Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said on Monday that Republicans had a one-in-three chance of losing control of the House in November, a surprisingly downbeat assessment from a Republican leader who until now has expressed no fears of losing the gavel.
In an interview with Fox News, to be shown on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner delivered what aides called a wake-up call to his troops.
”I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there’s a one-in-three chance that we could lose, and I’m being myself, frank,” he said in an interview first posted online by the newspaper The Hill. ”We’ve got a big challenge, and we’ve got work to do.”
Mr. Boehner pointed to what aides called ”orphan districts” in Democratic-leaning states that would not be a factor in the presidential campaign. Local Republican Party affiliates are less organized in such states and turnout may be depressed.
”We have 50 of our members in tough races, 89 freshmen running for their first re-elections, and we have 32 districts that are in states where there is no presidential campaign going to be run, no big Senate race,” he said. ”You take 18 of them, California, Illinois and New York, where you know we’re not likely to do well at the top of the ticket, and those districts are frankly pretty vulnerable.”
House political analysts also have looked at such states, but redistricting in California – run by an independent commission – has been as tough on Democrats as it has been on Republicans. Illinois and New York could be a problem for Mr. Boehner’s party, but Republican-run redistricting in North Carolina and Indiana would appear to counter those Democratic gains.
But Democrats have become bolder on their predictions. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week found that voters favored a Democratic-controlled Congress over a Republican one 46 percent to 41 percent, a spread that has not changed much all year.
”We’ve got a real challenge,” Mr. Boehner said.
This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.