DDHQ 2018 House Updates – December 1, 2017

Welcome to our weekly 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 340 days until the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats are up in the generic ballot by 7% and we rate 195 seats as Safe, Likely or Lean Democratic, 14 as Tossup, and 226 as Safe, Likely, or Lean Republican. Check our full U.S. House forecast here and read our full list of ratings here. Sign up here to get these updates via email.

A recap of House election news from November 24 to December 1, 2017.


At Home

IL-04: Longtime Democratic representative to step down. Democratic representative Luis Gutiérrez has decided to call it quits and retire from his safe Democratic seat in central Chicago. Gutiérrez’s retirement came mostly as a surprise to election watchers, which has helped to prompt skepticism of a possible 2020 presidential bid from the two-decade Congressman. Though this primary battle for an open seat is just getting underway, Gutiérrez has already endorsed high-profile Cook County Democrat and 2015 Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia — a move that will surely give him a boost in what could easily become a hotly contested primary battle. Though resources and the establishment are clearly behind Garcia, we will be keeping our eye on progressive candidates hoping to leverage the power of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America against Chuy. For the general election, Decision Desk HQ rates this seat Safe Democratic.


FL-27: Republican candidates sense danger in Likely Democratic pickup. Racquel Regalado, daughter of the former Miami mayor by the same name and a popular Spanish language radio host, dropped out of Republican primary this week after dismal fundraising numbers. Normally we would chalk this up to simple candidate inviability, however, the problems Regalado faced look to be plaguing other Republicans as well. The other well-known Republican candidate in the race, Bruno Barreiro, is showing signs of inviability with a small $176,000 cash on hand. While $176,000 could get a candidate fairly far in a generic House race, Barreiro (if he wins the primary) will be facing off against a well-funded Democrat. FL-27 is also the most likely Democratic pickup in the country — our DDHQ model says there’s a 99% chance of a changeover — which could further spur Democratic enthusiasm (fundraising) in the district. Decision Desk HQ currently rates the seat as Likely Democratic.


NJ-02: Democrats get top recruit in open tossup seat. Democrats scored a big win in the target district this week when they recruited possibly the best candidate for the contest, State Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Party officials in the state have been hoping Van Drew would step into the contest even before incumbent representative Frank LoBiondo (R) announced his retirement this year, a testament to his perceived value in a district that Democrats might soon be favored to pick up. As of this writing, no Republicans have announced their candidacy for the seat. Decision Desk HQ rates the seat as Tossup.


TX-06: Republican representative retires after nude photos leak. Republican Representative Joe Barton announced his retirement today after a week of bad news followed the leaking of nude pictures of the congressman. Though it should be noted that Barton claims no wrongdoing — in fact, many have raised the possibility that the leaked photos could be illegal “revenge porn” — it is no surprise that a scandal like this could force a congressman from office. Still, Barton is the longest-serving member of the Texas congressional delegation so it is slightly stunning to see him resign.

It’s a little early to benchmark primary candidates in the race. Prior to Barton’s announcement, the seat has been considered Safe Republican, likely re-electing the Dallas representative for an 18th term. With Barton out it’s any Republican’s game in the primary contest, and whomever the Democrats pick has around a one-in-three chance to pick up the seat, according to our model. Despite that, Decision Desk HQ rates TX-06 as Likely Republican.


Data Roundup

President Trump job approval polling

  • Trump’s job approval in my average is 39%.

2018 House Midterms

According to the latest House forecast data

  • Democrats are up 7% in my average of generic ballot polls, and 9% in our estimates of the election day two-party vote.
  • They have about a 51% shot at winning a House majority.

Reading List



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