Health Care Makes 18 GOP House Seats More Competitive

I maintain in this week’s podcast that Democrats can run and win their 2018 campaigns entirely on the Republican health care bill. Cautiously backing up my claim is Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which has moved 18 Republican-held U.S. House districts to more competitive categories:

Democrats are hopeful that Republicans’ vote last week to pass the American Health Care Act provides them an argument to use in next year’s election. Only 20 House Republicans voted against the bill, which is notpollingwell and which Democrats are angling to use as a cudgel against the GOP.

The AHCA’s passage in the House serves as a news peg for us to move a number of Republican-held House districts into more competitive rating categories. That doesn’t mean the AHCA will be an anchor on GOP incumbents next year. It’s just too early to know, for reasons we’ll get into. But broader historical patterns suggest that the Democrats have a chance to win the House next year, and health care could be part of a potential winning message. This weeks’ changes align our ratings with our overall belief that the House is in play, even while noting that the true level of danger Republicans face is as yet unclear [Kyle Kondik, “House 2018: Health Care Vote Gives Democrats Another Midterm Argument,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball, 2017.05.11].

Table from Kondik 2017.05.11.
Table from Kondik 2017.05.11.

South Dakota’s at-large seat is not one of the shifters; it’s one of the 276 districts—141 Republican, 135 Democratic—that Sabato’s team considers ungettable.

It is within the remaining 159 districts, which make up about 37% of the House’s total, where majorities are won and lost. Of these districts — which includes Peterson’s even though his district is technically outside of the range specified above — Republicans control 100, and Democrats control 59. Putting as many of those 100 “on the table” is [DCCC chair Rep. Ben Ray] Luján’s goal. Democrats need to win about a quarter of those seats, 24, to win the House, while not losing any of their own seats in the process [Kondik, 2017.05.11].

But hey, Chris Martian, or other enterprising South Dakota Democrat, if you want to put South Dakota’s House seat into Sabato’s gettable column, Kristi Noem and Donald Trump are writing your campaign script for you.

9 Responses to Health Care Makes 18 GOP House Seats More Competitive

  1. Erik Paulsen s in trouble in Minnesota in a suburban Minneapolis district that Hillary won big. He is hiding from his constituents and won’t do any town halls. His vote for the millionaire taxcut bill masquerading as a healthcare bill has blown up his Facebook page with very angry negative comments from constituents. His support for everything else Trump supports isn’t helping him either, and this American Millionaire Taxcut Act vote may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Paulsen is now desperately trying to salvage his re-election chances by calling for an independent investigation of Trump’s Russian ties. To call Paulsen embattled is an understatement.

  2. Ror, do Dems have a challenger for Paulsen?

  3. Oh my, from Jennifer Rubin, no less, the republican stalwart writing in today’s Washington Post.

    “The 2016 election demonstrated that the party once united by political thought (e.g., smaller government, objective truth, respect for tradition, the rule of law) and respect for civic virtue would accept a thoughtless, entirely unscrupulous leader for the sake of holding power. (“Sure, he’s totally ignorant about the world, but we’ll get the Supreme Court.” “Well, he’s obviously lying about a bunch of issues, but he’ll sign whatever the House gives him.“) En masse, most Republicans — including those at some premier publications (which are now unreadable to all but the Trump cultists) — declared willingness to defend ignorance, bigotry, dishonesty and ineptitude on the chance that they’d get a top marginal tax rate of 28 percent. The calculation, to those not driven by partisan zeal, seems shockingly small-minded and tribalistic. (At least Hillary Clinton’s not there to raise taxes!) One marvels at other trades they’d make. (Lose an independent judiciary for sake of a meaningless and offensive travel ban?”

    When Jennifer Rubin gets it, the cat is out of the bag.

    So there you go South Dakotan’s there ya go. Now you know clearly why NOem, Thune and Rounds and the rest of the wealthy elites support the clown in the White House, it’s all about the money and you ain’t gettin any. They want you dead so you cannot keep draining their bank accounts. Die Already, is their clear political direction.

  4. It is so on target from a republican that has the nerve to speak honestly, I just had to put a little more in. Thanks Jennifer Rubin, the country thanks you as well. We all just wonder how a red state can actually continue to be a red state as being russian influenced. republicans have gone from a party to a cult that is really not much different than the followers of Jim Jones in Guyana.

    “Republican Party identification has begun requiring intellectual vacuity. One has to be free from shame to agree that it’s no big deal when Trump confesses he fired former FBI director James B. Comey because he decided Russian interference in the election was “just a made-up story.” A slew of FBI agents is now investigating the “made-up story,” the entire intelligence community verifies it and members of both parties acknowledge that it occurred. To go along with such utterances means condoning Trump’s inability to accept reality (Russia did, in fact, meddle) and refusing to concede that pressuring and then firing the FBI director must be impeachable, if not criminal, conduct. This mind-set forces Trump defenders to say daft things such as: Trump has the right to fire Comey, so what’s the problem? Democrats didn’t like Comey, anyway. It doesn’t matter that he gave a pretextual answer for the firing.”

    Rubin goes on to say that “Congress should immediately issue a subpoena for all tapes of presidential conversations, just to be on the safe side.” History does tend to repeat itself as we have seen this movie before, though not as bad and as deeply corrupted as this is.

  5. I would say Paulsen is in trouble, Cory. I’m not in his district but Rohr is right. The DFL is hitting him hard. They’re having vocal town halls without him and of people are showing up.

    SDDP, this is how you stand up and make your voice heard. Watch this video of the MN DFL getting their game on!

  6. Apparently Erik Paulsen hasn’t had a live town hall meeting in seven years.

  7. Miranda Gohn

    It might be a good time to go to a printing shop and have cardboard cutouts of these absentee legislators made and have publicized constituent meetings. Paulson would be a great one. At least Emmer showed up and it was a respectful exchange. The problem is that their staff purposely reserve a smaller hall and many constituents do not get in. They end up standing outside and are not given the opportunity to participate.

  8. DFL on the attack—that’s good to hear! And I agree: that is part of the attack the SDDP should adopt against Noem, Krebs, and Johnson.

    Cardboard cutouts—hee hee! That tactic didn’t help Annette beat Mike… but then she wasn’t really trying to win.

  9. Miranda Gohn

    The Cardboard cutouts would be fun to have. Minnesota is a different political environment and the press with all the various outlets may have fun writing about it too.