Democratic Party May Be Set for Major Resurgence

Albany, NY – This election year may mark the beginning of a Democratic Party resurgence, according to David Hawkings, the managing editor of Congressional Quarterly.

"I think that not even the most optimistic Republican would predict Republican gains in Congress this fall. It's universally agreed that the Democrats will expand their majorities in the House and the Senate," Hawkings said, speaking on WAMC's "Congressional Corner" program.

If Democrats claim up to eight new seats in the Senate, the Senate Democratic contingency would be "a whisper away from breaking filibusters," according to Hawkings.

The coattail effect of either John McCain or Barack Obama is not significant for Congressional races, according to Hawkings.

Congressional races and the presidential race "are disconnected in voters' minds," Hawkings said.

"The Congressional coattails that John McCain or Barack Obama have are pretty short, and they're only in a handful of districts. That has to due to the fact that most Congressional districts are drawn to elect one party or the other without too much competition," he added.

Hawkings went on to explain that out of 435 Congressional districts in the U.S. House, in 2004 there were only about 70 districts that elected a member of the opposite party from the winning presidential candidate.

A true Democratic Party resurgence is only assured if the party makes gains in 2010 Congressional elections, Hawkings added.