STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

10 House seats that could flip due to Republican retirements

Democrats searching for the 24 seats they need to flip to win control of the House in the 2018 midterms are increasin...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 7:29 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 7:29 AM

Democrats searching for the 24 seats they need to flip to win control of the House in the 2018 midterms are increasingly seeing openings in districts where tough-to-beat Republicans are retiring.

So far, 31 House Republicans are either retiring or running for other offices. That's more than double the 15 Democrats who are not running for re-election.

Several Democratic retirements have given Republicans big openings

But in a wave election, the GOP seats will be among the most hotly contested

Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined the list of retirees this week. Rep. Martha McSally is set to become the 32nd departure when she launches her Senate campaign Friday.

Why do retirements matter so much? Because it's much harder for the challenging party - in 2018's case, the Democrats - to beat an incumbent than to win an open seat. The Cook Political Report has useful data that lays this out.

There are several Democratic retirements that have given Republicans big openings, too: Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz's departure could allow the GOP to take a district that President Donald Trump won by 15 points in 2016. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's New Hampshire district has a long history of switching hands. And Rep. Jacky Rosen's decision to run for the Senate in Nevada opens up a competitive seat there, as well.

But in a wave election - the kind that crashed the 1994, 2006 and 2010 midterms and could be building amid a backlash to Trump's presidency - the Republican-held seats will be among the most hotly contested in the country.

Here are the 10 biggest Republican retirements so far, ranked in order of how significantly they shook up the House battleground map:

1. Rep. Ed Royce -- California 39th

Welcome to Orange County, the most important region on the 2018 House map, with five Republican-held seats in the area that Democrats are targeting.

Royce cruised to re-election by 14 percentage points in 2016 despite Democrat Hillary Clinton winning his district by 9 points.

So the announcement Monday that Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will retire means Democrats suddenly have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this educated, diverse, suburban region's rapid move leftward over recent elections.

Not having to face the $3.5 million Royce had in the bank makes it even better news for Democrats. Republicans have several options here with local and state-level experience. But six Democrats are in the race, including Gil Cisneros, a $266 million lottery winner, and Andy Thornburn, a health insurance executive who has loaned his own campaign $2 million.

2. Rep. Dave Reichert -- Washington 8th

Another tough-to-beat Republican incumbent is leaving a seat where Democrats have had a recent advantage.

Clinton won Reichert's suburban Seattle district by 3 points and former President Barack Obama bested Mitt Romney here by 2 points in 2012.

Republican interim state senator and perennial candidate Dino Rossi will try to hold the seat against one of the nine Democratic candidates currently running.

3. Rep. Frank LoBiondo -- New Jersey 2nd

LoBiondo won his seat in the 1994 wave election and rarely slipped below 60% in his re-election campaigns.

So even though his district went for Trump by 5 points in 2016, his retirement is a major opportunity for Democrats -- particularly since Obama carried the district by 8 points in 2012.

The leading Democratic candidate is one of the party's top recruits in the nation: state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who is likely too conservative for many progressives but is well-known in the district.

4. Rep. Martha McSally -- Arizona 2nd

McSally faced a difficult race against Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who ran for the Senate against John McCain in 2016, in a Tucson-based district Clinton won by 5 points. So she opted for a run for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake's seat instead.

McSally is set to announce her candidacy Friday, Republicans familiar with her plans told CNN.

Republicans are optimistic about Lea M-rquez-Peterson, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president. But with McSally yet to make her plans official, the field might not yet have fully developed.

5. Rep. Iliana Ros-Lehtinen -- Florida 27th

This is a huge opportunity for Democrats to pick off a district that already ought to be in their column: Clinton won it by 20 points - even as the popular Ros-Lehtinen was re-elected by 10 points - and Obama won by 7 points in 2012.

In what looks increasingly like a wave election, the math suggests this Miami-area district should be among the first to flip, no matter who emerges from both parties' crowded primary fields.

6. Rep. Dave Trott -- Michigan 11th

This district - which loops awkwardly around Detroit in a prime example of gerrymandering - is Republican-leaning, but not by much. Trump won here by 4 points in 2016 and Romney won by 5 points in 2012.

Among the five Democratic candidates, technology executive Suneel Gupta raised $500,000 in the last quarter and state Rep. Tim Greimel is also running.

Former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who lost his seat to Trott in a 2014 primary, is among the Republicans running now that Trott is retiring.

7. Rep. Charlie Dent -- Pennsylvania 15th

Dent's Lehigh Valley clearly leans rightward, thanks to the presence of Democratic voters who are more conservative than most nationally: Trump won it by 8 points, and Romney won it by 3 points.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli joined the Democratic field of six other candidates this week. Five Republicans are also in the race, including state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie.

8. Rep. Lynn Jenkins -- Kansas 2nd

Why is a district that Trump won by 18 points on this list? Mostly because of the presence of former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis as the leading Democrat in the race.

State Sens. Caryn Tyson and Steve Fitzgerald and state Rep. Kevin Jones are among the Republican candidates.

9. Rep. Steve Pearce -- New Mexico 2nd

Pearce's decision to run for governor gives Democrats an opportunity in the southern half of New Mexico, where Trump won by 10 points and Romney won by 7 points in 2012.

This district belongs firmly in the "wave watch" category. If it flips, then Democrats have probably taken the House -- and it's probably not that close.

(Another fit in this category is the Florida 6th, where Rep. Ron DeSantis is running for governor and Democrats are high on Nancy Soderberg, a former ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser under President Bill Clinton.)

10. Rep. Timothy Murphy, Pennsylvania 18th

This is a special election set for March 18. It's a heavily Republican district that Trump won by 20 points -- but Murphy resigned in disgrace amid allegations that he had an extramarital affair with a woman who he then encouraged to have an abortion.

Democratic 33-year-old former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb takes on Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone. Lamb has said he wouldn't support Rep. Nancy Pelosi for House speaker.

Are Republicans worried? The Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC has opened two offices in the district.

This one -- like a spate of House special elections in 2017 -- looks like it could break optimistic Democrats' hearts. But a Lamb win would send the national GOP into panic mode.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4243

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah116559
Marion96025
Washington73917
Clackamas31211
Deschutes1250
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane733
Yamhill707
Jackson660
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Jefferson330
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine231
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111951

Reported Deaths: 4172
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles550012362
Riverside7486323
San Diego7481269
Orange6261147
San Bernardino5246204
Alameda339096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco258842
Kern225038
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa145037
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7464
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5534
Monterey53010
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2159
Santa Cruz2132
Yolo21124
Napa1123
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Sutter462
Del Norte450
Butte440
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Amador190
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Few Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 80°
Brookings
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
Crater Lake
Few Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 67°
Grants Pass
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 79°
Klamath Falls
Few Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 67°
Warm Monday, isolated showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

SOU issues statement regarding zoom event planned for tomorrow

Image

SO Strong: Jones & Associates

Image

Local law enforcement condemns tactics in George Floyd's death

Image

Monday, June 1 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, June 1 morning weather

Image

Klamath Falls Protest

Image

Sunday, May 31 evening weather

Image

Protests fill the streets of downtown Ashland

Image

Sunday, May 31 morning weather

Image

Saturday, May 20 evening weather