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 TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 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. FitzpatrickFreshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race Cybersecurity Advisory Committee will strengthen national security through a stronger public-private partnership Congress is ready to tackle climate change MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdFreshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race DCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Dems ramp up subpoena threats MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoCybersecurity Advisory Committee will strengthen national security through a stronger public-private partnership There's a pain bill that's actually sensitive to patients — let's pass it Dogfighting victims need the HEART Act to find their way home 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 ClintonDavis: The shocking fact that Mueller never would have accused Trump of a crime Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? 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 DavisMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seeks tougher rules on asylum seekers House passes Paycheck Fairness Act 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 MarchantDCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Treasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns MORE (R-Texas), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulLawmakers join musical stars to celebrate Grammys on the Hill DCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats GOP, Dems balk at latest Trump foreign aid cuts MORE (R-Texas), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonDCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for MORE (R-Texas), Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave Top GOP lawmaker moves to force floor vote on abortion bill This week: Senate GOP prepares to change rules on Trump nominees MORE (R-Mo.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine The 8 Republicans who voted against Trump's anti-ObamaCare push House condemns Trump's latest anti-ObamaCare push 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 WalbergPro-trade group targets 4 lawmakers in push for new NAFTA Congress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms Midterm results shake up national map 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 ObamaChina, Russia, Iran rise in Latin America as US retreats Castro wants to follow Obama's lead on balancing presidency with fatherhood Trump's regulatory rollback boosts odds of a financial crisis 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 WaltersGOP plots comeback in Orange County Crazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results MORE (R-Calif.) falls behind in late vote counting, the new Congress will include only two Republicans — Reps. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerHouse fails to override Trump veto on border wall The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration 13 House Republicans who bucked Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Wash.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungCongress: Pass legislation that invests in America's water future Bipartisan group introduces legislation to protect federal workers' health benefits during shutdowns Deceptions may sink plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge 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.”