The Washington Times - January 10, 2014, 09:33AM

A top political handicapper predicted Friday that if the 2014 election were held today, then Republicans would be poised to defend their majority in the House and pick up seats thanks in part to the historical makeup of the people who turn out for midterm elections.

David Wasserman, the House editor at The Cook Political Report, said the electorate in midterms tends to be older, whiter and wealthier — giving the GOP the upper hand heading into the November election.

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“We are looking at probably a Republican gain in the House in the single digits somewhere if the election where held today,” Mr. Wasserman said at a forum hosted by Center Forward, which used to be the Blue Dog Research Forum.

Mr. Wasserman said that 45 of the 435 House races will be competitive in the general election — 24 of which are held by Democrats and 21 of which are held by Republicans.

He said Democrats must pick up 17 seats to takeover the lower chamber and that number is more likely to be 19 because “there is no real realistic chance” that they will hold onto the seats of Reps. Mike McIntyre in North Carolina and Jim Matheson in Utah — both of whom represent conservative congressional districts and are not seeking re-election.

“If you look at the map and add it all up, Democrats would need to win 43 of those 45 races that we currently see as competitive in order to take back the House,” Mr. Wasserman said. “That is something that we never really seen before. In fact, the likelihood is that Republicans will make a small net gain in the House in 2014.”