House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her party maintained a majority on Capitol Hill following November’s election, but only by the slimmest of margins.
Now, she is witnessing the Democratic Party’s already narrow majority continue to contract, as Fox News recently reported.
Democrats remain united — for now
Their 218-212 lead over Republicans in the House of Representatives is down from the 222-213 advantage Democrats had at the beginning of the current term.
Although Pelosi still technically has a majority, experts say it is the most tenuous advantage in the House of Representatives since the 1940s.
With the current congressional makeup, Democrats can only afford a small number of defections within the party on any measure if they hope to see it pass.
Nevertheless, Pelosi has been doing her best to keep House Democrats united — and she appears to be succeeding thus far. Democrats have already managed to pass several key pieces of legislation without much trouble and without any significant support from across the political aisle.
Those successes include the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which only two Democrats opposed when it was first introduced and just one voted against the second time it was up for consideration. Similarly, measures related to gun control and police reform have sailed through the chamber on the strength of Democratic members.
Trio of upcoming special elections
Still, the razor-thin majority continues to shrink due to a number of vacancies — most recently the seat vacated upon the death of 84-year-old Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). If Pelosi can hold her caucus together in the meantime, however, many of those vacant seats are expected to return to Democratic Party control.
Over the next two months, there are three special elections set to take place for U.S. House seats. One will be later this month in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which is a reliably blue district expected to once again go to the Democratic candidate.
Another will take place early next month in the 6th Congressional District of Texas. While the GOP is a slight favorite in this race, Democrats have a fighting chance of claiming the seat.
A third special election for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District is scheduled for early June and Democrats are the apparent favorites in that race.
Another special election — this one for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District — is scheduled for November, and the race to replace Hastings has yet to be announced. Even if Democrats happen to win each of these elections, they still have a slimmer majority than Pelosi would prefer as the GOP hope to regain control in next year’s midterms.