North Carolina Dampens GOP Hopes of Retaking the House

N.C. G.O.P. Regional Field Director Tricia O’Toole calls to survey constituents at the Republican Victory Center in Charlotte, North Carolina May 29, 2012 (John Adkisson/Reuters)

Late last week, four-term representative George Holding became the 20th Republican House member to announce he was retiring from Congress this cycle. Holding said he would not seek reelection for several reasons, but a big one was that state lawmakers redrew his Republican-leaning district to become much more Democratic. A three-judge panel that had objected to the previous lines signed off on the new district lines a week ago.

Right now, Republicans hold a 10-3 edge in the North Carolina delegation; with Holding’s district and Mark Walker’s Greensboro-area district now significantly more Democratic, that split could easily shift to 8-5, further complicating GOP efforts to win back the House.

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Today Republicans have 197 members of the House, with four seats currently vacant. The Republicans will probably get GOP replacements for Sean Duffy in Wisconsin’s seventh district and Chris Collins in New York’s 27th district. The other two open seats, created by the passing of Elijah Cummings and the resignation of Katie Hill, are much more Democratic-leaning. At some point “after the holidays,” Representative Duncan Hunter, who pled guilty to misusing campaign funds, will formally resign and leave an opening in the seat for California’s 50th Congressional district. When Election Day 2020 rolls around, the GOP will need to flip about 20 seats — and that’s not counting these two seats in North Carolina that now look much more challenging.

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