Dave Loebsack

Ratings Changes in 15 House Races
Expanding battleground benefits Democrats

With 14 months to go before Election Day, the House battleground continues to take shape. Even though there is some uncertainty about what the political climate will look like next fall and whether normal historical midterm trends will hold under President Donald Trump, the House playing field is expanding, almost entirely in the Democrats’ direction.

As we’ve mentioned plenty of times before (and will likely repeat over and over again), history puts the Republican Party at a disadvantage: The president’s party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, with an average loss of 33 seats. Democrats need to gain 24 seats next year for a majority.

Tim Ryan: ‘We’ll See’ About White House Run
Ohio congressman asked in New Hampshire about his long game

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said he is focused on helping “forgotten America” and workers displaced by globalization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan did not rule out a White House run when asked over the weekend in New Hampshire if he would pursue the presidency in 2020.

Ryan was invited to speak at New Hampshire’s Young Democrats’ cookout last week, the latest in a round of speeches and campaigning across the country.

What’s Ohio’s Tim Ryan Up To?
Youngstown Democrat in media spotlight again — and on the trail

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan greets voters in South Carolina's 5th District, where he campaigned earlier this month for Democratic candidate Archie Parnell. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

The weekend before South Carolina’s special election, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan had been thrown into the lion’s den — “literally,” he joked. 

As a surrogate for an under-the-radar Democratic candidate in the 5th District race, the congressman from Youngstown, Ohio, was addressing a Lions Club candidate forum in a gated community south of Charlotte, North Carolina, where the room was mostly white, elderly and Republican.

Democrats Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018
DCCC names 19 incumbents to Frontline Program

New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, chairwoman of the DCCC’s Frontline Program, is herself a Frontline member heading into 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday is naming 19 members to the Frontline Program for its most vulnerable incumbents in 2018.

The initial Frontline roster, obtained first by Roll Call, is about half freshman members. Eight members won in districts President Donald Trump carried last fall. And all of them, save for one, are National Republican Congressional Committee initial targets.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

The Incredible Shrinking Split Tickets
Midterm campaign field starts with just 35 crossover House districts

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican up for re-election in 2018 in a state not carried by Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the latest evidence of the nation’s polarized politics, the granular returns from November offer these slivers of bright purple insight:

Voters in just 35 congressional districts, or 8 percent of the total, elected a House member from one party while preferring the presidential candidate of the other party — the second election in a row where the share of ticket-splitting seats was in the single digits. Before that, 1920 was the last time the number of such crossover districts fell below one out of every nine.

Word on the Hill: Happy Holidays
See you in 2017!

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, right, gives a tour of the Capitol Rotunda to friends on Tuesday. Let us know what other members are up to over the holidays. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whether you’re staying in D.C. or traveling, I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!

Word on the Hill will be on a break until Jan. 3, 2017.