Senate and House Control Could Be Decided by Just a Few Races

Senate and House Control Could Be Decided by Just a Few Races

Four weeks from now, voters will select 35 senators and all 435 members of the House. But while the House is unlikely to see the dramatic 40- or 63-seat swings of the last two midterm elections of a president’s first term, just the slightest shift in either chamber would have a major impact on the next two years.

  • It takes 218 seats to win the House. Democrats currently hold 220 seats and Republicans 212, with three vacancies.
  • The Senate is evenly split, 50-50. In case of a divided Senate, the party that holds the White House gets the majority because the vice president is the official president of the Senate, who breaks the tie.

Midterm elections tend to go against the party of the incumbent president, and Republicans had anticipated big gains. But there are fewer competitive districts this year following redistricting, and the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling this year has galvanized Democrats.

Still, FiveThirtyEight — a website that uses polling and data models to project results — gives Republicans a 69% chance of winning control of the House. Its models expect anything from a 242-193 Republican House to a 226-209 Democratic one.

In the Senate, Democrats are favored two-to-one to maintain control. There, a GOP gain of just one seat would put the party in charge. The elections in Georgia and Nevada, both held by Democrats, are most likely to determine control — though the data suggest anything from a 54-46 Democratic Senate to a 53-47 Republican one is possible.

And it’s also possible we won’t know Senate control until a month after the election. Georgia requires a clear majority of 50% to avoid a runoff, and in 2020, third-party candidates forced a December runoff that ultimately got Democrats to 50 seats. It’s possible that could happen again in the very tight race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Follow No Labels on Facebook to keep up with our updates on these crucial elections.