Rod Blum

Blum Mocks Democrats Over Russian Hacking
Democratic group says it takes one to know one

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, joked Democrats couldn’t “hack” the cold weather in Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, mocked Democrats over the Russian hacking scandal with a joke about the Democratic National Committee on his Facebook page.

Blum posted a photo on his Sunday saying, “Walked to work past DNC HQ this afternoon. Nobody there — I guess they couldn't ‘hack’ this cold weather!”

Did Down-Ballot Democrats Rely Too Heavily on Trump?
Party only cut historic House deficit by 6 seats

Democrats were unsuccessful in their attempts to tie Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen to Donald Trump. The congressman ended up coasting to re-election by 14 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats never thought they were in for a great night on Tuesday, but their scant gains are inspiring new questions about how the party wins congressional elections after several cycles of disappointment.

Front and center, of course, is Donald Trump. How they missed the signs of Trump’s surprise victory will be a bigger question for the entire Democratic Party (and Republicans and the media alike) for months to come. 

Blum Wins Iowa's 1st District House Seat
Vulnerable Republican holds district Democrats hoped to win

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa., one of the most vulnerable incumbents, won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Incumbent Republican Rep. Rod Blum is leading against Democratic challenger Monica Vernon in Iowa’s 1st District, the Associated Press projects.

Blum led Vernon 54 percent to 46 percent with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

Even with Trump, Democratic House Gains Look Smaller Than First Expected
Republican candidates have proved surprisingly resilient to Trump

Democrat Monica Vernon is challenging vulnerable GOP Rep. Rod Blum, but his 1st District Iowa seat has proven harder to put away than Democrats initially expected. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Picking up 30 House seats didn’t always seem such an impossible feat. But even with Donald Trump dragging down some Republicans, Democrats will be lucky to gain half as many seats as they would need to win the majority.

So how did a year of bright prospects turn into one of Democratic leaders managing expectations?

How Many House Seats Will Democrats Pick Up? Watch These Districts
Certain district types may provide early clues

Democrats need to knock off Republicans who sit in seats President Barack Obama won, like Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, center, and Frank Guinta, R-N.H., right. Defeating Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., would suggest more of a wave. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Not all districts are created equal. They all count the same when adding for a majority, but victories in one type of district may portend a much better night for Democrats than in others. With just four days to go until Election Day, Democrats almost surely won’t gain the 30 seats needed for a House majority on Tuesday. But they will make some gains. Here’s where to watch for early clues as to just how big or small Democratic gains will be.

To achieve double-digit gains, Democrats must win the known battlegrounds. These are the districts that always were going to be competitive, and where presidential year turnout usually gives Democrats an advantage. At the very least, Democrats need to win the districts that President Barack Obama carried — places like Illinois’ 10th District, Nevada’s 4th and 3rd Districts, Maine’s 2nd District, Florida’s 26th District, (which is now even more Democratic), Iowa’s 1st District and New York’s 19th District. If they’re not able to win these seats, Democratic gains in the House will likely be very minimal.  

Clinton Super PAC Steps Into Iowa House Race
In first House ad, Priorities USA ties Rod Blum to Donald Trump

The super PAC aligned with Hillary Clinton is entering a House race for the first time, targeting Iowa Rep. Rod Blum. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For much of this year, Iowa 1st District Rep. Rod Blum was at the top of Roll Call’s list of the most vulnerable House incumbents. Until earlier this month, when he wasn’t

Now the super PAC aligned with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is setting its sights on the Republican freshman in its first foray into a House race, The Washington Post’s Paul Kane first reported Wednesday morning. 

Ratings Change: 5 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
But Democrats are still waiting for wave required to win majority

The good news for Republicans is that the bottom hasn’t fallen out from underneath their down-ballot candidates. The bad news is that there are still nearly three weeks left before Election Day, and 24 hours in each day for Donald Trump to torpedo the party’s chances of holding the House.

District-level polling after the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video and the second debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton showed some vulnerability for Republicans, particularly in suburban districts. But we didn’t see a widespread cratering of GOP candidates in the competitive districts or evidence that the number of competitive seats is increasing dramatically.

GOP Super PAC Doubles Its 2014 Spending
CLF and AAN roll out $4 million in new spending in five districts

The Congressional Leadership Fund is rolling out new spending in Kansas’ 3rd District to protect Rep. Kevin Yoder. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The largest outside conservative spenders on House races are rolling out nearly $4 million in new spending in five congressional districts.

The new spending, shared first with Roll Call, brings the total spending for the Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC tied to House Republican leadership, and its sister nonprofit advocacy organization, American Action Network, to twice what the two groups spent in 2014 combined. 

The House: 10 Most Vulnerable
List includes two new Republican faces

Florida Rep. John L. Mica, center, makes Roll Call's 10 most vulnerable House members list for the first time this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the past few days have shown, a lot can change in a weekend, and certainly, in a month.

The last ranking of the top 10 most vulnerable House incumbents came out just after Labor Day, when polls showed a tightening presidential race.

GOP Poll: Rod Blum Leads Monica Vernon in Iowa
Blum has been one of this year's most vulnerable incumbents

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, right, holds a double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger, according to a new internal poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Internal polling from Rep. Rod Blum's campaign showed the Iowa Republican leading his Democratic challenger Monica Vernon 52 percent to 36 percent among registered voters in the Hawkeye State's 1st District. 

Blum's 16-point edge represents an increase from an internal poll from August that showed him ahead 50 to 43 percent.