So as we stare down the barrel of some big Democratic losses in the House today, let's look at another end of the equation. It's often noted that Republicans need to pick up 39 seats to win a majority, but it is also theoretically possible that they could pick up 39 seats and still not win control. Why? Because there are in fact a very small handful of seats that they hold that the Democrats could nevertheless pickup in even this bad year.
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Keep in mind, these wave cycles often have a few seats that swing the other way. Even in 1994, Democrats picked up such seats as Maine-02 and Rhode Island-01. The 2006 midterm year was interesting, with Republican picking up nothing -- not one measly House seat -- but even in 2008 they won a couple seats back, such as Kansas-02 and Texas-22, even as they lost another net 21 seats.
So let's take a quick look at the Republican-held House seats that according to the leading ratings out there -- CQ, Cook Political Report, Rothenberg Political Report, and Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball --Â are expected to go to the Dems.
To be honest, there aren't that many of them -- though who knows, there could be some surprises tonight. The criteria here are that the ratings guys all have these seats ranging from toss-up to leaning Dem to Dem favored. It's a short list, but each one of them would move back the goalpost for a Republican House. Then again, if the national GOP wave turns out to be as big as everyone says, it won't be too much of an issue -- though it surely means something to the Dem candidates in these individual districts.