While congressional races are stealing the headlines heading into Tuesday’s midterm election, a veteran Statehouse observer says key races at the state level could have an even larger impact on Indiana. Network Indiana/WIBC Statehouse Bureau Chief Eric Berman says the battles for seats in Washington D.C. could serve as bellwethers for the rest of the country, but the races with "the most realistic impact on Indiana" will be in the Indiana House. Republicans have held a super-majority in the House for the last six years, an advantage Berman believes could be in jeopardy.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Berman discussed some of the more interesting races being decided by Hoosiers. The House Democrats, Berman says, believe they have a chance to pick up a net of four seats, which would break the supermajority. "The Democrats have some targets," he said. "What makes this interesting is the Republicans have some targets, too, and maybe better ones." He says one seat with a Republican incumbent was won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. "A bunch" of seats held by Democratic incumbents, he adds, are in play in areas where Donald Trump won in 2016, including House Minority Leader Terry Goodin (D-66).
At the national level, Berman says Congressional races will be the ones to watch. "I don’t think there’s a full appreciation of just how dramatic a wave could be," he said. "All Indiana’s congressman from both parties won by huge margins two years ago. The smallest margin was Trey Hollingsworth (R-9) — he won by 14 points. That’s a big margin." Berman looked up "massive waves" from the past, including 1974 after Watergate and 2010 after Obamacare passed, and said no district would be safe if similar waves are mobilized this time around. "The question is: do you get a wave like that? And there’s no really no good way to tell whether the wave is going to be that high. It’s one thing to say the Democrats are going to have a good year. It’s another thing to say it’s going to be of historic proportions as 2010 was."