House Races Offer Democrats Best Shot At Claiming A Chamber In Congress

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Add Midterm Elections as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Midterm Elections news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Midterm Elections Add Interest Democrats want to take back at least one chamber of Congress this year, and the House of Representatives may be their best shot.

The party needs to win 24 seats to make that happen and, as seen in the races below, Democrats are counting on swing districts, those held by retiring or resigned Republicans, districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the female candidates running in record numbers this year.

There are at least 41 Republicans who are retiring, have resigned or are running for another office, according to a count by ABC News. Polling shows President Donald Trump’s approval ratings are at a record low for an Oval Office occupant at this point in his presidency.

These factors, plus the hope that Republican control of Congress and the White House has rallied their base to come out in droves, are fueling the Democratic drive in the midterm elections.

Control of one chamber on Capitol Hill would give Democrats the power to block the Republican agenda and use their majority power in the respective congressional oversight committee to launch investigations into the White House.

And those actions will set the stage for the 2020 presidential election.

Here are the House races to watch.

Will the suburbs reject President Trump in Illinois’ vulnerable 6th district?

BY MOLLY NAGLE

THE PLAYERS

Rep. Peter Roskam

Republican

Six-term Congressman for Illinois 6th District, Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Chairman of the House Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Health

Birthday: September 13, 1961

Sean Casten

Democrat

Scientist and Clean Energy Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Recycled Energy Development LLC

Birthday: November 23, 1971

THE STAKES

Democrats are just 24 seats shy of taking back the House, and a battle for vulnerable suburban Congressional seats is setting up in the 2018 midterms. One race where Democrats may be able to gain some ground is Illinois’ 6th Congressional District.

Republican incumbent Peter Roskam, a former member of House Leadership handily won re-election in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton beating President Donald Trump by seven points in the district. Roskam has generally supported President Trump’s agenda—voting to repeal Obamacare and voting for the Trump Tax plan. But despite voting in line with the President, Roskam’s campaign may be trying to distance themselves from the White House in 2018.

“We have not asked the President to campaign for us and we have no plans to do so,” Veronica Vera, Communication Director for Rep. Roskam tells ABC News.

Roskam will now take on Democratic challenger Sean Casten, who is hoping to flip the vulnerable district from red to blue.

Casten beat out six other Democratic opponents — which included five women—to take on Roskam in November, securing 29.9% of the vote in Illinois’ March 20th Democratic primary. Casten is a Scientist and clean energy entrepreneur, who lists global warming as one of the major issues for his campaign, along with health care, women’s rights, and gun control. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee believes that Clinton’s win in 2016 shows that the district has changed since Roskam took office in 2006, and is in play for Casten.

Roskam and Casten are eager to face off as well—already challenging one another to debates leading up to the election. So will the GOP be able to defend their ground in the suburbs, or will Democrats flip the 6th? Stay tuned!

KEY DATES November 6, 2018: General election

New Hampshire 1st Congressional District’s history of swing seats set up an early battle

By DOMINICK PROTO

THE PLAYERS

State Sen. Andy Sanborn

Republican

Senator in the state’s 9th District

Age: N/A

Eddie Edwards

Republican

Retired Chief of Police for South Hampton, Navy Veteran, Served as Chief of New Hampshire State Division of Liquor Enforcement

Age: 49

Andy Martin

Republican

GOP counterterror expert; Executive Editor of ContrarianCommentary.com

Age: N/A

Rep. Mindi Messmer

Democrat

Current State Representative

Age: N/A

Rep. Mark MacKenzie

Democrat

Manchester State Representative

Age: N/A

Maura Sullivan

Democrat

U.S. Marine, Iraq Veteran; Former Assistant Secretary of U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Age: N/A

Lincoln Soldati

Democrat

Strafford County Attorney, Veteran

Age: 69

Terence O’Rourke

Democrat

Rochester City Attorney; Former state and federal prosecutor; Iraq War veteran

Age: N/A

Chris Pappas

Democrat

Age: N/A

Deaglan McEachern

Democrat

Age: N/A

Dylan Robinson

Libertarian

Age: N/A

THE STAKES

Mary Schwalm/AP, FILESteve Bannon speaks during an event in Manchester, N.H., Nov. 9, 2017.

The outcome in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District –- a classic swing seat that flips with virtually every recent political wave — will determine where a small, yet powerful district stands looking into 2020.

If a Democrat maintains the seat, the party can maintain a momentum going into the next presidential election.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting the district in this election in which U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is not seeking reelection.

The 1st Congressional District covers the Greater Manchester, Seacoast and Lakes Region of New Hampshire, a predominantly white, middle-aged and middle-class population. Seven Democrats, three Republicans and one Libertarian are all vying to fill the seat.

A key issue for the candidates will be how they can help address the opioid crisis that has become a national public health crisis. New Hampshire has begun to tackle ways to combat the problem with new laws, regulations, and kits to avoid the rapidly increasing overdose deaths.

State Sen. Andy Sanborn has been in that legislative chamber since 2010 and has held a state Senate seat in multiple districts.

Eddie Edwards sits on the board of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire and is the chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice.

State Rep. Mark MacKenzie is also focused on helping address the opioid crisis as well as jobs, infrastructure, affordable childcare and paid family leave.

KEY DATES

Candidate Filing Period: June 6-15

Primary Election: Sept. 11

General Election: Nov. 6

Long-serving New Jersey Republican’s retirement gives Democrats a shot with open seat contest

BY CHEYENNE HASLETT

THE PLAYERS

Mikie Sherrill

Democrat

Former federal prosecutor and helicopter pilot for the U.S. Navy

Age: 46

Jay Webber

Republican

New Jersey state assemblyman and attorney

Age: 46

THE STAKES

A New Jersey district that went for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election and was represented by the same Republican for more than two decades now offers a glimmer of hope for Democrats seeking to control the House in 2018.

That’s because New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District only went to Trump by about one percentage point in 2016, and its longstanding Republican congressman, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, is no longer seeking reelection. Come November, it’ll be an open seat race.

Frelinghuysen’s announcement landed him among the 24 other House Republicans who have decided to retire ahead of the 2018 midterms. An heir to Procter & Gamble whose family has been in politics since the Revolutionary War, experts say the moderate Republican and House Appropriations Committee chair would’ve faced a tough reelection unique to the Trump era.

Enter Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a Navy veteran and former federal prosecutor running to upend GOP control of the district, and Republican Jay Webber, a state assemblyman and attorney running to maintain it.

Like many midterm races across the country, it’s become a proxy war of association.

Webber calls his Democratic opponent a “Nancy Pelosi pawn,” wedding her to the House minority leader, while Sherrill describes Webber as an establishment politician who backs the president.

Sherrill, a mother of four and former helicopter pilot for the U.S. Navy, has never run for elected office before. She joins the race as part of the many so-called “waves” crashing on the 2018 midterms — the blue wave of Democrats running against Trump, the record-breaking pink wave of female candidates, and the wave of 300-plus veterans running for office at a time when fewer are serving in Congress.

She’s netted endorsements from EMILY’s List and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Webber, a father of seven, Harvard Law School graduate and conservative voice in the New Jersey state house, totes border security and lower taxes as his campaign platform. He was recently endorsed by hardline Republican Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and in a recent campaign ad pledged a return to “Morning again in America,” a Reagan-era campaign slogan.

According to the most recent FEC filings in May, Webber is lagging behind his opponent in fundraising efforts with just over $225,000 cash on hand. His opponent Sherrill comes in far ahead with $1.8 million cash on hand.

KEY DATES

April 2: Democrat and Republican candidate petition filing deadline June 5: Democrat and Republican primary Nov. 6: General election

Race to replace retiring Republicans could mean midterm problems for GOP

Analysis: Midterm clashes set to define Trump era

Strength in party strongholds: A key to midterm outcomes: Poll

2018 gubernatorial races could provide 2020 snapshots

In Senate race showdowns, tough odds for Democrats fuel Republican hopes

Following special election triumph, Lamb faces primary, congressman in new district

By ADAM KELSEY

THE PLAYERS

Rep.-elect Conor Lamb

Democrat

Congressman-elect, Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District; former assistant U.S. attorney, Marine Corps captain and current reservist

Age: 33 (born June 27, 1984)

Ray Linsenmayer

Democrat

Financial consultant, grassroots organizer

Age: 50 (born March 4, 1968)

Rep. Keith Rothfus

Republican

Congressman, Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District; attorney

Age: 55 (born April 25, 1962)

THE STAKES

Gene J. Puskar/APConor Lamb, the Democratic candidate for special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District celebrates with his supporters at his election night party on March 14, 2018, in Canonsburg, Pa.

Conor Lamb made national headlines when he kickstarted Democrats’ blue wave ambitions with a win in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District special election in March. But come November, he’s poised to face even stiffer competition.

Lamb’s home in the town of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania moves to the 17th Congressional District under the state’s new congressional map, the district within which current Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus lives.

Though Rothfus hasn’t faced a significant challenge since his first election victory in 2012, the 17th district is home to a very different group of voters than the congressman’s current 12th district. In addition to Lamb’s hometown, many of the liberal suburbs south of Pittsburgh that boosted the special election upset will join the 17th Congressional District, promising a much closer race than Rothfus might have anticipated just a few months ago.

While Lamb will certainly be boosted by his new title and now-widespread name recognition, he must first survive a primary election in May, just over two months after his special election triumph, against consultant Ray Linsenmeyer.

But Lamb quickly made inroads. Only two days after filing to run in his new district, the representative-elect won over a key group outside his current constituency, securing the endorsement of the Beaver County Democrats, who represent a country that makes up half of the 17th. And on March 27, attorney Beth Tarasi, thought to be Lamb’s strongest Democratic rival, announced she was suspending her campaign.

KEY DATES

May 15: Primary election

Nov. 6: General election

Texan Democrats hope to flip 50 year GOP House seat in Harvey devastated area

BY RACHEL SCOTT

THE PLAYERS

Rep. John Culberson

Republican

Incumbent

Age: 61 (August 24th, 1956)

Josh Butler

Democrat

Director of Development, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

James Cargas

Democrat

Attorney, Former Congressional Candidate Age: 51 (October 17, 1966)

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher

Democrat

Lawyer

Age: 43 (February 13th, 1975)

Laura Moser

Democrat

Founder, Daily Action

Former Journalist

Age: 40 (August 30, 1977)

Ivan Sanchez

Democrat

Congressional Liaison, Entrepreneur

Alex Triantaphyllis

Age: 33 (March 31, 1984)

Democrat

Director of Immigration and Economic Opportunity at BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers), a nonprofit community development organization

Jason Westin

Democrat

Oncologist

Age: N/A

THE STAKES

John L. Mone/AP PhotoCarlos Zamora shows a voter registration card from a pile placed on the counter of the Tierra Caliente taco truck in this Sept. 29, 2016 image in Houston.

Progressive energy is flowing deeply into the Houston suburbs, an area at the crossroads of immigration, changing demographics, hurricane reconstruction and rising as a top target for Democrats in 2018.

There is a push to flip this long-standing red district blue. Nine-term GOP incumbent Rep. John Culberson has represented Texas-07 since 2001, but he could be facing his toughest reelection yet.

Although a Republican has held the seat for 50 years, Clinton carried the district in the 2016 election -– a major shift in a district that voted for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. The 7th Congressional District in Texas is predominately white but about 31 percent identify as Hispanic.

Culberson has spoken in support of President Trump’s controversial travel ban calling it a “necessary pause in the refugee program” until adequate background checks are created. He also supports a bipartisan solution to the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that is “compassionate” to those brought into the country as children.

Immigration is a pressing issue in this district but there is one name that is still on the forefront of voters’ minds -– Harvey. Many families are still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey devastated this area and elected officials are hoping Congress can pass more funding to help Texans rebuild. Democrats think Republicans are falling short.

Among Culberson’s challengers are several Democrats including Laura Moser, a former journalist and the mother of the child whose photo went viral after she threw a tantrum at President Obama’s feet in the Oval Office; lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, endorsed by EMILY’s List, Colombian immigrant Ivan Sanchez and oncologist Dr. Jason Westin.

KEY DATES

March 6: primary election

Nov. 6: General Election

Utah’s Mia Love is first line of defense in GOP’s quest to defend House majority

By JOHN PARKINSON

THE PLAYERS

Rep. Mia Love

Republican

Incumbent

Age 42 (December 6, 1975)

Ben McAdams

Democrat

Salt Lake county mayor

Age: N/A

Adam Homer

Democrat

Software engineer

Age: N/A

Darlene McDonald

Democrat

Author, IT manager

Age: N/A

Tom Taylor

Democrat

Robotics engineer

Age: N/A

THE STAKES

ABC NewsCongresswoman-Elect (R-UT) Mia Love on ‘This Week’

Seizing the House majority would require Democrats to turn 24 seats from red to blue, and none are perhaps more critical than this lean-Republican district.

President Donald Trump is historically unpopular in Republican-heavy Utah. The Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County is outpacing his Democratic primary rivals in a quest to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. Mia Love, the first and only black female Republican elected to Congress, in a state where former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also expected to run for Senate.

Love, a converted Mormon who is Haitian-American, is seeking a third term in the House after winning the seat in 2014. The district was previously held by Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, but when the Blue Dog decided not to seek reelection in 2014, Love swept in to claim the seat. She successfully defended the seat by 12.5 points in 2016, defeating Doug Owens by more than 34,000 votes.

If Romney enters the Senate race, his candidacy could help neutralize Trump’s impact on Love’s prospects.

McAdams enters the race with the weight of Washington Democrats behind him, as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named him to its “Red to Blue” program, affording him the benefit of its resources, data and staff. Despite having to advance through a primary before facing Love, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer already made a campaign stop on Friday, Jan. 27 for McAdams, further demonstrating the national Democrats’ attention to Utah’s 4th Congressional district.

KEY DATES

Candidate filing deadline: March 15

Primary election: June 26

General election: Nov. 6

Republican candidate trying to outpace blue wave in Virginia’s suburbs

By BENJAMIN SIEGEL

Rep. Barbara Comstock

Republican

Incumbent

Age: 58 (June 30, 1959)

Shak Hill

Republican

Former Virginia Senate GOP candidate, publisher at Guiding Light Books.

Age: N/A

Lindsey Davis Stover

Democrat

Former Obama administration official

Age: N/A

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton

Democrat

Age: N/A

Alison Friedman

Democrat

Former State Department official who worked on anti-human trafficking efforts

Age: N/A

Deep Sran

Democrat

Founder of Loudoun School for the Gifted

Age: N/A

David Hanson

Democrat

Retired Navy Captain, intelligence officer

Age: N/A

Dan Helmer

Democrat

Army veteran, Rhodes Scholar

Age: N/A

Key Dates

Primary Filing Deadline: March 29 Primary Election: June 12th General Election: Nov. 6th

THE STAKES

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty ImagesRep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., participates in the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force news conference on the release of the 2018 legislative agenda for the 115th Congress, Jan. 10, 2018.

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia, survived her district’s flip for Hillary Clinton in 2016. After another strong showing by Democrats in her district in 2017, when Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, carried the district and several Republican state lawmakers in her district lost their seats, she’s hoping to defy political gravity yet again and ride what analysts believe will be a strong Democratic wave against President Donald Trump and GOP control of Congress.

Comstock, who worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush and first won her seat in 2014, ran ahead of Trump in 2016 by criticizing the president -– and, at one point, called on him to step aside in the presidential race after the release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape.

She’s taken public stands against Trump in the first year of his administration -– most notably during the rollout of his administration’s first travel ban -– while voting with the president’s agenda 96.9 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.

A handful of Democrats are jockeying to take on Comstock in November, including former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover, and State Sen. Jennifer Wexton.

Comstock’s district in Northern Virginia includes wealthy suburban enclaves outside of the nation’s capital -– the types of highly-educated, well-heeled communities through which Democrats hope they can retake the House.

Army of candidates running for Issa’s seat

By ESTHER CASTILLEJO

THE PLAYERS

Col. Rocky Chavez (Ret.)

Republican State Assemblyman for Oceanside and retired USMC colonel. Age: 66. (May 12, 1951)

Kristin Gaspar

Republican San Diego County supervisor and former mayor of Encinitas, CA. Age: 38 (Jan. 16, 1980).

Diane Harkey

Republican Board of Equalization Member and former Dana Point mayor. Age: 66. (June 20, 1951)

Brian Maryott

Republican San Juan Capistrano councilman, mayor pro-tem. Age: 40.

David Medway Republican Physician in Carlsbad.

Craig Nordal

Republican Realtor in Carlsbad.

Mike Schmitt

Republican Neuro-audiologist in Dana Point.

Joshua Schoonover

Republican Patent attorney in San Marcos.

Col. Doug Applegate (Ret.)

Democrat Attorney, retired USMCR colonel. Age: 64-65. (1953)

Sara Jacobs

Democrat Former State Department employee and non-profit director. Jacobs is heiress to Qualcomm. Age: 29.

Paul Kerr

Democrat Businessman, has put own money into campaign Age: 62. (June, 26, 1955)

Mike Levin

Democrat Orange County environmental attorney. Age: 39. (Oct. 20, 1978)

Joshua Hancock,

A Marine Corps veteran in Oceanside, is running as a Libertarian.

Jordan Mills,

An Oceanside union organizer is running for the Peace and Freedom Party.

THE STAKES

A flurry of candidates are vying to take over Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat in California’s 49th Congressional District – and the jury is out on who will survive the state’s “jungle” primary system that threatens to upend Democratic hopes for a House victory.

The district is up for grabs in November, as Rep. Issa (R-Calif.) announced in January he wouldn’t seek re-election after 17 years in Congress.

Stretching the northern coastal areas of San Diego up the coast to Dana Point in Southern Orange County, the district is a largely white-collar Republican enclave in the liberal state, home to country club suburban conservatives and historically considered a Republican stronghold.

With Issa out of the picture, four Democrats and eight Republicans are jockeying for a spot in the general election. But California’s top-two primary system, in which the two most-voted candidates regardless of party move through to the November vote, may prove a hurdle for both parties in the crowded primary field, and Democrats may have more to lose.

Democrats need to flip 24 seats to gain a majority in Congress, and the path to victory goes through this stretch of coastal Southern California. The 49th Congressional District is a top pickup opportunity — Clinton took the district by seven points in 2016 while Issa barely eked out a 51-49 percent win over Democrat Doug Applegate, who is running again this year.

Splintering the vote in key races could be fatal and Democrats know it.

Campaigns and state party officials have made rounds to clear the field, encouraging candidates to coalesce behind the strongest players lest two Republicans end up on the November ballot.

The fear is well-founded – in 2012 Democrats were shut out of the race in California’s 31st district when Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), then a first-time candidate, came in third while two Republicans emerged out of the primary.

Banking on growing anti-Trump fervor and changing demographics, Democrats are determined to hold on through November and turn moderates and independents. Along with Applegate, Mike Levin, Paul Kerr, and Sara Jacobs are running as Democrats. For the last three, it’s their first foray into national politics, and Kerr and Jacobs – a business owner and an heiress, respectively – have invested personal wealth in their campaigns. Three months before the primary, the pair is already running television ads.

Local politicians Diane Harkey, Kristin Gaspar and Brian Maryott are running as Republicans alongside millionaire Rocky Chavez and political newcomers Joshua Schoonover, David Medway, Craig Nordal and Mike Schmitt. Issa has thrown his support behind Harkey, and Maryott, a San Juan Capistrano councilman, has been hitting the airwaves with campaign ads.

KEY DATES

Filing deadline: March 14, 2018 Primary: June 5, 2018 General Election: Nov. 6, 2018

18 For 18’ is ABC News’ powerhouse political coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. Coverage kicks off Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” featuring a report on the 2018 midterms and the special House of Representatives election taking place next month in Pennsylvania. Coverage continues on “Nightline” on Monday. To stay up to date, visit ABCNews.com and the ABC News app, and follow our midterm elections alerts.




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