The January 6th Committee is a nine-member panel, created by a Democratic-led House of Representatives in order to investigate the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol. Although it has two Republican panelists, Re. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the upcoming midterm elections are causing the House committee to race against a “political clock” in order to apprehend those who planned and participated in the Capitol Riots.
DOJ’s Jan. 6th probe appears to be widening, with Attorney General Merrick Garland facing pressure from the committee to hold “all January 6th perpetrators at any level, accountable under the law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”
Hinting at more behind-the-scenes actions at the Justice Department, many are still hesitant at the long stretches of silence from the nation’s chief law enforcement official. Even President Biden himself grew frustrated with Garland’s deliberateness, though in a statement to the press, refused to ask the Attorney General to quicken the Jan 6th probe proceedings. However, Garland has been outspoken in his belief that the DOJ should be more independent, not changing his approach to criminal prosecutions in order to placate his critics.
Created by a Democratic-controlled House, it is very likely that GOP leadership will disband the committee if they manage to win back the House after the midterm elections. When looking to see the likeliness of this outcome, it’s important to note the trends that follow the composition of Congress after the election of a president. Historically, the president’s party has lost an average of 30 seats in midterm elections over the last 100 years.
Given the political climate, with President Biden’s approval rating steadily decreasing to around 40% as well as a shocking uptick in retirement announcements by several Democratic incumbents, it seems that Republicans don’t truly have to worry about seat losses yet. Their opportunities to gain the five net seats they need to win a majority of the House come in the form of the competitive seats in the House. Though, the number of competitive seats in the House has shrunk, meaning that Republicans will be needing to reach further into Democratic territory to look to flip seats.
Encouraged by their gains with Hispanic voters in 2020, Republicans hope that trend continues this year, especially in places such as Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where several House seats are in play.
Democratic retirements have set up some more pickup opportunities, such as retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, both representatives often praised for their victories in previously Trump-voting districts.
However, Democrats are also eyeing potential pickup opportunities, especially in GOP-held seats that Biden won such as a handful of seats in New York and California.