- - Thursday, October 30, 2014

The debates are done. The arguments have all been made. The closing ads have all been shot. So let’s skip the philosophical debates for one week and just talk about on who’s going to win next Tuesday.

This has been a weird midterm campaign to my mind. By all rights, given the strength of the Republican candidates and the unpopularity of the president, we should be looking at a big sweep for the GOP, a wave election like we saw in 2010. But going into the last weekend of the campaign, there are still a lot of unknowns out there, a lot of races that the polls say are a lot closer than I would have thought.

I’ve spent a lot of time practicing and studying politics, but I have to confess here that my record as a prognosticator haven’t been that good. (I suspect a little conservative bias might be at work.) I tend to rely heavily on the analysis of my good friend Jim Ellis, who once consulted for the House Republicans and has managed a number of successful campaigns. In my experience, Jim calls ‘em right maybe 95 percent of the time — and even he’s skeptical about what might happen on Election Day.

Still, for all the ifs, ands and buts still out there, I don’t see how Tuesday can be anything other than a very good day for the Republicans. Let’s break it down by category:

Governors: The surprise for me is that a lot of very good and accomplished GOP incumbents find themselves it closer-than-expected contests, in states like Alaska, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Maine and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I don’t see Tom Corbett pulling out his race in Pennsylvania, but my prediction is that most of the incumbents in the end will have enough to hold on.

On the plus side, I think the GOP has a great chance to oust Democrats in some like likely states, including New Hampshire, Connecticut, Colorado and perhaps Illinois. The betting here is that Pennsylvania goes to the Democrat, the Republicans pick up two states (perhaps New Hampshire and Colorado) and the GOP nets a gain of one.


SEE ALSO: Brown, Hogan neck and neck heading into Maryland election


House of Representatives: Unlike some other parts of the ballot, there’s really not a whole lot going on here. The HouseGOP majority is safe, and there’s really only about 20 seats that look to have truly competitive races. GOP seats in Nebraska and Florida might flip, but Republicans have even more targets, in New England, Illinois, Florida, California and Arizona. The president and his unpopularity are even more of a drag here than in the Senate for Democrats — voters tend to know their House member better and it’s harder for vulnerable Democrats to separate themselves from the president.

My best guess: Republicans pick up a net six seats and expand their majority.

Senate: This has (rightly) been where most of the focus has been and where there’s the most uncertainty. Jim’s seeing a net gain of seven seats for the Republicans (enough to get control of the Senate away from Harry Reid), but I’m going to push it and predict a gain of nine. When the new Congress is seated next year, there will be 54 senators in the new Republican majority.

The GOP has already locked up Democratic-held Senate seats in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota, and I’m seeing Alaska and Arkansas as all but certainly in the Republican camp. The races are closer elsewhere, but I see all the momentum running against the Democrats in Louisiana, North Carolina and Iowa, which gets the net gain to eight. Beyond that, I’m betting that either Colorado or New Hampshire will go to the Republican candidate. The only caveat: The Democrats and President Obama proved themselves masters of the turnout game, and some of these Democratic incumbents will benefit from that. Especially in the close Senate races, that turnout advantage could be the difference at the margin.

So — I see it as a very good night for the Republicans, with the polls showing a level of voter unhappiness with the direction of the country comparable to the levels we saw in the GOP waves of 1994 and 2010.

And this is a campaign that could just keep giving: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 presidential hopes have not exactly been boosted by her shaky stump performances this year, topped by this little gem while campaigning in Massachusetts last week: “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

If Mrs. Clinton does run, the 2016 Republican commercials will just write themselves.

Tom DeLay, a former congressman from Texas and House majority leader from 2003 to 2005, writes a weekly column for The Washington Times and WashingtonTimes.com.

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