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2020 House of Representatives Could Flip the Election?

House of Reps.Chase Martaus
00:00 / 06:06

Graphic by Taylor Dunn

by Forest Redd

Oct. 24, 2020


With the upcoming election approaching, millions of citizens around the nation are casting ballots for their preferred Presidential candidate. What many voters don’t pay attention to heading into their voting process are the other categories such as the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and governors  they also have to vote for.

Aside from the ‘top dog’ presidential candidates, there is much more at stake in this year’s presidential election. Political figures like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris are household names themselves, bringing in a wave of supporters.

Though we are fond of their agendas and aims for our country, we don’t understand how critical their positions are and the effects they have on a plethora of matters. For instance, if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win, who’s going to fill Senator Harris’s seat in the Senate?

John Lewis passed away and represented district 5 of

Georgia. His passing may have a big influence in the House for the Democratic party.

Georgia Southern Political Science Professor Joshua Kennedy has been following the election and understands the election process. Regarding the usual outcome of votes swaying in the House race:

“The thing about presidential elections, compared to like house elections, is the relationship is likely to run in the direction of the presidential election influencing house races more than house races influencing the presidential election.”

In past elections, voters have had a tendency of voting for whoever’s in the same party as their presidential candidate.

Roxanne Cortner looks at how the Senate and HOR could change the upcoming election

Graphic by Taylor Dunn

An approach, in political terms, that is known as the coattail effect.


According to the coined term’s definition on Dictionary, the Coattail Effect is defined as: 

The tendency for a popular political party leader to attract votes for other candidates of the same party in an election.


“The coattail effect goes away in the midterm, the President name is no longer on the ballot. So, you don’t have all those voters showing up who voted for the President party in the last election,” Kennedy continued to say. “Usually the side that has lost is more motivated to get out and push back against the administration.”

Out of 435 seats in the house, there are only about 50 seats that will be competitive as the others are pretty much secured. Most of those will be spread throughout the states, no particular region. 


Political Science and International Studies Professor Lara Wessel mentioned the term ‘down-ballot’, which is similar to the coattail effect. She gave an example of how the ‘down ballot’ process could work by saying, “When it’s a Presidential Election year, the fates of the house of representatives are tied to the presidential election.”


With both presidential candidates battling for the lead, there could be a potential split in which the House and Senate determine who wins. In a rare case scenario, there could possibly be a representative from both parties. 


“I would almost guarantee that this election will end up in front of the supreme court to decide what’s going to happen next,” Wessel on the strange potential voting outcomes. “This is not typical, I’ve been studying this stuff for thirty years. This is not typical.”

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