Midterm results shake up national map

A blue wave that washed over Republican-held suburbs across the country in last week’s midterm elections has reshaped the nation’s political map.

Deep dissatisfaction with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE and an apparent realignment, both political and geographic, among suburban voters helped Democrats reclaim control of the House of Representatives, where the party won more Republican-held seats than in any midterm election since Watergate.

Now, even before the final races have been decided, Democrats are plotting new forays into what has long been seemingly invincible Republican territory.

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At the same time, Republicans are eyeing some districts held by Democrats still undergoing their new member orientation.

“We’re going to have to be more focused on protecting our front-line candidates,” said Rep. Denny HeckDennis (Denny) Lynn HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (D-Wash.), one of several candidates running to become the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “So many members coming in from those swing districts, it’s going to be a higher priority.”

The new Congress will include at least 29 Democrats who represent districts Trump won in 2016, pending the final outcomes of uncalled races in Maine and Utah.

At least 37 Democrats won election on Tuesday by less than 10 percentage points, 21 of whom hold districts Trump won.

Only four Republicans — Reps. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickGun control group rolls out House endorsements House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state The Hill to interview Mnuchin today and many other speakers The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges GOP Rep. Pete King to buck party, vote for Democrats' coronavirus relief bill Lawmakers offer bill to expand employee retention tax credit MORE (N.Y.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoDemocratic Rep. Cox advances in California primary The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (Calif.) — hold districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick How Obama just endorsed Trump Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE won in 2016, pending final results in a few other districts.

But a whopping 42 Republicans won their reelection bids by margins of less than 10 percentage points, and 23 of those members won by fewer than 5 points.

Those ranks include battle-tested incumbents Fitzpatrick and Reps. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state The Hill to interview Mnuchin today and many other speakers The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve MORE (R-Ill.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), all of whom won close elections this year.

It also includes new members, Reps.-elect Mark Harris (R-N.C.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas), who claimed open seats in tight races.

And it includes members who survived unexpectedly close races where national Democratic groups did not spend big money. Reps. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantMinority caucuses endorse Texas Afro-Latina for Congress Latina underdog for Texas House seat picks up steam Texas kicks off critical battle for House control MORE (R-Texas), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (R-Texas), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonPeople over politics on PPP funding Kulkarni wins Texas House Democratic primary Former sheriff, GOP mega-donor headed to runoff in Texas GOP race MORE (R-Texas), Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy House passes massive T coronavirus relief package Bottom line MORE (R-Mo.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments Bipartisan bill aims to help smallest businesses weather the coronavirus crisis Lawmakers press HHS for answers on coronavirus drug distribution MORE (R-Mich.) all won by 5 points or fewer, despite facing underfunded and little-known Democratic challengers.

It is those members, who may not have expected such close races, who some Republicans now worry about.

“The new guys who won, they’re going to be fine,” said Tom Davis, the former Virginia congressman who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee. “It’s the veterans who won these close races in those suburban districts that Trump won.”

Davis pointed to 2008, when Democrats made big gains in a presidential year by beating seemingly entrenched incumbents Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergThe health care crisis no one is talking about Overnight Defense: Pentagon policy chief resigns at Trump's request | Trump wishes official 'well in his future endeavors' | Armed Services chair warns against Africa drawdown after trip GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' MORE (R-Mich.) and Virgil Goode (R-Va.), all of whom had survived closer-than-expected contests in the Democratic wave of 2006.

Tuesday’s results gave Democrats hope that they have made serious inroads among suburban women with college educations, voters who may have been loath to vote for Clinton in 2016 but who have since soured on Trump.

In the midterm elections, Democrats picked up at least 14, and likely 15, of the 23 Republican-held districts where more than 40 percent of women have a college degree. Democrats won at least four, and likely all five, of the Republican-held districts where more than half of women have a college degree.

Many of the Democratic candidates who took those most highly educated seats were women, like Reps.-elect Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D-Texas).

Though Trump has insisted he is not to blame for the Republican losses in the suburbs, there is ample evidence he was the focal point of voter anger.

Bruce Mehlman, a Republican lobbyist who closely studies election results, pointed to exit poll results that showed a huge number of voters cast ballots either in support of or opposition to Trump, more than those who cast their ballots with George W. Bush or Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHow Obama just endorsed Trump The truth behind Biden's 'you ain't black' gaffe Trump's needless nastiness and cruelty will catch up with him MORE in mind during their midterm elections.

“More people voted to support Trump in this election than voted to support Bush in ’02. That was after 9/11!” Mehlman said. “The Republican top of the ticket is known, baked in and understood. In a midterm, everybody’s running against the president and there isn’t an obvious Democratic foil.”

Trump landed with a particularly hard thud in suburban districts. An analysis of congressional districts by CityLab, overlaid with election results, show Democrats won the suburban battleground that has become the fulcrum of American politics.

In the new Congress, Democrats will hold about 70 percent of all suburban districts across the country, and just 19 percent of rural districts.

The new Democratic majority has also consolidated the party’s hold on coastal states. About 150 of the 230 or so Democrats who will sit in the next Congress come from states on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts.

If Rep. Mimi WaltersMarian (Mimi) Elaine WaltersFormer GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company GOP plots comeback in Orange County Crazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine MORE (R-Calif.) falls behind in late vote counting, the new Congress will include only two Republicans — Reps. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerHispanic Caucus endorses Washington Latina House candidate Cornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis MORE (R-Wash.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHillicon Valley: Apple, Google launch virus tracing system | Republican says panel should no longer use Zoom | Lawmakers introduce bill to expand telehealth House lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to expand telehealth services Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis MORE (R-Alaska) — whose districts touch the Pacific.

Heck said Democrats would face a battle in maintaining their gains two years down the road, but they start off with an edge.

“Our biggest gains were in suburbia, but we competed well in some rural districts,” Heck said. “It’s always less expensive to protect a seat with an incumbent than it is to defeat an incumbent.”