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 nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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. FitzpatrickDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Overnight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdImmigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security Advocacy groups want border-for-Dreamers deal ahead of Feb. 15 deadline Bill Maher draws backlash for making Popeyes comment to black congressman MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoOvernight Defense: Gillibrand offers bill to let transgender troops serve | Pentagon ready to protect US personnel in Venezuela | Dems revive fight with Trump over Saudis Gillibrand introduces bipartisan bill to allow transgender military service House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (N.Y.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (Calif.) — hold districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Sarah Sanders says she was interviewed by Mueller's office Trump: I believe Obama would have gone to war with North Korea 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 DavisHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address GOP lawmaker confronted by passenger for flying first class amid shutdown 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 MarchantHouse Democrat warns ethics committee about Steve King promoting white nationalism website House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Puerto Ricans may have elected Rick Scott and other midterm surprises MORE (R-Texas), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind Congress must stand with the people of Venezuela MORE (R-Texas), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 Bipartisan bill would give government workers access to retirement funds amid shutdown Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown MORE (R-Texas), Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerScalise, Wagner plan to introduce discharge petition for abortion bill House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 GOP scrambles to prevent shutdown after right-wing insurrection MORE (R-Mo.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Dems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales 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 WalbergCongress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms Midterm results shake up national map Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests 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 ObamaIntelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office Barack Obama sends Valentine's message to Michelle: 'She does get down to Motown' For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love 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 WaltersCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results Election Countdown: Abrams ends fight in Georgia governor's race | Latest on Florida recount | Booker, Harris head to campaign in Mississippi Senate runoff | Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority MORE (R-Calif.) falls behind in late vote counting, the new Congress will include only two Republicans — Reps. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 House votes on 10th bill to reopen government House does redo vote on bill to reopen government MORE (R-Wash.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungLive coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge Inside the Trump-Congress Christmas meltdown House GOP and Puerto Rico governor agree on statehood vote 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.”