Dems Eyeing Big Gains in 2018

The 2018 midterm election is still 18 months away, but Democrats are already having dreams of grandeur.  With President Trump's popularity numbers still hovering well below 50 percent in national polls thanks to the daily drumbeat of "Russia collusion" coverage and even impeachment talk, Dems now believe they can ride Trump-bashing all the way to taking back the House next year. 

In order to gain control of the House, Democrats need to pick up 24 seats next year, and they are already targeting 23 districts held by Republicans but won by Hillary Clinton last year.  One of those districts is right here in Houston, held by nine-term incumbent John Culberson.  "She won that district in 2016, and so it is absolutely one of the target districts of the Democratic Party nationally," says Gerry Birnberg, former chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party.  Despite Trump's victory and Republicans' continued dominance statewide in Texas last year, Lone Star State Democrats found reasons for long-term optimism, especially in Harris County.

In addition to the Trump factor, Birnberg believes a federal court that’s hearing a case over Texas redistricting may also give a boost to the Dems.  "It is almost certain that that court will redistrict Texas in such a way that we will get at least an additional three Democratic seats from Congress in Texas before the 2018 election," he says.

However, many Republican leaders aren't so convinced that Democrats are ready to turn Texas blue again.  Dwayne Wright, chairman of the San Jacinto County GOP, says Dems will have to get crafty to pick up seats here.  "The Democrats often try to challenge within the Republican primary, because trying to get a majority in a really red or conservative area is not logistically gonna happen," he tells KTRH.

As for taking back the House in 2018, Wright thinks Democrats are getting way too optimistic about that as well.  "I believe that's just an extension of their delusion and the fog after the Clinton debacle with the Presidential election," he says.

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