Gonzales

Fight for the House Centers on Five States

More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is tasked with leading House Democrats back to the majority, including picking up handfuls of seats in a few key states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

More than one-third of the targeted House races sit in five states: California, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania.

After Democrats expanded their majority in the 2008 elections, they held a 90-51 majority in districts in those five states. After the 2016 elections, the Democratic advantage in those states has slipped from 39 seats to 17 seats (78 Democrats to 61 Republicans).

Democrats can’t cherry-pick their way to a 24-seat gain to retake the majority in 2016. Since the electoral landscape has shifted, a new Democratic majority doesn’t need to look exactly the same, geographically. But the party still needs pick up handfuls in at least a few states.

Even though Democrats have targeted eight districts in California, the party controls five more seats here (39-34) than it had in 2009. Two of the biggest problem states for Democrats are New York (where Democrats have slipped from 26 seats to 18 seats in the last eight years) and Pennsylvania (where they’ve gone from 12 seats to five seats).

Of course, it’s early in the cycle. Most of the races lack a challenger and it’s far from clear what the national political climate will be like come election time. But the initial target lists are an indication of where party strategists will be focusing their early efforts.

California (11 targeted districts)

  • 7th District — Democratic Rep. Ami Bera re-elected with 51 percent in 2016.
  • 10th District — Republican Rep. Jeff Denham re-elected with 52 percent in 2016.
  • 21st District — Republican Rep. David Valadao re-elected with 57 percent in 2016.
  • 24th District — Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal elected with 53 percent in 2016.
  • 25th District — Republican Rep. Steve Knight re-elected with 53 percent in 2016.
  • 36th District — Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz re-elected with 62 percent in 2016.
  • 39th District — Republican Rep. Ed Royce re-elected with 57 percent in 2016.
  • 45th District — Republican Rep. Mimi Walters re-elected with 59 percent in 2016.
  • 48th District — Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher re-elected with 58 percent in 2016.
  • 49th District — Republican Rep. Darrell Issa re-elected with 50 percent in 2016.
  • 52nd District — Democratic Rep. Scott Peters re-elected with 57 percent in 2016.

Florida (6 targeted districts)

  • 7th District — Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy elected with 52 percent in 2016.
  • 13th District — Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist elected with 52 percent in 2016.
  • 18th District — Republican Rep. Brian Mast elected with 54 percent in 2016.
  • 25th District — Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart re-elected with 62 percent in 2016.
  • 26th District — Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo re-elected with 53 percent in 2016.
  • 27th District — Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen re-elected with 55 percent in 2016.

Michigan (5 targeted districts)

  • 5th District — Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee re-elected with 61 percent in 2016.
  • 7th District — Republican Rep. Tim Walberg re-elected with 55 percent in 2016.
  • 8th District — Republican Rep. Mike Bishop re-elected with 56 percent in 2016.
  • 9th District — Democratic Rep. Sander M. Levin re-elected with 58 percent in 2016.
  • 11th District — Republican Rep. Dave Trott re-elected with 53 percent in 2016.

New York (8 targeted districts)

  • 1st District — Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin re-elected with 59 percent in 2016.
  • 3rd District — Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi elected with 53 percent in 2016.
  • 11th District — Republican Rep. Dan Donovan re-elected with 62 percent in 2016.
  • 18th District — Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney re-elected with 56 percent in 2016.
  • 19th District — Republican Rep. John J. Faso elected with 54 percent in 2016.
  • 22nd District — Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney elected with 47 percent in 2016.
  • 24th District — Republican Rep. John Katko re-elected with 61 percent in 2016.
  • 27th District — Republican Rep. Chris Collins re-elected with 67 percent in 2016.

Pennsylvania (5 targeted districts)

  • 6th District — Republican Rep. Ryan A. Costello re-elected with 57 percent in 2016.
  • 7th District — Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan re-elected with 59 percent in 2016.
  • 8th District — Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick elected with 54 percent in 2016.
  • 16th District — Republican Rep. Lloyd K. Smucker elected with 54 percent in 2016.
  • 17th District — Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright re-elected with 54 percent in 2016.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales will release baseline ratings for each district at the end of the month. 

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