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Democrat group curbs ambition to flip state House

But Dem leaders insist it's still possible to seize control from GOP in November election

ATLANTA — Can Georgia Democrats win control of the state House of Representatives? Publicly, they say yes.  But behind the scenes, they may be looking ahead to 2022.  

Some longtime GOP representatives, like Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), are feeling the heat while trying to keep their seats in the face of some well organized Democratic opposition – in a year when Democrats are feeling more ambitious than they have since the GOP seized control of the House in the 2004 election.

"We have many opportunities here in Georgia: Two U.S Senate races, our 16 electoral college votes," Georgia Democratic Party chair Nikema Williams told 11Alive August 4.

"And we’re going to flip the state House of Representatives," she predicted.

RELATED: Nikema Williams' on her priorities if voted into Congress: Reform police power, voting rights act

In 2016, Republicans had 56 more House seats than Democrats did.  In 2018, Democrats cut that margin nearly in half.  Now Democrats would need to flip fifteen more seats to achieve a tie, sixteen for a majority.

But a Democratic-leaning fundraising site called Act Blue lists only 13 Democratic House challengers – two short of a tie -- in what it describes as an effort to “flip the House.” The site said “actually flipping either chamber is a pretty tall order,” and that they might have to “finish the job in 2022.” 

But a Georgia Democratic party spokeswoman, Maggie Chambers, said the party is still “confident that we can flip the state House this year” while pointing out that Act Blue is a site accessible to anybody who wants to raise money for Democratic candidates.

"Democrats will pick up seats. Will they get enough to flip the House? It’s going to be a close call," said former Democratic state Rep. Doug Teper, now a Georgia State University instructor. 

RELATED: Buoyed by primary, Georgia Democrats aim to flip House

When Republicans flipped the state senate nearly 18 years ago – they only won enough seats in the election to come close. 

But once they got that close, Democratic senators started getting nervous and making deals and switching parties -- and handed Republicans the majority. 

If the Democrats only come close this fall in the House, that bit of political history could repeat itself.

    

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