For the first time since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, Democrats have a good chance of taking back the House of Representatives in 2018.
Republicans currently hold a 24-seat majority in the House, where they have held some sort of majority since the 2010 GOP “wave” election which saw many far-right “Tea Party” conservatives win seats.
If Democrats are able to take the House, they will be in the position to put up major road blocks for most of Trump’s legislative agenda. And – perhaps more importantly for some activist Democrats – with control of the House, Democrats could initiate impeachment proceedings if they wanted to (and some definitely want to).
Although many high-priority House races are destined to wade into the conversation of national issues, ultimately each House race is a district by district ball game.
Here’s 10 House races to watch in 2018 – in no particular order – as we keep an eye out for Democrats to make some big wins.
10 House Races to Watch in 2018
1. California 49th District – Darrell Issa (R)
Nine-term Republican Rep. Darrell Issa hung on to his southern California seat in 2016 by just a half point — or 1,600 votes — in a district that went for Clinton by eight points last November. He is not only one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House, he’s one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country.
2. California 48th District – Dana Rohrabacher (R)
In 2016, Clinton won Rohrabacher’s southern California district and the three-term congressman is already facing a few well-financed Democratic opponents. Also, Rohrabacher has been criticized for his relationship to Julian Assange and some Russian officials – not to mention he has been accused of violating US sanctions against Russia.
3. California 25th District – Steve Knight (R)
This district sits in Northern Los Angeles and Simi Valley – which has been becoming more and more Democratic for years. Knight is yet another Republican who held onto his seat by the grace of God in 2016, while Hillary Clinton swept the district – making it the perfect target for Democrats.
4. New York 19th District – John Faso (R)
This district voted for Trump in 2016 – but Barack Obama before that. Faso’s constituents are also furious with his decision to support Affordable Care Act Repeal.
Seven Democrats are already vying to challenge Faso.
5. Virginia 10th District – Barbara Comstock (R)
Virginia has been trending blue for a number of years now, and in 2017 Democrats saw some huge wins there, including the Governorship with Ralph Northam. Barbara Comstock’s 10th district is no different, and a group of Democratic challengers have already raised big bucks.
6. Florida 26th District – Carlos Curbelo (R)
Carlos Curbelo is no stranger to tough challenges. In 2016, he survived an onslaught of $6 million in outside spending – but Hillary Clinton won the district by 16 points. Curbelo was able to effectively distance himself from Trump in the presidential election, but can he keep his distance in 2018?
7. Wisconsin 1st District – Paul Ryan (R)
It’s a little early to tell whether polls indicating Paul Ryan is in for a tough re-election will end up being correct. The last time Paul Ryan faced a challenger he mopped the floor with him. Paul Nehlen – a who tried to ride Donald Trump’s coattails into a victory over Ryan from the right – ended up losing when Ryan took 84% of the vote.
But Democrat and Union Ironworker Randy Bryce might be a different story (mostly in that he is a serious candidate). So far he has out raised any other Democrat in the nation, but as many as 79% of likely voters don’t know enough about him to determine wether they would vote for him over Ryan. But the same poll also showed that voters were open to learning more about him. Bryce better think carefully how he spends that dough.
8. Texas 7th District – John Culberson (R)
There was a brief moment in 2016 when Hillary Clinton thought she could maybe win Texas. Hope was eventually snuffed out, but Texas remains a state of rapidly shifting demographics.
Rep. Culberson seems to not have realized that yet. He has yet to hire a full-time campaign manager according to the New York Times, and last quarter he was outraised by two Democrats, Alex Triantaphyllis and Pannill Fletcher.
9. Nevada 4th District – Open
Incumbent Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D) announced he would not seek re-election for 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Nevada’s 4th district is already a battleground to begin with – now that it’s wide open, it’s only going to be an even tougher race.
10. Minnesota 8th District – Rick Nolan (D)
Incumbent Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan is no stranger to tough fights – but in 2016, Donald Trump won his district handily. There’s only a few otherwise Democratic districts across the country that fit that description in 2018, and Republicans are going to be ready to go to the mat for them. Minnesota’s 8th district is no different.
Bonus: California Dreaming
In the 2016 presidential election, no state dealt Donald Trump as decisive a blow as California. Even otherwise red districts like Orange County rejected Trump handily.
The Democratic Party has identified nine districts in California to be battlegrounds, and the state can’t take back the without winning at least a few of them, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile California also has a heated Governor’s race between the current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
By the end of the year, the country’s most populous state could have a new political landscape – and that’s definitely worth watching.