News broke yesterday that Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,who had represented part of the Miami area for almost thirty years, will retire after her current term. Democrats were elated by the news: Ros-Lehtinen has remained very popular in-district even as Republican fortunes there eroded over the last three decades. She managed to hold onto the district by almost ten points last year when Clinton won it by twenty. With her exit, the district becomes a prime Democratic pickup opportunity, and forecasting sites like Sabato’s Crystal Ball have already moved it into the Democratic column.
Beyond her seat, there were twenty-two others that are held by Republicans but voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Of those, twenty-one Representatives faced a challenger (the Democrats fielded nobody against Pete Sessions). Here’s how all twenty-two contested seats in 2016 that broke for Clinton but still stayed red in the house shook out:
Five Representatives received fewer votes than Clinton: Ros-Lehtinen, Curbelo, Issa, Katko, and Hurd. Several, like Rohrbacher, easily bested their Democratic opponents and earned tens of thousands more votes than Mrs. Clinton. Still, as far as low hanging fruit goes, this overall list marks some of the clearest opportunities for the Democrats. The Clinton-RepublicanCDs aren’t numerous enough to flip the House, but they will be a big part of any strategy to do so. Nearly all of them are in suburban areas where Democrats made gains with college-educated whites (perpetually contested and heavily Hispanic CA-21 and TX-23 being two of the more glaring exceptions). Keep an eye out for any more retirements on this list.