It won’t be as big as they had hoped, but the chair of the House Republicans re-election committee insists that “we delivered on our goal” by winning back the chamber’s majority.
As results from the Nov. 8 midterm elections trickle in, National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Tom Emmer told reporters Wednesday that “House Republicans and the NRCC did accomplish our goal, which was retaking the majority and firing [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi.”
The Republican from Minnesota, who’s steering the House GOP’s re-election arm for the second straight cycle, noted, “Republicans are going to flip the House for the third time since 1954. Think about that. In the last 68 years, Republicans have only retaken the majority three times.”
While the Republicans lost control of the White House and the Senate in the 2020 election cycle, House Republicans defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ House majority. And they only need a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member House to win back control the chamber they lost in the 2018 midterms.
With Democrats facing historical headwinds – the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers major setbacks in the ensuing midterms – and a very rough political climate fueled by record inflation, soaring crime and a crisis at the nation’s southern border, all accentuated by President Biden’s rebounding but still underwater approval ratings and a GOP jump in the public opinion polls heading into the midterms, Republicans were riding a wave of optimism heading into the midterms.
But the red wave didn’t materialize, and while Republicans are expected to control the majority when all the House races are eventually called, it will likely be a fragile majority.
“For any of the naysayers, we are happy to point out this is now the second straight cycle that House Republicans have picked up seats,” Emmer said. “Our gains were powered by our diverse crop of candidates and that’s a huge win for our party.”
Asked if he was disappointed with the results, Emmer told Fox News “no one ever said this thing was going to be easy… all I could guarantee was that we were going to win the majority.”
Emmer said “at the end of the day, the bottom line is we flipped the House and we’re now going to be a check on Joe Biden and the Democrats’ one-party rule.”
And pointing to the expected GOP majority, he predicted: “I think we’ll expand it in two years.”
Democrats aren’t buying it.
“For two years, Republicans bragged about a GOP ‘red wave,’ but already the media and Republican members of Congress have conceded this election is far from it,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director Tim Persico said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but win or lose, our candidates, our members and our teams all have a lot to be proud of – they fought hard, even when everyone counted them out.”
Emmer, for the first time, publicly declared, “I’m running to be the whip in the majority.”
Emmer is one of three contenders for House majority whip in the next Congress, along with Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks of Indiana and Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson of Georgia. Banks on Wednesday sent a letter to colleagues asking for their support.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is the only known current candidate for House speaker and current Republican Whip Steve Scalise is the likely pick for House majority leader.