About a week after the Republican midterm romp, nearly 20 soon-to-be House GOP freshmen huddled for a private lunch on the third floor of the Capitol Hill Club. The mood was jubilant: Each had prevailed in a swing district, exploiting deep unhappiness with President Barack Obama and angst over the country’s future.
But as they dug into platters of lasagna, salad and chicken, the newbies were given some sobering news. GOP officials explained that they would be among Democrats’ top 2016 targets — when they’d be up against a more diverse electorate — and they needed to start preparing now.
“The message,” said one aide who was in the room, “was, ‘Don’t bask in the glow of victory.’”
When the new Congress takes the oath in January, Republicans could occupy as many as 247 seats, giving them their most dominant House majority in over 80 years. But it will also usher in an expanded group of Republicans from Democratic-friendly districts, a shift, GOP operatives say, that will reorder the politics of the chamber.