DDHQ 2018 House Updates – October 5, 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 397 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 Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

At Home


SC-05: Democrat Archie Parnell, who you may remember nearly won an upset victory in the 2017 special election, is eyeing a rematch. Parnell is scheduled to make an announcement at a York County Democratic Party kick-off event. In the June special election, Parnell ran ahead of Clinton’s 20 point defeat in 2016. However, these 2017 special elections have been isolated contests with lopsided Democratic enthusiasm, so Parnell’s near-victory may not translate well 2018. SC-05 is usually a very red district, and Decision Desk HQ rates it Likely Republican


PA-18: GOP Rep. Tim Murphy is resigning from the House after news broke Tuesday that he urged his mistress to have an abortion, even though he carries the banner of a pro-life conservative. He’s not the first member of Congress to have an affair, but he is the first (that I can find) to have text messages urging his mistress to have an abortion leaked to news media. His retirement opens up his Southwestern Pennsylvania seat, but that doesn’t mean it’s obtainable for Democrats. As I wrote on twitter, the district has an above-average share of whites without college degrees (one of the strongest blocs for Republicans in 2016), and it saw a 20-point Trump win margin in 2016. The Republican primary in the district, however, will likely be one to watch. A special election can be held anytime between December and May, most likely between February and April of 2018.


CO-02: A long-time gun control advocate is joining the race for this open seat, vacated by Rep. Jared Polis (D) as he runs for Governor of Colorado. Ken Toltz is a businessman whose name will be familiar in and around the sixth district, where he lost a campaign for the House in 2000 in the wake of the Columbine mass shooting. Toltz is the founder of a gun control group called Safe Campus Colorado, which aims to prevent the concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. Toltz will face off against Joe Neguse, who has received quite a healthy number of top endorsements, as well as Howard Dotson and Mark Williams in the Democratic primary next year. Toltz may be able to pull ahead of his competition if he campaigns heavily in the 30,000 student University of Colorado campus centered in his district; gun control measures may work well with progressive college students. CO-02 voted for Hillary Clinton by nearly 32% last year and is rated Safe Democratic by Decision Desk HQ.


FL-18: On Monday, former State Department official Lauren Baer announced that she’s running for this Palm Beach congressional seat. But the news today surrounds her primary opponent Pam Keith, who announced a huge endorsement by progressive veterans group VoteVets. Keith will have some name recognition in the district as she ran previously in the 2016 Democratic primary for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Marco Rubio (R). She lost the primary race, earning just 15% of the vote to Patrick Murphy’s 59%. Although incumbent freshman Rep. Brian Mast (R) won the seat by 9 points last year and Donald Trump won it by 10, the booming cities of Port St. Lucie and Jupiter could provide a boost to Keith. Still, the reality of the district is that it is situated in a median-wealth district with, frankly, a lot of wealthy golfers in the southern tip. A Democratic win will be hard to come by in this deceptively Lean Republican district.


TX-27: Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold is going to get a challenger in 2018, and it could be a big one. Victoria County Republican Party Chair Michael Cloud announced on Tuesday that he’s in the primary next March. Last year, Farenthold squeaked by a primary challenger 56-44, a narrow victory despite his foe raising just under $200,000. Even if Cloud doesn’t doesn’t raise much money, he will not be lacking in attack material. Farenthold has made headlines for settling a sexual harassment lawsuit with a former staffer, owning the domain name “Blow-me.org,” and wearing duck pajamas with lingerie models. He won his 2016 general election bid by 28 points, something that is unlikely to change if he is still the nominee in 2018.


Data roundup

House Election

According to the latest House data

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

Congressional Ballot Polls

  • A new YouGov poll puts Democrats up 7.

Trump Approval

  • Trump is still hanging around 39% approval in the 538 average, which is notably bad for a President, though stable and comparatively good for this President.

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