A senior Republican Capitol Hill insider with extensive knowledge of the 2016 congressional races told Brietbart News regardless of how Donald J. Trump performs in November, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is safe from Democratic takeover, despite claims by Democrats and mainstream media outlets that the House is in play.
“There haven’t been the kind of markers you see, where people start saying, reflexively, when you ask them on a generic ballot, Republican or Democrat–when there is a wave developing, poll respondents reflexively the way the wave is going without hearing the candidates’ names,” the insider said. “We’re not seeing that.”
“There are very few toss-up seats that we have not already won,” the insider said. “There might be six or seven seats now that are going to be competitive or with open seats.”
The source said one reason might be that people do not link the GOP and its policies and traditions to Trump.
“Now, the Democrats are pushing ‘The Party of Trump’ to tie everyone together, but the voters realize that Trump is his own brand,” the insider said. “That is why you don’t see the normal drag.”
The one Republican having trouble that people may not be tracking as having trouble is Rep. Mia Love (R.-Utah). Love, the former flight attendant and small-city mayor, is in a heavily Republican district against Democrat Doug Owens. In 2012, Love lost with 49-to-49 percent by 768 votes. In 2014, she beat Owens 50 percent to 47 percent.
“I don’t think she is in trouble-trouble,” the insider said. “It is an R-plus-16 district and she is not going to win by a margin that we would normally expect, say 14 points, 18 points, but she should still win by the high single digits,” the source said. An R-plus-16 district is one where the percentage of Republicans is greater than the percentage of Democrats by 16 percentage points.
Another reason why the GOP’s House majority is not in danger is that the source said it does not see pockets of unexpectedly close races. It is a factor helped by the Democrats being unable to find a candidate in at least 12 races, where the Democratic line is blank.
There have been no “save me” phone calls from panicked incumbents, the insider said.
The Republicans have their largest majority since 1929, which was the end of dominance that stretched back to the Civil War. The source said that the reality of the map is that the GOP has pushed deep into Democratic territory after the Republican waves in 2010 and 2014 and the party is determined to lock in those seats, instead of risking those seats, while trying to move into Democratic strongholds. Congressmen are most vulnerable in their first two defenses of their seats, so the feeling inside the GOP leadership is to husband the herd.
After the 1929 election, Democrats roared back in 1932 with the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt picking up 96 seats for a total of 313. The Democrats won 322 seats in 1934 and 333 seats in 1936, which marked the high water mark for the New Deal. In the 1938 midterms, Democrats lost 71 House seats bringing their total to 262–a number Republicans only topped once with their 267 seats elected in 1928 on the coattails of President Herbert C. Hoover.
On the Democratic side, there are Democratic incumbents close to rejoining private life, such at Rep. J. Bradley Ashford, who represents Nebraska’s Second Congressional District.
The Democratic nominee for president Hillary R. Clinton got massive media coverage for her Aug. 1 rally in Omaha with the Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett because Nebraska allows each of its three congressional districts to vote separately in the Electoral College. President Barack Obama won Nebraska-2 in 2008, but lost it in 2012 to Mitt Romney.
In the 2016 cycle, Clinton is making a hard play for Nebraska-2, but the district’s congressman, Ashford, was a no-show for the Aug. 1 rally.
The GOP insider told Breitbart News it is now a Republican-leaning district, but it is a toss-up. “We like our candidate there, Don Bacon, a former general, who has a good background for the district.” Bacon retired from the Air Force with as a one-star general.
California Democrat Rep. Ami Bera is another one in trouble, but not because of any effort by the Republicans. “His father is on his way to jail for campaign finance violations,” the source said.
Another race Republicans are looking at is Phil Oliva running against Rep. Sean P. Maloney, the Democrat, who was a senior aide to President William J. “Bill” Clinton and later a senior aide to Democratic New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who resigned during a prostitute scandal–but was also being investigated for using state troopers to spy on political rivals.
Maloney was one of the Democrats gumming up the works for House Republicans, when he broke the protocol against putting a policy rider on an appropriations bill. In his case, Maloney filed an amendment that would have made it illegal for the federal government to do business with an individual or organization that discriminated against transgenders. On one vote, 43 Republicans joined Democrats, including Rep. Greg Walden (R.-Ore.), to pass the amendment. Walden is also the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm for House Republicans.
While Maloney was making headlines on Capitol Hill, Democrats working for his campaign got tripped up when a “tracker,” an individual trained by the Democrats’ own Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and paid by the New York State Party to stalk Maloney’s opponent Phil Oliva crossed the line. The tracker, who is also an underwear model in Manhattan, posed as a potential customer to Oliva’s wife online and was seen looking in the family’s windows.
Oliva is not considered a top-tier candidate yet, but Republican operatives based in Washington have met with his campaign and are watching to see if it gets close, the insider said.
For the GOP to take down Maloney and retake New York-18, long a Republican stronghold, would be a huge victory in that blue state of New York.
The source said there was an even stronger chance for a blue state pickup in Maryland-6. The district is held by Democrat Rep. John K. Delaney, whose district is one of the most extremely contorted gerrymandered districts in the country. “It goes from the Western Panhandle all the way east into Montgomery County.”
Most observers see Delaney as a lock, but Republicans think Amie Hoeber, who worked in the President Ronald Reagan Pentagon, can make a race of it. “We think that is going to be a surprise,” said the source.