Rich Galen

Rothenberg believes there are an additional 45 seats that are in play either leaning R or D, but available for a good fight.

The current division in the House is 232 R to 200 D (with three vacancies). It takes 218 seats to gain the majority, so Nancy Pelosi's side would need a net gain of 18 seats.

Of the 52 seats, 24 are already in Democrat hands leaving 38 available to the Ds for a pick up.

In order to take control of the House the Ds would have to wind 18 of those 32 - and not lose any of the contested leaning D seats.

Not a likely outcome in a year when President Obama is (a) not on the ballot and (b) is stuck in the low 40s in job approval.

These numbers will change as we go through the process, but the theory will hold - something very dramatic will have to happen for Republicans to lose control of the House.

Over in the Senate 36 seats will be contested (due to specials and vacancies) and Republicans have to pick up six to take control as they the current standings are 55 Democrats (and independents), 45 Republicans.

The University of Virginia's Dr. Larry Sabato has Democrats leading (or not up for election) in 48 states, Republicans in 49 with three: Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina listed as toss-ups.

It is likely, therefore, that attention of the national political reporting bar will be closely focused on a very few Senate races and so will the attention of the White House.

The prospect of President Obama having to face a Republican controlled House and Senate for the last two years of his Administration is probably more than he can contemplate.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at