Through special elections Republicans have an outside shot of picking up the two to several seats they need for a House majority. But for that threat to succeed they will need the political wind at their back. Border security and gun control could provide that tailwind, especially in New Mexico.
The death of veteran congressman Alcee Hastings will make the narrow Dem majority in the House, 218-212, once Julia Letlow is sworn in, with several vacancies left to be filled. That means Pelosi can’t afford to lose more than two defectors on party-line votes for the time being
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 6, 2021
FNC: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains confident that she can pass major items through her chamber even though she leads the Democrats’ most fragile majority in the House of Representatives since the 1940s.
” ‘It’s not going to be a problem,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters a month ago when asked about advancing her party’s agenda through the House without the help of the minority Republicans. The death Tuesday of 84-year-old Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida further reduces the Democrats’ already perilous majority. What started out at the beginning of the year as a slim 222-213 margin is now temporarily down to 218-212. That means the Democrats can currently lose just two votes and still be able to pass legislation along party lines. Even before the start of the 117th Congress, House Democrat Leader Steny Hoyer expressed reservations, telling reporters in December, a month after the GOP took a bite out of the House Democrats’ majority in the 2020 elections, that ‘I’m certainly concerned by the slimming of the majority.’ ”
“We’re going to be a very unified caucus as we were this past Congress,” Hoyer said at the time. “In many of our bills, as you probably know, we passed unanimously without any losing any Democratic votes. And, in others, we [lost] just a few. But I think members will be focused on how close the majority is now or in the future”
“It’s never ideal to have a narrow majority, but if there’s one person who knows how to walk that tightrope effectively, it’s Speaker Pelosi. She gives vulnerable member leeway when they need it, and receives loyalty at key moments in return,” emphasized Meredith Kelly, who has worked as a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee communications director.
There are other special elections coming up that could make the margins tighter or solidify the status quo. There’s a November election in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. It’s deep blue. Hastings’ vacant seat, in another seriously blue district, won’t be held until July or later. A runoff election in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District will be held on April 24. Blue too. A week later, on May 1, there will be a special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District. It’s a red seat.
A month later, on June 1, an election is scheduled in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, toss-up, to fill the seat of Rep. Debra Haaland, who was confirmed as interior secretary. The last one is the only seat that could change, from blue to red. Gun control and border security could hurt Democrats there and spell the beginning of doom for the current Democrat House majority.