Democrats are optimistic that a Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz nomination will expand the map in their favor. But because of how long the GOP nominating contest could take, and how early some congressional filing deadlines are, Democrats may need to take a leap of faith on candidates before they know whether the GOP nominee will put certain states in play.
"I’m telling potential candidates, 'There’s a chance that our party is going to win the lottery. ... It might be worth rolling the dice because it turns out the Democratic nominee in some of these states that are not competitive right now may be worth a lot,'" one Democratic consultant said.