Politics

Hill Campaign Chiefs Predict Victory; They Both Can’t Be Right

Democrat Luján, Republican Stivers sounded optimistic notes as 2018 midterm enters last week of voter appeals

Image Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) knows Republicans have been surging in recent weeks, but still he’s predicting Democrats will retake majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6.

“I’m confident the Democrats will win back the House this year,” Luján (pictured above right) told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

“I never said this would be easy, but we made a commitment to build a battlefield and leave no stone unturned. And that’s why I’m confident we will win the majority in just nine short days.”

Democrats must win at least 24 additional seats to go with the 193 they now have in order to reach the magic number of 217 seats. That would constitute the bare majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.

When Wallace turned to Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Fox News host pointed to the huge historical momentum going against President Donald Trump and the GOP in seeking to protect their 235-seat House majority.

“Since World War II, the president’s party has lost an average of 28 House seats in the midterm after that new president is elected. And when the job approval is below 50 percent, as Mr. Trump’s is now, the party loses an average of 37 House seats,” Wallace said.

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“Congressman Stivers, what makes you think history won’t repeat itself again in this midterm?” Wallace asked.

Undaunted, Stivers (above left) responded, “We’ve defied history already. We’ve won eight out of nine special elections. We actually have an economy where we have 4 percent economic growth. We have unemployment at 3.7 percent. We have the highest consumer confidence we’ve ever had.”

“And we’ve lifted up all subgroups, including record low unemployment among African-Americans and 18- to 25-year-olds,” he continued. “So I think people will reward us for what we’ve done … I think we’re going to be able to hold our majority, and I feel like momentum is on our side in this last week.”

Luján pointed to three factors he believes will carry Democrats back to majority status.

“Hard-working middle-class families are still telling us that their wages and salaries are not keeping up with the cost of living,” he said. “Number two is, you look at the data … While I never look at any one poll, data’s on our side, momentum’s on our side, the energy is clear, early voting is up all across America.”

As the third factor, Luján noted, “We’re making sure that the American people know about the voting records of our Republican colleagues when it comes to health care — voting to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

Related: Optimism About U.S. Direction at Highest Level in Four Years

Luján apparently was unaware of new data made public last week by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress showing a 4.9 percent annual growth rate over the past four quarters for the bottom 10 percent of wage earners.

In addition, the Department of Labor reported last week that average weekly earnings for all workers were up 3.1 percent.

“The data reinforces other surveys showing an acceleration in pay. Financial markets tend to focus more closely on the average hourly earnings series that is in the monthly payroll report that the Labor Department also produces. Average hourly pay is up 2.75 percent over the past 12 months,” Market Watch noted.

In something of a surprise, Luján discounted the importance of Trump to Democrats’ chances of regaining the House majority.

“I think all across the country our candidates are not really talking about this president much. There’s no one that’s going to talk more about Donald Trump than Donald Trump, which gives our Democratic candidates the opportunity to connect with their personal stories … Our candidates are doing well, and it’s because of our candidates [that] Democrats will win the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives,” he said.

Stivers said: “This election is about results versus dysfunction. I already talked about our economic success. We have more to do on infrastructure, lowering health care cost. But the dysfunction the other side would bring — their health care agenda would kick 179 million people off their insurance and bankrupt Medicare on day one.”

Luján objected, saying, “Steve, that is just untrue.”

In nine days, voters will decide who is telling the truth and who isn’t.

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