House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), right, is interviewed by Bill Hemmer… (Richard Drew / Associated…)
House Speaker John A. Boehner has offered a candid assessment of the Republicans' chances of holding on to the House.
In an interview with Fox News Channel that aired Tuesday, the Ohio Republican put the GOP's odds of another term as the majority party at 2 in 3.
"But there's a 1-in-3 chance that we could lose," Boehner told the network's Bill Hemmer, adding that he was being his usual "frank" self. "We’ve got work to do."
Republicans hold a 242-190 advantage in the House of Representatives, with three additional seats vacant that were previously held by Democrats.
Democrats would need to win back more than two dozen seats to reclaim the majority, which they held from 2007 to 2011.
To explain his caution, Boehner quickly listed the kinds of statistics campaign strategists have at the ready: 89 members running for reelection for the first time, and 32 seats in states where the presidential race won't be a major factor.
"You take 18 of them [in] 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," he said.
Boehner may have had an ulterior motive to his candor: to warn his members to gird for a tough fight. A group that was elected in part because of a surge in tea party support will face a larger, more moderate electorate in the November vote, which coincides with the presidential election.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel nonetheless turned Boehner's handicapping into a fundraising solicitation. An email to Democratic supporters screams that Boehner "finally admitted it," and calls for financial support for the fall effort.
The DCCC on Tuesday also trumpeted its recruitment class to take on Republican incumbents, expanding the ranks of its "Majority Makers," "Red To Blue" and "Emerging Races" classifications.
"As long as Republicans have the wrong priorities for the middle class, they’re going to be unable to defend themselves against these top-tier Democratic candidates who have put control of the House in play," Israel, a New York Democrat, said in a news release.