House Democrats name 32 members to Frontline program for reelection help

10 members in the program last year were defeated

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who flipped an open Georgia seat in November, is on the Frontline list of members who will get special help in 2022 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who flipped an open Georgia seat in November, is on the Frontline list of members who will get special help in 2022 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 1, 2021 at 3:00pm

House Democrats will be on the defensive this midterm cycle after narrowly holding on to their majority and losing many of their most vulnerable members in November. 

And they marked the terrain they’re going to work hardest to protect in that fight Monday by announcing the 32 incumbents who will receive extra resources and support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

The list of members added to the DCCC’s Frontline program, provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call, includes six whose districts voted for Donald Trump in November and 13 in seats that President Joe Biden carried by less than 5 points. Eighteen of the incumbents on the list won reelection by less than 5 points. 

“As we head into this midterm election, House Democrats are prepared to hold our Majority by showing the American people we are delivering for them in this pandemic,” DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney said in a statement. “Meanwhile, our opponents voted against stimulus checks for working families, and instead of coming up with solutions to help the middle-class, they’re busy defending the violent extremists in their party.”

Two members who were on the list in the 2020 cycle were dropped this time around. Jason Crow, in Colorado’s 6th District, won reelection last fall by 17 points while Biden was carrying his suburban Denver seat by 19 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. The margins were closer for Josh Gottheimer, in New Jersey’s 5th, but he finished the year with more than $8.3 million in the bank, plenty of money to start the next cycle in a strong position. 

The DCCC added four new members to the list: Freshman Carolyn Bourdeaux, whose 3-point win flipped Georgia’s 7th District; Peter A. DeFazio, who won an 18th term by 5 points in a district that Biden only carried by 4 points; Vicente Gonzalez, who won his 2018 race in Texas’ 15th District by over 20 points but squeaked through by less than 3 points last fall; and Ron Kind, who was a Republican target last cycle in a Wisconsin district that Trump won by 5 points. 

Net 11 seats lost last year

House Democrats lost a net of 11 seats in the 2020 election, with 13 of their incumbents defeated. Eleven of them were Frontline members. Democrats also lost an open Democratic seat and picked up three open GOP seats. No House Republican incumbent lost. 

Republicans are optimistic they can build on that performance in the coming months, aided by the historic advantage of the out-of-power party during a midterm cycle. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced its initial list of 47 Democratic targets last month. Democrats have yet to release their offensive targets, but the majority of the DCCC’s spending so far this cycle has focused on Republican-held districts that Biden won.

With results of the 2020 census delayed, it will be a while before a clear picture of the vulnerable House members emerges. Data showing how the 435 House seats would be apportioned among the 50 states, originally due on Dec. 31, is not expected until the end of April, and it will be several more months until states get detailed local data needed to redraw district boundaries. 

Campaigning begun on virus package

Monday’s announcement comes after House Democrats notched their first big win of the new Congress, passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package over solid Republican opposition. The Senate plans to pick up the legislation this week. 

The measure has already become central to campaign messaging on both sides of the aisle, with Republicans rolling out attacks against Democrats in competitive districts that seek to portray the package as laden with unnecessary spending that benefits special interest groups. 

Democrats, in turn, released videos attacking Republicans in 10 competitive districts Monday for voting against the measure. 

“With their vote against the Democrats’ plan to get badly needed stimulus checks to the American people, Washington Republicans are once again refusing to take this pandemic seriously,” Maloney said. “From denying the seriousness of the virus, to refusing to follow the public health recommendations from Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and medical experts, to refusing to give American families the aid they need, they’ve made clear that they’re unable to lead us out of this crisis. House Democrats are making sure the American people know it.” 

Here are the 32 Democrats named to the DCCC’s Frontline program Monday:

  • Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)
  • Josh Harder (CA-10)
  • Katie Porter (CA-45)
  • Mike Levin (CA-49)
  • Jahana Hayes (CT-05)
  • Lucy McBath (GA-06)
  • Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07)
  • Cindy Axne (IA-03)
  • Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
  • Sharice Davids (KS-03)
  • Jared Golden (ME-02)
  • Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
  • Haley Stevens (MI-11)
  • Angie Craig (MN-02)
  • Chris Pappas (NH-01)
  • Andy Kim (NJ-03)
  • Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)
  • Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)
  • Susie Lee (NV-03)
  • Steven Horsford (NV-04)
  • Antonio Delgado (NY-19)
  • Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
  • Susan Wild (PA-07)
  • Matt Cartwright (PA-08)
  • Conor Lamb (PA-17)
  • Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07)
  • Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)
  • Colin Allred (TX-32)
  • Elaine Luria (VA-02)
  • Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
  • Kim Schrier (WA-08)
  • Ron Kind (WI-03)
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