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 425 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 yesterday, September 6th 2017.
WA-08: Dave Reichert’s (R) retirement
Congressman Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) broke the news yesterday that he would not seek reelection to the House in 2018. Reichert’s district includes the suburbs of Seattle — a well educated, young, white urban area that epitomizes the demographics Democrats need to target for their midterm takeover of Congress. What’s more, the voters in Washington’s eighth district voted for Hillary Clinton by a margin of four percentage points last cycle — while re-electing Reichert by a margin of twenty. Numerous analyses have been written about the electoral opening Democrats now have in WA-08, as this twenty-point incumbency advantage has been erased from their list of hurdles.
DDHQ is moving this seat from Likely Republican to Tossup, mostly because of the disappearing incumbency advantage in the seat. Even as our forecast of the seat — a strict statistical estimation with a healthy amount of error — has moved the district to 80% chance of voting blue and a most-likely ten point margin of victory, we are cautious with listing it as such. The Republican historical dominance of the seat may be enough to tip the scale in their favor, despite a healthy Democratic bench in the district.
WI-05: Democrats line up to contest dark red seat
If there is any sign of momentum building for Democrats heading into 2018, it’s the number of candidates running in Safe Republican seats. That’s exactly what is happening in Wisconsin’s fifth district, where a third Democrat has joined the race to depose Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R). Tom Palzewicz declared his candidacy on Wednesday, focusing his message on a better solution for health care and more bipartisanship in Washington. However, Rep. Sensenbrenner won the district by 38 points in 2016, and Donald Trump won the district by 10 percent more than Mitt Romney did in 2012. Any Democrat in WI-05 is going to have a hard time beating the odds. WI-05 is Safe Republican for now.
- Former Silicon Valley Rep. Mike Honda (D) has joined forces with a super PAC in California, the Red To Blue PAC, that is targeting seven vulnerable GOP-held seats in the Golden State. As it stands, DDHQ rates eight CA Republican districts as Tossup or Lean Republican, providing the bedrock for a Democratic comeback next year.
- We continue to believe that infighting in the Republican party could lead to larger electoral consequences next year, as support and funding from the White House and GOP leadership gets directed to primary challengers and the like. With this infighting escalating to new levels as Trump sides with Democrats on relief from Hurricane Harvey and the debt ceiling, race ratings will be affected.