Pelosi Predicts Minimum Pickup of 14 Seats

Posted October 17, 2008 at 3:22pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) struck a cautious note when asked by PBS’s Charlie Rose on Thursday how many seats she thinks House Democrats will pick up in next month’s elections.

In an interview Thursday on Rose’s talk show, Pelosi said her hope is that House Democrats can increase their seats from 236 to 250. She said the Democrats could pick up more seats if they had more money to spend on the final week of the campaign, and party operatives have been working to make that happen. On Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee secured a $15 million loan for a final spending push before Election Day.

The Democrats currently hold 235 seats to the Republicans’ 199; there is one vacancy in a district that is all but certain to go Democratic in a November special election.

“I don’t have any doubt we could get 14 more seats,” Pelosi said. “The question is do we hold all the other seats?”

The Speaker’s talk of a 14-seat pickup is fairly conservative; most independent political analysts believe that under the current political environment, House Democrats will come close to matching their 30-seat pickup of 2006.

Pelosi said she knows the House “down to the last blade of grass roots in every district” and speculated that Democrats could win many more races “if I had endless money. But I budgeted for a certain amount. We’re right on target for that. And, you know, say, for example, if it would be a net of 250, I can afford that.”

Asked if she could get more than 250 seats with more money, Pelosi replied,

“Oh, yes, definitely. … But again, I don’t want to dilute the spending I have by going into more races.”

With an extra $15 million at their disposal, House Democrats may not have to dilute their spending after all.