2024 House Overview: Waiting to Engage
By Nathan L. Gonzales, Jacob Rubashkin, and Erin Covey
What is everyone waiting for? Republicans are clinging to a narrow House majority and a quarter of the 2024 election cycle has already passed, and yet potential candidates in districts around the country are waiting on the sidelines.
“There’s total instability at the top,” according to one party strategist, referring to the presidential race. Even though there are clear frontrunners in both the Democratic and Republican races, a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump offers some unappealing uncertainty to potential candidates.
From Biden’s age and mediocre job rating to Trump’s mounting legal problems and general ability to turn off independent voters, it’s not an appealing political environment for candidates who are weighing if or when to put their lives and jobs on hold for a congressional run. And smart, aspiring politicians know the presidential race will significantly affect how voters will cast their ballot for the House.
In 2020, only 16 districts voted for a president from one party and a House member from another. And just 23 of 435 seats voted for one party’s presidential nominee in 2020 and then the other party’s House nominee in 2022. So it’s possible for House candidates to do everything in their power correctly and still lose because of a drag from the top of the ticket.
Democrats need a net gain of five seats for a majority. But that number understates the added…