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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Calculating the Net GOP Gain in the House

Q: Everyone is saying that the GOP picked up 63 House seats on November 2. But since going into the election they had 178 seats, and now they have 242, shouldn't the total be 64 seats? I know Mark Souder's seat was vacant, as was the New York seat of Eric Massa. Please don't say that, well, we just ascribe the Souder and [vacant upstate New York Democratic] Eric Massa seats to the parties that held them prior to their respective resignations. When someone resigns (or dies or is expelled), his party automatically loses that seat that day. — David Ray, Annandale, Va.

A: Your math is correct: 242 minus 178 is indeed 64. But, as you guessed, they don't count Souder's (R-Ind. 03) open seat as a GOP pickup because it was theirs to begin with, even if it was vacant. I have not seen anyone else making the case that Republicans should be credited with a gain in the Indiana seat.