DDHQ 2018 House Updates – October 3, 2017

Welcome to our daily DDHQ House Elections Updates. I’m your host, G. Elliott Morris. Questions, comments, concerns? Feel free to pass along via email or twitter. There are 399 days until the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats are up in the generic ballot by 8.2% and we rate 196 seats as Safe, Likely or Lean Democratic, 12 as Tossup, and 227 as Safe, Likely, or Lean Republican. Check our full U.S. House forecast here and read our full list of ratings here

Here’s what happened in elections to the U.S. House on Monday, October 2, 2017.

At Home


NJ-07: Vulnerable Republican Rep. Leonard Lance faces a tough cycle next year as a former Obama and Clinton cabinet official joins the race for his seat, Tom Malinowski. His Jersey upbringing and high-profile job history (he worked as an Assistant Secretary of State) have made him a recognizable name in New Jersey politics. Malinowski’s announcement comes on the heels of seven other Democratic and even a Republican challenger to Lance. Lance is one of the 23 Republican members of the House whose district voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election — albeit by little more than a hair.
FL-18: Lauren Baer announced that she’ll run against GOP Rep. Brian Mast next year, having raised more than $250,000 since she began her exploratory committee on September 12. Baer, another former State Department official, joins Democrat Pam Kieth in the primary battle for this potentially flippable Republican seat. FL-18 voted for Mast 55 to 45%, and voted for Donald Trump by a nearly identical margin.
ME-02: Lucas St Clair, a chief conservationist and national parks advocate, is running for the Democratic nod against GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin has already drawn a fair amount of big-name challengers (which we covered here), with 7 people running for his seat in 3 separate Democratic or independent parties. St Clair is well known in Maine, particularly for persuading voters in the center of the state to get on board with supporting the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Whatever name-recognition St Clair and his Democratic allies — most notably former Marine and Maine House Majority Leader Jared Golden — can summon up will be helpful in a fight against Poliquin, who has reportedly already raised $1.2M for his reelection bid. ME-02 voted for Poliquin and Trump by 10 points each and is the only Republican-held seat east of New York, making ME-02 one of the Democrat’s best targets in the midterm cycle.
WA-08: Democrat and Issaquah City Councilor Tola Marts is dropping out of race for Dave Reichert’s (R) open seat. Marts wasn’t exactly a top-tier candidate, so the drop-out is not very surprising to us. However, Democrats are going to need all the help they can get against former U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi in the general election next November. WA-08 is a tossup district, per DDHQ’s rankings.
NY-11: Former GOP Rep Mike Grimm announced that he’s running, posing a formidable conservative challenge to current Republican Representative Daniel Donovan. Though NY-11 is a Likely Republican seat in our rankings (so the district’s primary fight will likely be the most interesting), a general election of Mike Grimm vs. [insert viable Democrat here] (say, veteran Max Rose?) may actually be an interesting one; in that scenario, a convicted felon would be running up against a Democratic opponent in a district Trump only won by 10%. In a wave election for Democrats, that combination may be enough to tilt the scales in their favor. However, that type of dream scenario for Democrats is not the most likely one to anticipate, so Democrats shouldn’t start counting their Congressional district chickens before they hatch. For now, the battle to keep your eye on is Grimm vs. Donovan.

Inside the Beltway


  • The House set to debate — and possibly vote — on two potentially consequential pieces of legislation, one on the availability of gun silencers and one on the criminalization of abortions after 20 weeks.
  • The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case that could upend our redistricting system and order many states to draw new district maps before the next election cycle.

Data roundup

House Election

According to the latest House data

  • Democrats are up 8.2% in the national congressional generic ballot
  • They have about a 1/3rd shot at winning a House majority
  • Democrats have a 10% chance of winning more than 250 seats.

Trump Approval

  • According to FiveThirtyEight’s average of Trump approval polls, his rating has taken a slight dip. We’ll see whether than holds up.


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