Democrats expand House map after election victories

Democrats expand House map after election victories
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House Democrats, bullish on their prospects in 2018 after election victories across the nation, are expanding the number of GOP-held districts they plan to target in their effort to win back the chamber.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Thursday released a list of 91 total House districts it plans to target in next year’s midterm elections. Democrats need to win 24 seats to win back the House.

That list includes 11 new districts, including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE's (R-Wis.) and three held by longtime GOP incumbents who recently announced plans to leave Congress.

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Of those, retiring centrist Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentGOP House candidate placed on leave from longtime position after sexual misconduct allegation Election handicapper moves GOP leader's race to 'toss-up' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE’s (R-Pa.) eastern Pennsylvania swing district will likely be the most competitive. Dent was considered a particularly skilled incumbent who would be tough to beat, but an open seat will make it up for grabs next year.

The DCCC is also expanding its map for far-reaching districts that would be tough to flip even in a tidal wave for Democrats, like the ones held by Ryan and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersGOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker Conservatives blame McCarthy for Twitter getting before favorable committee MORE (R-Wash.).

Other newly-added districts include those held by Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who are both not seeking reelection; Rep. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveNumber of GOP women in House could fall to World War II levels, Republican CEO says GOP lacks good funding mechanism for women candidates, says Republican CEO Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising MORE (R-Utah); Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaPoll: Democrats hold big leads in Pennsylvania Senate, governor races Obama to hit campaign trail in Pa. for gubernatorial, Senate candidates Poll: Pennsylvania Democrats surging with double-digit leads MORE (R-Pa.), who is running for Senate; Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump Blue-state Republicans say they will vote against 'tax cuts 2.0' if it extends SALT cap MORE (R-N.Y.); Rep. Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthElection Countdown: Trump jumps into Ohio special election fight | What to watch in Tennessee primaries | Koch network freezes out Republicans who crossed them | Dead heat in Texas, Nevada Senate races | How celebs are getting into the midterms Democratic Indiana congressional candidate won't support Pelosi Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax MORE (R-Ind.); Rep. Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockElection Countdown: Takeaways from too-close-to-call Ohio special election | Trump endorsements cement power but come with risks | GOP leader's race now rated as 'toss-up' | Record numbers of women nominated | Latino candidates get prominent role in 2020 GOP scrambles to regain fiscal credibility with House budget House panel approves belated 2019 budget MORE (R-Calif.); and Rep. Glenn GrothmanGlenn S. GrothmanDems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests Overnight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments House rejects proposal to boost Interior watchdog’s funding MORE (R-Wis.).

“The DCCC has successfully built the largest battlefield in over a decade, with strong campaigns ready to win tough races across the map in 2018,” DCCC Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) wrote in a memo.

The memo cites the number of House GOP retirements as a sign of momentum for Democratic challengers in newly open seats.

Fourteen House members have announced their plans to retire this year, which is still below the historical average of 22 per election cycle. All but two of the 14 retiring lawmakers are Republicans.

Tiberi plans to leave the House by the end of January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, while former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzMatt Schlapp: Trump's policies on Russia 'two or three times tougher than anything' under Obama Tucker Carlson: Ruling class cares more about foreigners than their own people Fox's Kennedy chides Chaffetz on child migrants: 'I’m sure these mini rapists all have bombs strapped to their chests' MORE (R-Utah) resigned earlier this year to take a position at Fox News.

Seventeen other lawmakers, roughly split between the two parties, are running for other offices. 

“In general, eliminating the power of incumbency creates a great deal of advantage for House Democratic challengers,” Luján wrote.

The DCCC had initially outlined 80 battlefield districts, which Luján said now have “viable candidates” in all but five of them.

The widespread Democratic victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state and elsewhere on Tuesday night have given momentum to a party left deep in the minority after President Trump’s unexpected win in 2016.

Polls leading up to Tuesday’s elections had suggested the race for Virginia governor would be competitive, with Democrat Ralph Northam holding a narrow lead. But Northam ultimately defeated Republican Ed Gillespie, who had echoed Trump’s culture war appeals in his campaign ads, by 9 points due to a surge in Democratic turnout.

Virginia Democrats are also unexpectedly close to winning control of the House of Delegates, with some races still not yet called.

Recent polls have shown Democrats with a significant advantage in the generic ballot asking voters which party should control the House.

Trump’s job approval also remains anemic at around 38 percent, according to recent polls. Presidents have historically seen their party lose seats in Congress during midterm elections in their first terms.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday compared Trump’s low approval rating to that of former President George W. Bush before Democrats won the House in 2006.

“That means we get the fresh recruits and they get the retirements. We get the A-Team,” Pelosi said at a press conference.