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House Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win back the majority

Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, pointed to "record-breaking" fundraising

CNN  — 

A top House Democratic leader predicted Wednesday his party would regain control of the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections, but said now is not the time for members of his party to push impeachment.

“I think we are going to win the House back in 2018,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second ranking Democratic leader in the House, told a group of reporters in his Capitol Hill office. “There is a strong momentum, a lot of grassroots energy.”

As more House Democrats publicly came out in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump this week, Hoyer said reversing the 2016 election result shouldn’t be a focus for his party now.

“That should not be overturned except for the most egregious and demonstrable facts and both Leader Pelosi and I believe it is not timely to address that issue given what is in front of us.”

Hoyer also broke with those progressive groups who want litmus tests for candidates on issues like abortion and single-payer health care proposals, saying he and Pelosi oppose that standard.

“The litmus test is whether you want to be for working people,” he said.

The Maryland Democrat pointed to “record breaking” fundraising by the House Democrats’ campaign committee this cycle, even though Republicans control both chambers of Congress. He said that another positive indication for his party was that three times as many Democrats have raised over $100,000 at this time in the election cycle as did in 2016.

“Democrats all over the country believe we can win,” Hoyer, who frequently travels and fundraises for candidates, asserted, putting the number of districts in play at 91. House Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win back the majority.

After Democrats won statewide and local contests in Virginia last week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said “the door is certainly open for us” in terms of regaining the majority next fall. She pointed out that Trump’s approval rating, now around 38%, is the same as then-President George W. Bush’s favorability rating prior to the 2006 midterms.

Hoyer also noted Wednesday that Trump’s approval rating with voters is a factor in the current political landscape: “We believe that independents are much more inclined in this election to vote for the Democratic alternative because of their disappointment with Trump, to that extent I think Trump will play a role.”

But he emphasized that congressional Democrats and challengers are training their message on economic issues and explaining what their policy proposals would do for voters.

Jesse Hunt, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, mocked the latest midterm prediction in a written statement to CNN: “Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are two of the worst political prognosticators in America. They’ve made this same claim for the last three cycles only to fail and have members of their own party call for their ouster from House Democratic leadership.”