Midterm Election News Roundup

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There was quite a lot of midterm election related news these last few days. Here’s a recap of some of the bigger stories plus a note about what it all means.

Democrats expand the midterm battlefield: To take control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats need to hang on to the 193 seats they currently have, and flip 25 Republican seats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) just announced they’re expanding their map to target 101 races. This is a lot of races.

The latest additions include AK-AL, MD-01, NJ-04 OH-15, SC-05, TX-31, and WI-07.

Democrats are looking at the number of GOP-held seats that are in districts where Trump lost in 2016, the growing number of GOP retirements, districts that Trump narrowly won in 2016 but where his approval numbers are underwater now, and the strong fundraising numbers from individual candidates and Democratic groups nationally.

Cook shifts 21 races to the left: Today, Cook Political Report announced that they were shifting 21 races to the left. Cook uses a scale with Toss Up as the center, followed by Lean D, Likely D, and finally Solid D (with the same categories but for the Rs on the other side of the scale.)

Cook uses a number of different variables to determine their ratings and these ratings are being re-evaluated constantly. The map of ratings changes is below, but you can also click the link above to get the details of these races.

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Cook Political Report map of Feb. 8 House Ratings Changes

Democrats have an incredibly strong fundraising quarter: The most recent fundraising numbers for this past quarter were just released from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and there is a lot for the Democrats to be excited about.

At least 55 Democratic candidates outraised the GOP incumbent they are challenging. More than a dozen GOP incumbents had less cash on hand than their challenger. One GOP Rep in Virginia was outraised by THREE Democratic opponents. 80+ Democratic candidates had at least $250,000 in cash on hand at the end of the year.

Pence helps vulnerable GOP incumbents: VP Mike Pence’s leadership PAC gave cash to 30 vulnerable Republicans as well as three senators and four governors. This is a normal activity that we’d expect to see, but folks review the specific people to look for any clues about where the Republicans might be worried and which seats they are keen to save. The link above has the full list of recipients.

Here’s what I think of all this news: The fact that the DCCC is increasing the number of districts they’re targeting coupled with the ratings shifts do signal that there are very good trends nationwide that are favorable to Democrats. It is really important to remember that this is due to some things you and I can’t control (if an incumbent retires) and things we do control (fundraising totals).

Never get complacent. All of these ratings are fluid. As a good example, remember that the Alabama Senate race last year started as a Solid R and then moved to Likely R when Roy Moore won the primary, and moved all the way to Toss Up by election day. Remember that while ratings look good for Democrats now, they are fluid and can move in both directions.

Be engaged and involved in activating Democrats in your own district, whether or not it is a “targeted” race or considered to be “out of reach.” Getting folks involved in the political process is its own reward. We should be doing it everywhere.

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