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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 TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm 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. FitzpatrickLawmakers offer gun control bill to end 'boyfriend loophole' Taylor Swift celebrates House passage of Equality Act Here are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act MORE (Pa.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Sunday shows - COVID-19 dominates as grim milestone approaches Former Texas GOP rep: Trump should hold very little or no role in Republican Party MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoBiden officials urge patience on immigration amid border surge Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation Lawmakers blame SolarWinds hack on 'collective failure' to prioritize cybersecurity MORE (N.Y.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoSix ways to visualize a divided America DCCC releases Spanish-language ads hitting GOP on QAnon Here are the GOP lawmakers censured by Republicans for impeaching Trump MORE (Calif.) — hold districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons remember former adviser Vernon Jordan Biden praises Vernon Jordan: He 'knew the soul of America' The parts of H.R. 1 you haven't heard about 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 DavisLawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol breach is 'next step' Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber 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 MarchantRepublican Van Duyne wins race for Texas House seat Cook Political Report shifts 8 more House races toward Democrats Democrats seek wave to bolster House majority MORE (R-Texas), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulBlinken speaks with Ethiopian leader about human rights concerns in Tigray Biden to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning, jailing Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission MORE (R-Texas), Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonHouse Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republican Fort Bend County Sheriff wins Texas House seat 10 bellwether House races to watch on election night MORE (R-Texas), Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerSix ways to visualize a divided America House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps Republicans rally to keep Cheney in power MORE (R-Mo.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonHouse Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 Upton censured for vote to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from Education Committee Is the 'civil war' in the Republican Party really over? 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 WalbergGOP scrutiny intensifies on firing of NLRB top attorney READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 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 ObamaClintons remember former adviser Vernon Jordan Vernon Jordan: an American legend, and a good friend A Biden stumble on China? 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 BeutlerWray says no evidence of 'antifa' involvement in Jan. 6 attack Arizona rep to play leading role in GOP women's group ahead of midterms Acting chief acknowledges police were unprepared for mob MORE (R-Wash.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungKey Democrat unveils plan to restore limited earmarks Haaland courts moderates during tense Senate confirmation hearing OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing | GOP's Westerman looks to take on Democrats on climate change | White House urges passage of House public lands package 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.”