Pelosi Tells Democratic Allies Party Will Make Big Gains in Midterms

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi predicted sweeping Democratic gains in the midterm elections at a private meeting with political allies in Washington on Tuesday, but warned that President Trump might attempt to brand the election as “rigged” if the ultimate result was close, according to three people present for her remarks.

A California Democrat who is seeking to reclaim the House speakership, Ms. Pelosi briefed a luncheon of several dozen Democratic donors and political strategists, delivering a detailed forecast for the election that conveyed confidence Democrats would soon take the House majority.

She was joined by a collection of senior Democrats, including Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor, and Representative Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Going state by state over the political map, Ms. Pelosi said she expected Democrats to capture three or four Republican-held seats in Pennsylvania, between two and four in New Jersey and up to three in Illinois, people who attended the event said, speaking anonymously to discuss a private conversation. In several smaller states, Ms. Pelosi predicted a Democratic sweep of the most competitive congressional races, including gains of two seats each in Iowa and Kansas, and one seat in New Mexico.

[Read more about Nancy Pelosi on the campaign trail]

Still, Ms. Pelosi urged Democrats not to take victory for granted even over the final hours of the campaign, and cautioned that they should not be surprised if Mr. Trump attempts to question the legitimacy of the election. She noted that Democrats have deployed hundreds of lawyers around the country to address any issues of election integrity.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly made baseless claims of voter fraud in the past, including in the aftermath of his own 2016 victory.

Looking past an anticipated victory, Ms. Pelosi said a Democratic majority in the House would swiftly tackle issues of government ethics, infrastructure spending and health care.

Impeachment, she said, was not on the agenda.

Ms. Pelosi was not alone in her buoyant mood. Mr. McAuliffe, who with Ms. Pelosi has been raising millions of dollars to attack Republican-drawn congressional maps in state elections, said he expected the party to gain 40 seats in the House, including at least three in his home state.

And Representative Henry Cuellar, who briefed the crowd on his native Texas, offered a prediction that thrilled the room: Representative Beto O’Rourke would defeat Senator Ted Cruz.

Recalling a campaign swing he made with Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. Cuellar said he had never seen anything quite like the crowd that gathered for the insurgent Senate candidate.

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