Predicted here Sept. 15 that Republicans...

FEARLESS THEO

November 07, 1994

FEARLESS THEO predicted here Sept. 15 that Republicans would gain "five or at most six" Senate seats and 21 House seats. That was the Early Line. Time for the Last Call.

Congressional Quarterly's final survey of races shows that of 225 Democratic incumbent representatives, 200 are ahead, 22 are in races too close to call, and three are losing. Of 157 Republican incumbents, none is behind and only three are in districts too close to call.

In the Senate, all 10 incumbent Republicans are favored to be re-elected. There are 16 Democrats running for re-election. CQ says five are vulnerable and four more are potentially so. But I'll be surprised if more than three get beat. Most likely: Harris Wofford in Pennsylvania, Charles Robb in Virginia and Jim Sasser in Tennessee.

My reading of CQ's survey leads me to guess that in incumbent races, Republicans will gain 13 seats net in the House and two or three in the Senate.

That brings us to the 52 non-incumbent House races, where the present lineup is 31-21 Democratic. Republicans are ahead in 26 of those districts (according to CQ); only 11 Democrats are.

If it stays that way, and if Republicans win 10 of the 15 open seats now too close to call, that party will gain a net of 28 seats in the House. Such a gain would give the Republicans 206 of the House's 435 seats. That would be the most since 1953-1954.

My final prediction is even higher. I am swayed by several polls showing a national preference for congressional Republicans for the first time in over 40 years. And I am also swayed by a list of "the 25 most vulnerable incumbents" by Roll Call ("The Newspaper of Capitol Hill"): 21 of them are Democrats, only four are Republicans.

I predict Republicans will win 210-212 seats, leaving the Democrats with 224-222 (there's one Socialist representative, who is expected to be re-elected).

As for the Senate open seats, there are nine. Six are now held by Democrats, in Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona and Tennessee (two seats up there this year, due to Al Gore's resignation last year). Three are Republican seats, in Minnesota, Missouri and Wyoming.

I think Republicans will win at least eight and could conceivably win all nine. That, with the ouster of the two or three incumbent Democrats mentioned above, would give the Republicans 51-53 senators, to the Democrats' 49-47.

What is going on here? There have been as many as 53 Republicans in the Senate in only six of the past 64 years. There have been as many as 212 Republicans in the House of Representatives in only four of the last 62 years.

I'll explain what is going here on after the ballots are counted. That's assuming my prediction today is pretty much right on the button.

And if it isn't?

Thursday: Savoring my own words. Or eating them.

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