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What's At Stake: Overview | Governor | Senate | House | Ballot Measures | State Legislatures
What's At Stake: House
Can Democrats regain their majority in the U.S. House in 1998? The control of the House of Representatives is potentially the biggest political battleground in the 1998 election. Democrats need just 11 seats to take back control. The Republicans picked up 52 seats on election day in 1994, taking control of the House for the first time since 1954.
All 435 House seats are up. Republicans now control 228 seats to the Democrats' 206, with 1 Independent.
The party occupying the White House has increased its numbers in the House in a midterm election only once since the Civil War. That was in 1934 in the midst of the Depression.
In 1996, 96 members of Congress won with 53 percent of the vote or less. Of these, 48 were Republican-held seats and 48 were Democratic-held seats. Still, both parties acknowledge that an even smaller number of seats are in play this year: between 50 and 75 seats are considered to be very contested.
There are 33 open seats (17 D, 16 R). The number of open seats is lower in 1998 than it has been in the last several election cycles. The last three election cycles produced the largest number of retirements in the last 40 years: in 1996 there were 50 open seats, in 1994 there were 48 and in 1992 there were 65. Going into the 1996 election, the Republicans held 236 seats.
Stuart Rothenberg's Hot House Races