NRCC Chairman Walden said last week that the field of competitive House seats had fallen into the 40s from a much larger number in 2010.
In Illinois’ 13th District, a suburban and exurban seat, Republican Rodney Davis beat Democrat David Gill by only 1,002 votes. It was the closest House race in November with a Republican victor. Given its almost even split on the presidential level, Democrats have put it on the highlighted target list.
Sophomore Rep. Michael G. Grimm, who represents a New York district anchored in Staten Island, is seen by Democrats as particularly vulnerable. According to preliminary calculations, Grimm’s district went for Obama in 2012 with about 52 percent of the vote. And the issues Democrats raised about the congressman last cycle — allegations of ethical impropriety, which the congressman denied — will continue to be fodder for any campaign.
Both parties believe retirements are likely to be minimal on the heels of a redistricting cycle that produced a fair amount of turnover.
That early assessment, along with many others, is subject to change. The House landscape is generally much more fluid than the Senate — and is more susceptible to national political winds.
“Right now, projecting what’s going to happen is like betting everything you’ve got after you’ve been dealt one card and that card is facedown,” Bolger, the GOP pollster, said. “There’s just so much that is unpredictable.”