DDHQ 2018 House Updates – September 8, 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 424 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 7th 2017.


There’s not much on the docket today for house news — but what has happened recently is quite important.

PA-15: Charlie Dent (R) leaves behind open seat

Congressman Charlie Dent announced his retirement on Thursday, citing a politically toxic attitude in Washington, “even the most simple basic tasks of government have become excruciatingly difficult.” Dent joins two other Republicans in retiring from competitive seats, Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) being the latest to withdraw from a district that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-07) vacated another potential pickup for Democrats earlier in the year. Hillary Clinton earned 46% of the vote in Pennsylvania’s 15th district in 2016, and it voted for Rep. Dent by a hair over 20%. PA-15 also has a history of competitiveness in statewide offices.

Dent’s retirement puts the district in Tossup territory, though in the current national environment where Democrats have gained roughly 5% on their 2016 performance, that tossup may have a tinge of blue.

So far, there is just one Republican candidate running to succeed Dent. Justin Simmons, who declared his candidacy last week. It’s unclear how his brand of conservatism will go over in this swing district. We will be keeping on eye on seats like this through 2018.


IL-13: Democrats line up to unseat Rodney Davis (R)

Democrats are lining up to try to take control of Rep. Rodney Davis’s thirteenth, a lean Republican seat in the outskirts of St Louis. Five Democrats have declared to run in the March primary, and from a mix of backgrounds: one is a professor, one a doctor, one a former assistant attorney general, one a teacher, and — namely — one a former fundraiser for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. It’s a little early to gauge the dynamics of the primary itself, but the general election is another animal. Democrats have been trying to flip IL-13 for years and came within 0.5% of a blue seat in 2012. The increasing sprawl of St. Louis and the heavily blue university city of Edwardsville could be encouraging for Democrats next year, especially in midterm electorates that are disproportionately more populated with college-educated voters.