congress from 1993 to 1995.
That session was the final year of four decades of dominance in the House by Democrats. They held the majority in the chamber from 1955 to 1995, with their total number of seats only dipping below 245 on two occasions after 1959. In recent years Republicans have been able to instill more parity in House races, securing the majority in 10 of the last 13 elections.
Pelosi also emphasized that victory in November is “nothing to be taken for granted.”
“We won 40 seats last time, 31 of them were in districts that Trump had won. Now, he wasn’t on the ballot so not all his people came out,” she said. “He’s on the ballot this time so a number of his people will come out. We won by little margins in those districts, so I don’t assume anything. We are mobilizing.”
Republicans, however, have assembled what they say is one of their strongest classes of House candidates ever and have expressed confidence that they can take back the majority in 2020, especially considering the number of Trump districts in which House Democrats are playing defense.
“Folks are taking notice that Republicans have built our strongest and most compelling class of Congressional candidates in history,” The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republican House candidates, tweeted earlier this year. “200 Republican women. 180 minority candidates. 250 veterans… and just 17 seats to take back the Majority.”