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Are Republicans really at serious risk of losing the House?

Are Republicans really at serious risk of losing the House?

Cook Report rating changes in 12 Districts fuel the narrative.

The Cook Political Report (CPR), a non-partisan group that analyzes elections, has changed the ratings in 12 districts across the country for the House 2018 elections as Democrats gain strength.

It’s important to note that the ratings have not gone directly to Democrat, but it shows that these districts have become vulnerable. Only one went from solid Democrat to likely Democrat, a plus for the Republicans.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned on Friday that if the GOP-controlled Congress doesn’t accomplish anything, they face a “bloodbath” in the 2018 midterms. They’ve already failed to repeal Obamacare and tax reform looks iffy, especially with only a two seat majority in the Senate.

Lean Republican to Toss Up


Rep. Martha McSally represents Arizona’s second district, which contains Tucson, Conchise County. CPR has called this district a must win if the Democrats want to retake the House.

McSally has developed a reputation as a moderate Republican, which helped her win re-election in 2016 even though Hillary Clinton won the district. But CPR said that her support for the House GOP Obamacare repeal bill may damage her reputation, but some have said that she voted for the repeal as a way “to preserve her viability in a future statewide GOP primary.” She may also run for Sen. John McCain’s senate seat if he cannot finish his term due to health concerns.

If McSally decides to run for re-election, she faces former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who decided to move to Tucson after she did not win her challenge against McCain:

Kirkpatrick is running as an unabashed progressive defender of the ACA and has the support of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly. She’ll also seek to deflect the carpetbagger label by talking about moving to Tucson to care for her family based there, including two grandchildren who were recently born prematurely months after the 2016 election. It also helps that she’s advertised in Tucson in all of her congressional races.

Kirkpatrick won’t have a free ride in the primary: 2016 nominee Matt Heinz is probably her most serious competition, but former Assistant Army Secretary Mary Matiella, former state Rep. Bruce Wheeler and hotel manager Billy Kovacs are running too. However, Giffords’s endorsement of Kirkpatrick will be difficult for others to overcome. If Democrats are to take back the House, this is a must-win race.


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has represented California’s 48th district since 1948, which has coastal Orange County. He has been a moderate with a reputation as a “surfing, pro-marijuana conservative” that has fit well with his constituents.

But a few things have changed within the district, which has changed Rohrabacher, but CPR believes these “could amount to self-sabotage.” CPR notes that he has spoken “sympathetic comments towards Russia” and has had some “strange interactions with Julian Assange and internet conspiracy theorist Chuck Johnson.” The Democrats have jumped on this:

Democrats in DC are thrilled with Hans Keirstead, a stem cell and cancer researcher who founded a biotech company that was sold for $126 million. Keirstead will talk about helping spinal cord injury victims recover function and the need to cut through FDA red tape. He’s not just new to politics, he’s new to the country: he grew up in Canada, still speaks with a Canadian accent and only became a U.S. citizen in 2008.

Keirstead is confident he can get past real estate businessman Harley Rouda in the primary and peel off Rohrabacher’s corporate support, but his political skills are still unproven to say the least. Rohrabacher allies insist voters aren’t focused on Russia and appreciate his “independent streak,” but Democrats can also make the case that 30 years in Congress is too long. This is one of Democrats’ best takeover opportunities in California.


Iowa’s first district also went from Republican to a tossup, which includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque. Rep. Rod Blum has kept the seat, even though the district has left-leaning tendencies. However, he only won re-election by 54% and came under heat when he stormed “out of a TV interview while he was surrounded by schoolchildren.”

Blum may face a challenge by a young state female representative:

At 28, Dubuque state Rep. Abby Finkenauer would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She hails from a union family and has EMILY’s List’s endorsement, and looks like the frontrunner over former Labor Department official Thomas Heckroth in the primary. Finkenauer would make for a jarring contrast with Blum, who is more than twice her age and personally wealthy. This is shaping up to be another highly competitive race.

Utah’s Mia Love

I was shocked to see her name on this list.

Utah fourth district’s Mia Love shot to fame in 2012 when she first ran for Congress and only lost by 1,000 votes. She won the seat in 2014 and in 2016 when she received more votes in her district than did President Donald Trump. CPR noted that Love has toned down “her initial reputation as a spotlight seeker,” but she still has a ways to go to nail down the seat.

CPR also mentioned that Trump’s unpopularity in Utah has changed the seat from strong Republican to likely Republican:

In a major coup for Democrats, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is on the verge of running against Love. McAdams, 42, won the top county office in 2012 and 2016 and already represents 85 percent of UT-04 (although UT-04 is much more Republican than the county). McAdams has built a unique brand as a wonky, nerdy Mormon Democrat, raised over $1 million in past races and cultivated relationships with Republican mayors.

McAdams, an attorney, will likely focus on local needs like transportation and infrastructure funding and paint Love as an inaccessible obstructionist who has sided with the Tea Party over Salt Lake’s business community on issues like reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. His allies contend he’ll be harder to pigeonhole as “Nancy Pelosi’s dream” than Love’s previous opponents because voters already know him as a pragmatist.

Solid Democrat to Likely Democrat

Arizona’s ninth district is usually a solid Democrat seat, but that has changed to likely Democrat since Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has decided to run for the Senate. This could be a chance for the GOP to grab this seat that contains east Phoenix, Tempe, and parts of Scottsdale:

In the wake of Sinema’s Senate bid, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton quickly jumped into the race. He’s the clear frontrunner for both the primary and general election, although Democratic former state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell is mentioned too.

However, the open seat also gives Republicans hope they can put it in play, and they’ve got a credible candidate in Steve Ferrara, a physician and Afghanistan veteran who served as the Navy’s chief medical officer. This seat has a history of supporting moderate Republicans, so Ferrara’s campaign is worth watching, but this could be mission impossible if 2018 turns into a Democratic wave.


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The 2018 election is still a long way off and a lot can change. I wouldn’t shed any tears if McSally lost.

ugottabekiddinme | October 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Washington’s 8th District is an open seat in 2018, as long-serving former sheriff Dave Reichert has announced his retirement.

I have heard some local GOP folks confidently say it’s a safe (R) seat. Popular state Sen. Dino Rossi has announced he’s running, but the Democrats are hoping for an upset there.

Rossi, you may remember, had the governor’s race stolen from him in favor of Chris Gregoire when the first count had him winning by a few hundred votes, but then the King County vote counters kept “uncovering” more untallied ballots, some in the trunk of some poll worker’s car, until they finally had “found” enough (129 margin) to award the win to the Democrat.

Rossi, beware!! And the same goes for all the other Republicans.

The boehner/ryan/mcconnell/mccain/graham/corker etc bad magic at work.

The truth is, rino bastards wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep losing the House to the left – so long as they keep their perks.

The GOP/GOPe is as poisoned as our educational system – worse, in fact: leftist educators never promised their allegiance to anyone except the democrats.

Both need to purged desperately.

Yes, they are in danger of losing the House. People are pissed off at the Republicans. The Republicans have been stabbing Trump in the back every chance they get. The Republicans think people don’t notice or are on the side of the Republicans.

People are noticing and are not on the side of the Republicans. Even Republicans who may not think highly of Trump are getting upset at the Republicans in Congress.

We have the Senate, House, and White House and it’s not being taken advantage of by the Republicans. They should have had bill after bill landing on Trumps desk. He would pretty much sign off on everything as he’s not the conservative the left likes to claim he is.

Why vote Republican when they still won’t do anything with a Republican President?

The Democrats would not make this mistake. In fact they didn’t when Obama first became President. It’s how we got Obamacare.

    Milhouse in reply to Blueshot. | October 16, 2017 at 2:30 am

    They should have had bill after bill landing on Trumps desk.

    How, when the Ds filibuster everything?

    Getting rid of the filibuster is not an option, both because there is no majority for doing so and because it’s a really bad idea, and we would miss it sorely the next time the Ds gained control. Those who claim the Ds will get rid of it the next chance they get must first explain why they didn’t do it the last chance they had. The Rs were taking full advantage of it, and the Ds just sat back and let them, because they didn’t want to lose it when they would need it; so what will be different next time?

      Edward in reply to Milhouse. | October 16, 2017 at 8:00 am

      While I usually agree with your posts, unless you are calling McCain, Collins and Murkowski Democrats the Democrats aren’t stopping everything via the (alleged) filibuster. Not to mention the sorry lack of confirmation of Judicial appointments, which can’t be filibustered. And McConnell could change the ridiculous way filibusters currently operate (I filibuster, then nothing further is required of the Senator declaring the filibuster and the Senate immediately moves on to other business). If McConnell and the putative Republican majority would require an actual filibuster (i.e. continuous oration by the filibustering Senator, no moving on to other bills, no going home for the night or weekend, etc.), with the 30 hours of debate allowed under current rules for a bill being enforced, there would be no problem of filibustering bills.

      Come to think of it, McLame would almost certainly vote against “changing the time honored rules of the Senate” to actually require a filibuster to be a filibuster (unless the MSM or their political arm, the Democrat Party, wanted the change).

      ConradCA in reply to Milhouse. | October 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      After the Progressive Fascists avoided the filibuster for Obamacare the Republicans should do the same for their important legislation.

      Comprehensive immigration reform

      Make being an illegal a felony punished by 3 years in prison on the first offense, 9 on the second and 27 on the third.
      Make providing gov aid to illegals a federal felony where each instance is a separate offense and served consecutively. Sanctuary cities, welfare and employment are proscribed by this.

      Election reform
      Make voting illegally and assisting someone to vote illegally a felony punished by 30 years in prison.
      Attach each ballot with the ID of the voter and require that the FBI track down illegal voters.
      Outlaw the Democratic technique of winning elections by finding misplaced ballots to turn election in their favor.

If the GOP is not careful, they will be voted out in favor of conservatives.

I’m not sure if the CPR is actually analyzing the right factors in future political races.

Traditional Democrat v Republican and liberal v conservative contests are no longer viable measures of performance. Many of the Trump voters were not Republicans or even conservatives. They were voting against the Establishment, which is composed of almost all the politicians in DC; Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. And, they really do not care if a politician claims to be a conservative or not. If he, or she, supports the Establishment and/or works against the Trump agenda, they are not likely to vote for that candidate. And, if they do not vote for a Republican candidate, the solid Democratic base will surely vote FOR the Democrat. Guess which party ends up with the seat, in that case.

A very good chance exists that the Republicans will lose one or both houses of Congress in 2018.

I am pretty sure that Dana Rohrabacher has not represented California’s 48th district since 1948. For one thing, California had only 23 Congress-critters in those happier times.

Subotai Bahadur | October 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

The Republican Party would be overjoyed to lose one or both Houses as it would, in their view, totally absolve them of any responsibility of opposing anything the Democrats do. That loss may be the last success that the Republicans ever have.

They think that Trump and his supporters are bad. When it is undeniable that there is no electoral way left to oppose the Democrats, Democrats are going to wish that the worst that they have to face is Trump.

    “Democrats are going to wish that the worst that they have to face is Trump….”

    We can only hope we can say the same things about the elected rats calling themselves ‘republicans.’

      Subotai Bahadur in reply to | October 16, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Your pardon. I was not sufficiently clear. There are the “Democrat-Democrats” and the “Republican-Democrats”, both being wings of the same Unified Government Party [UniParty]. Both will be wishing.

Paul In Sweden | October 15, 2017 at 9:49 pm

My interest is with the GOP primary races. That is where it is at. If incumbent RINOs are not changed on the ticket, a lot of people will have other things to do on election day. There is no reason to support establishment GOPers that have no interest in the decisions and priorities of the voters. I vote absentee out of Vermont so there really is nothing for me to be excited about regarding my own personal vote. But I still plug away, and call Senators and Reps, talking with their staff around the country when an issue sufficiently strikes me.

Mia Love blew it by falling lockstep with the GOPe.
She showed she is not a warrior, but an opportunist of sorts.

Too bad-she had potential. Maybe she’ll find her way back by showing guts.

    I think she must’ve fallen victim to her inexperience.
    Celebrity candidates without much legislative experience get overwhelmed by “the Show” and seek a big wing to hide under. McConnell and Co. are very willing to provide one.

    The best people to send to D.C. are state legislators.

Will republicans lose the house? No. However, the current batch of republicans in both houses of congress are in severe risk of losing their hallowed seats in their primary races unless they get off their duffs and follow through on the promises they made over the last 8 years. Trump is doing what he can without congress, but there is only so much he can or should do. obama built a house of cards on a stack of executive orders. Congress needs to unscrew itself and start helping Trump sign some laws.

    Exactly. Executive Orders can last for as short a period as the inauguration of the next President, as Trump is proving. Not that statutes can’t be changed, but it takes more than one man with a pen and a phone to change the law.

    mailman in reply to clayusmcret. | October 16, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I think the left and Never Trumpers miss this point complete. IF some of Trumps promises are not delivered during his first term (health insurance and tax etc) then its not Trump who is going t be held accountable BUT the GOPe itself because they are the ones who are not delivering on their promises.

    The left has convinced itself that this will be Trumps undoing BUT they will be wrong. Anything he hasn’t delivered he will squarely, and rightly so, sit it on the shoulders of the GOPe who have been anything but helpful, or even honest and truthful when it came time to deliver on their promises.

WE THE PEOPLE voted President Trump to take back America and gave the House/Senate/SOTUS to the Republicans. What have they done with the win ,,, NOTHING !! Come the 2018 elections , they WILL lose their seats. Anyone running against the Establishment will have a great chance of winning.

The GOPe is in danger of losing power BUT that doesn’t mean it will be the Democrats benefit. Quite the opposite and should the Tea Party etc get themselves sorted for 2018 this could be the turning point in the first of two terms Trump will have in power.

The GOPe should be petrified BUT they only have themselves to blame for being nothing more than the Democrat party spelt with a capital L for the veil they have been wearing has well and truly slipped.

I know that everyone gets excited about Republican primary challengers to Establishment incumbents. But, a win by the challenger, in the primary, may not carry over to a win for Republicans in the general.

Look, the Establishment controls both the Republican and Democrat parties. And, at the moment, this country has two main political groups, the Establishment and the anti-Establishment camps. The Establishment has two chances to win in any election, as they control the Democrats and the traditional Republican parties. So, for an anti-Establishment Republican candidate to win an election, he has to first enter the republican primary race. He then has to defeat the Establishment Republican candidate in the primary. Then he has to defeat the Democrat candidate in the general election. If he can defeat the Establishment candidate in the primary, who will likely be more heavily funded and have the Republican apparatus behind him, he is going to have to carry ALL of the republican voters with him into the general. This may happen. However, if it doesn’t, if those who supported the Establishment Republican stay home, then he has a big problem. Because the vast majority of Democrat voters will vote for the Democrat candidate. If the percentage of registered Democrats is even close to the number of registered Republicans, then guess who wins the election. Establishment Republicans may well be voted out of office in 2018, if they face an anti-establishment challenger in the primaries. But, this does not assure that challenger will persevere in the general election. This is what the Democrats, and possibly the Establishment Republican leadership, are betting on.

I don’t think Cook is looking at this from our point of view. Of course, we would love to primary the RINOs and win from there. But if our primary people do not win then Cook is assuming that we will then vote for the Demorat! This is not going to happen. It’s like saying those people who read or saw anti hillary ads on FaceBook switched to Trump voters. We all know that didn’t happen. They may not have voted at all but if anyone liked Trump of hillary they sure didn’t like the other. I do not think there will be that many seats lost on the R side because those voters are not going to switch to the D side even if they hate the R. I didn’t like Trump but I sure as hell wasn’t going to vote for hillary! EVER!

My republican rep is retiring, but I would have voted against her. Traitors go before enemies. Anyways, our district voted against Trump and the republicans who are running are sleazy so this district looks like it will flip.