DDHQ 2018 House Updates – September 13, 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 419 days until the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats are up in the generic ballot by 8% and we rate 196 seats as Safe, Likely or Lean Democratic. 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 Tuesday, September 12.


MT-AL: Another Democrat gunning for Greg Gianoforte’s seat

Earlier this year when businessman, engineer, and body-slammer Greg Gianforte (R) won a special election to Montana’s lone congressional district, there was much speculation on whether his tenure would last. Democrats appear to think not, as a second challenger has jumped into the primary for this seat. There is no doubt that rolling the body-slamming video over and over again could work for a Democrat in the district, but I have doubts on just how much ground they could gain with that.

Maybe that’s just what now-running Democrat Grant Kier, a former director of a nonprofit in Missoula, is planning on doing. However, MT-AL voted by nearly 20% for Gianforte’s predecessor and now-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Encouraging the Democrats may be Rep. Gianforte’s bare 6 point win margin in this year’s special election. I would bet that a midterm election would see the district return more to its “traditional” political environment, though with Gianforte as their opponent, the eventual Democratic nominee may well end up winning. DDHQ currently rates the seat Likely Republican.


UT-03: New Poll puts Curtis (R) 30% ahead of Allen (D)

A new poll in the special election to Utah’s third congressional district — the one vacated by former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, whom you may have heard of in recent news — shows Republican John Curtis up more than 30% on his Democratic opponent Kathie Allen.

This is no surprise, really. Even though Utah saw a big swing away from Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as a result of Independent Mormon conservative Evan McMullin’s candidacy,  its congressional districts remain quite red. In 2016, for example, Rep. Chaffetz beat his Democratic opponent by more than forty points (note, this is two-party vote share — if you change the poll to this metric, Curtis is up by nearly the same margin). We rate UT-03 Safe Republican.


Other Buzz:

A recent District Court decision in a Texas redistricting case has been put on hold by the Surpreme Court. A lower court had invalidated two House districts, CD-27 and CD-35, on the grounds of racial gerrymandering. The ruling is on hold until the Supreme Court can come up with its own decision.


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