Just a handful of seats.
That is all that stands between Democrats and losing control of the U.S. House — a loss that would amount to a death knell for President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda.
At the center of the fight to hold onto the House is a New York Democrat, tasked with keeping his party in the majority: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
“My job is to win. So we’re going to win because we’re delivering results for the American people,” the Hudson Valley area congressman said Thursday.
Maloney chairs the campaign arm of the House Democrats, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
“We’re confident that if more people participate, we’ll do just fine. That’s because we’re a party of ideas,” he said.
If history is any guide, though, Democrats are facing an uphill fight to hold onto the House. The president’s party historically struggles in midterm elections, said Kyle Kondik, who serves as managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
“If you average the presidential party loss in the House in midterms since the end of the Second World War, the average seat loss is 27 seats,” he said. “The Democrats can only afford to lose five seats from what they won in 2020.”
There are other factors, too, such as the redrawing of congressional districts — a process Republicans will control in many states. Kondik says expect Democratic states like New York to face pressure to compensate for seats lost in GOP strongholds.
Lately, much of the national attention has turned to voting rights, with several Republican states like Texas moving to implement more stringent rules.
Maloney accuses Republicans of essentially trying to stack the deck.
“We shouldn’t have to run straight uphill because it's unfair to the voters who deserve to have their voices heard,” he said.
Kondik, however, downplays the potential impact, arguing it is hard to know.
“There's not a lot of evidence that voter ID changes turnout all that much and doesn’t disproportionately hurt Democrats,” he said.
Still, warnings about voting rights will likely be a recurring battle cry for Maloney and other Democrats — an effort to energize their voters ahead of what could be a tough election.