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Republican hopes of winning a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives depend on President Donald Trump getting votes like he did in 2016, according to Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee.

“If the president performs at or near 2016 levels, we have a way back to the majority,” Emmer told reporters on a Zoom call on Wednesday.

As chairman of the NRCC, the campaign arm of the House Republicans, Emmer talked confidently about fundraising and Republican candidates across the nation. “We haven’t given up on any of them,” he said.

But while the GOP leader talked about a narrow path to a majority, national polling suggests Democrats will likely keep or increase their majority in the House.

FiveThirtyEight, an influential election forecasting website, gives Democrats overwhelming odds of maintaining control of the House.

The Cook Political Report says Democrats likely to win 191 seats and are leaning toward winning another 37, a total of 228 seats in the 435-person chamber.

Emmer is expected to easily win a fourth term representing the Minnesota Sixth Congressional District that wraps around the Twin Cities metro area from the northeast to the west.

One of the GOP’s best pickup opportunities, according to most researchers, is the Seventh Congressional District in western Minnesota, where conservative Democrat Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, faces a strong challenge from former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fisch­bach in a district that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

Republicans also have their sights set on the Second Congressional District south of the Twin Cities, a swing district represented by freshman Democrat Angie Craig. She faces a spirited challenge from first-time candidate Tyler Kistner.

However Republicans are playing defense in the First Congressional District in Minnesota, where freshman Republican Jim Hagedorn faces a tight rematch with Democrat Dan Feehan, whom he narrowly defeated in 2018.

Jim Spencer • 202-662-7432