Campaigns

DCCC adds six more Trump districts to its 2020 target list

House Democrats are expanding their potential battlefield to 39 seats

The House Democrats’ campaign arm is targeting Virginia GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more districts to the list of seats it’s targeting in 2020. 

After gaining a net of 40 seats last fall, the House Democrats’ campaign arm released its initial 2020 target list in January that included 32 GOP-held seats and the open seat in North Carolina’s 9th District, which is holding a special election next month.

The six new additions, obtained first by CQ Roll Call, include three seats currently represented by a Republican, one seat held by an independent, one seat where the Republican incumbent isn’t running for reelection and one where the Democratic incumbent is retiring.

President Donald Trump carried all six of these districts, signaling that Democrats think down-ballot candidates will find success in areas where Hillary Clinton could not in 2016. Inclusion on this list doesn’t necessarily mean national Democrats will spend money in all of these districts. They’ll also need to defend 31 of their own seats that Trump carried in 2016. 

The new additions to the DCCC target list are:

Florida’s 16th District

National Democrats added the 2018 nominee to its Red to Blue list for strong recruits, but Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan still won a seventh term last fall by 9 points. Trump carried this Gulf Coast district by 11 points in 2016, but it’s more suburban and educated than the rest of the Sunshine State. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican

Iowa’s 2nd District

Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack is not seeking an eighth term in 2020. He held on to this district in 2016, even as it swung to Trump, who carried it by 4 points. While Loebsack had no trouble winning reelection last fall, Republicans are making the 2nd a top target this cycle. Inside Elections rates the race a Toss-up

Michigan’s 3rd District

This district wouldn’t have been on the Democrats’ radar had Rep. Justin Amash not declared his independence from the GOP last month. Democrats anticipate that a three-way race, with Amash running as an independent, could create an opening for their candidate to break through. Trump carried the district by 9 points. Former President Barack Obama narrowly carried the district in 2008, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Inside Elections rates the race Leans Republican

Montana’s At-Large District

With GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte having filed to run for governor, Democrats think they might have a crack at this open seat, which Democrats contested in the 2017 special election and last year’s midterms. But despite winning statewide at the Senate and gubernatorial level in Montana, this House seat has proven elusive for Democrats. Trump carried Montana by 21 points in 2016, and Inside Elections rates the race Solid Republican

Ohio’s 12th District

GOP Rep. Troy Balderson narrowly won a special election here last summer and held the seat in the November general election. Democrats see another chance in a well-educated district, where suburban voters may have soured on the president. Trump carried the district by 11 points. Inside Elections rates the race Likely Republican.  

Virginia’s 5th District

Freshman Republican Denver Riggleman won this seat last fall by about 7 points, while Trump carried it by 11 points two years earlier. But Democrats see it moving in their direction, and national Republicans expended resources here both in 2016 and 2018 to keep the seat red. Inside Elections rates the race Solid Republican

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