Final 2018 House Ratings Show Democrats Set To Gain 40+ Seats in Midterms


When the 2018 election cycle began, overcoming a 23 seat deficit in the House was seen as a potentially insurmountable challenge for Democrats, but increasing polarization against Trump and the Republican party in the Midwest, Northeast, and America’s populous suburbs has made it clear that the Republican house majority will be at worst, significantly eroded, and most likely entirely erased in just one election cycle. Independent voters backing the “out” party in a rejection of the status quo, a motivated Democratic voting base, and a strong gender gap favoring Democrats is going to cost Republicans dearly across the country, which is why so many GOP incumbents retired rather than facing a hostile electorate in their districts. That said, the Republican base has woken up in the past month, shoring up Republicans standing in places where they are the majority party, even if the local Republican congressional candidate is flawed and being heavily outspent by grossly overfunded Democratic campaigns.

Democrats have tried to run a campaign hitting on voter concerns on healthcare, taxes, and government corruption, but Republicans have been able to fight back with sharp base and partisan appeals, while their third party groups and PACs have worked seat by seat to discredit Democratic challengers. In summation, it probably won’t be enough to save the GOP house majority, but Democrats are going to come up short of the landslide that was possible this cycle, and very well may have been better off embracing polarization and swinging at Trump harder. With that summation aside, it’s time to take a look at the seat by seat ratings for House this cycle one last time.

Tonight at 6 PM you can join myself and other elections analysts as we break down the results coming in across the country. You can also check out my final forecasts for the Senate and Gubernatorial races while you’re waiting.

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West Coast (AK, WA, CA, NV)
17 seats in play, D+7 net gain

Likely GOP
CA-01 (<-from Safe GOP)

Democrats Jessica Morse (CA-04) and TJ Cox (CA-21) will win if Democrats have an exceptionally strong night in California, Morse has been a good fit for her district against Tom McClintock (R), while Cox has hung around after being abandoned by national Dems as low Hispanic enthusiasm and crossover voting boosts David Valadao (R) in this Clinton voting seat.

Andrew Janz (CA-22) has raised millions upon millions, but his likely defeat against Devin Nunes (R) is an example of how difficult it is to move partisan congressional districts, no matter how much money is spent.

Lean GOP

Two GOP leaders, Don Young (AK-AL), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) are at risk of losing, while the scandal plagued Duncan Hunter (CA-50) has done all he can to rile up Republicans in a Trump like fashion, despite his significant personal problems. Democrats have credible candidates in all three seats but partisanship and established voter loyalties should help the GOP hold onto three seats they can’t afford to lose.

Toss-Up (D+2)
Tilt GOP
WA-03 (<-from Lean GOP)
Tilt Dem

Jamie Herrera Beutler is the most at-risk GOP incumbent in Washington right now in a race that should come down to 2-3%, I’ll tip Democrats Katie Hill (CA-25), and Gil Cisneros (CA-39) in two high profile LA suburbs races. Republican Young Kim is a great recruit in CA-39 but the environment should be too tough, while Congressman Steve Knight (CA-25) should still come up short, even while being more resilient compared to his colleagues.

Lean Dem (D+4)
CA-48 (->from likely Dem)

Republican Dino Rossi (WA-08) is going to lose again, while Josh Harder (CA-10), Katie Porter (CA-45), and Harley Rouda (CA-48) are set to become new Democratic members of the California delegation. They have all been heavily attacked, and Rouda is the most likely to come up short of this group as Republican Dana Rohrabacher currently has the best GOP leaning early vote data in this group of seats. That said, I’ll back a Dem sweep in the (main) California swing seats due to voters rejecting Trump.

Likely Dem (D+1)
NV-04 (->from Safe Dem)

Nevada is off the board for Republicans at this point based on the early vote numbers favoring Democrats, while Democrat Mike Levin is likely to be most comfortable winner of the Golden State challengers. Republican Diane Harkey’s campaign has fallen apart.

Mountain West (AZ, NM, CO, UT, MT)
9 seats in play, D+4 Net Gain

Likely GOP

If Anita Malik or Hiral Tipirneni pull off upsets in traditionally red suburban Arizona it will be because of a Sinema surge in the Senate race boosting them. Tipirneni is likely to get closer but should fall just short against Debbie Lesko right now given the partisan lean of the district.

Lean GOP

Two recent polls have found Republican Scott Tipton ahead in this economically and culturally mixed West/Central Colorado district, but if Colorado swings towards the Dems this race should get close, Tipton isn’t likely to get far beyond 50% given the partisan lean.

Toss-Up (D+2)
Tilt Dem
Tilt GOP
NM-02 (<-From Lean GOP)

I’m still not bullish enough on Hispanic turnout to pick Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in NM-02 but this is a coin flip race and there is a decent shot the polls miss it because of the Hispanic vote. Yvette Harrell (R) is set to win by the thinnest of margins.

Democrats should feel confident about UT-04 now though, and MT-AL is one of my upset picks. Mia Love in Utah and Greg Gianforte in Montana are far from ideal GOP candidates, both have significant baggage, and are going to underperform the party line regardless. If Jon Tester wins in Montana, Kathleen Williams will do the same due to straight ticket voting. Ben McAdams will be the new face of the Utah Democratic party, he’s maintained a clean profile and his moderate image fits a seat that was previously represented by a Blue Dog Democrat.

Likely Dem (D+2)
AZ-01 (-> From Safe Dem)

Blue dog Democrat Tom O’Halleran has been drawn into a competitive contest against Wendy Rogers (R) in one of the few GOP pickup opportunities this cycle, but O’Halleran should still survive. Ann Kirkpatrick will return to Congress after flipping AZ-02, while the GOP is going to lose one of its best legislators as Jason Crow will beat Mike Coffman in Colorado.

Plains States (NE, KS, OK, MO, IA) 9 seats in play, D+4 net gain

Likely GOP

If the GOP voteshare collapses in Kansas progressive Democrat James Thompson could pull off an absolute shocker in the heartland.

Lean GOP
OK-05 (<-from Likely GOP)
IA-04 (<-from Likely GOP)

These are four seats Democrats would love to have, but they probably won’t get any. Democrats Kendra Horn (OK-05), J.D. Scholten (IA-04), Kara Eastman (NE-02), and Cort VanOstran (MO-02) are all credible but they would need to significantly run against the partisan tide to win. Big nights for Democrats at the top of the ticket in any of these states could result in upsets though. OK-05, and Steve King’s IA-04 have notably come online late due to notable GOP weakness from the incumbent, while Eastman’s seat is winnable but she was abandoned by national Democrats.

Toss-Up  (D+1)
Tilt D

Paul Davis (D) has run a better campaign than Republican Steve Watkins, and a recent scandal has damaged Watkins in what is already looking like a tough district for the KS GOP under normal circumstances.

Lean Dem (D+1)

A sign of Democratic resurgence in areas where they previously had strength, I’ll back Cindy Axne to beat David Young (R) in a good night for Iowa Dems.

Likely Dem (D+2)

Democrats Sharice Davids (KS-03) and Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) are quickly going to become rising stars in the caucus after winning these two toss-up seats on paper by healthy margins. The suburbs and culturally Dem areas have turned against the GOP as these results will show.

Midwest (MN, WI, MI, OH, IN, IL, PA) 31 seats in play, D+12 net gain

Safe GOP (R+1)

This is a gain from redistricting and not a competitive race.

Likely GOP
WI-06 (From ->Lean GOP)
PA-11 (<-from Safe GOP)

If Democrats get anything in this column it would be a huge upset and a sign of a wave in the Midwest. Democrat Jess King (PA-11) is a notable one here as she’s shown surprising strength in Amish country against Republican Lloyd Smucker, who was thought to be safe.

Wisconsin Republicans Glen Grothmann and Mike Gallagher also look set to beat the wave, even though Dan Kohl (Herb’s Nephew) has raised a ton of money in the ancestrally Republican WI-06.

Republicans are likely to be more resilient in Ohio compared to other Midwestern states, and they are also favored to shut out Democrats in Indiana as the most credible dem challenger is Liz Watson in IN-09 and she’s still trailing in polls by roughly 6 points.

Lean GOP (R+1)
IL-13 (From ->Toss-Up)
MI-01 (<-from Likely GOP)

All of these seats are reach opportunities for Democrats they don’t need for a majority. Randy Bryce (WI-01) was a terrible recruit for Democrats and after raising millions he’s fizzled late against handpicked Paul Ryan successor Bryan Steil. Republicans Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Steve Chabot (OH-01) look set to hold on. Aftab Pureval has been another recruitment disappointment for Dems and recently suffered staff resignations.

PA-16 and MI-01 are the interesting opportunities for Dems, Ron DiNicola in PA has come on late for Dems against Mike Kelly (R), while Democrat Matt Morgan in MI has been building slow and steady against Jack Bergman. If the GOP collapses in Michigan Morgan will win.

A rare GOP gain in the House looks to come from the Iron Range seat MN-08, Pete Stauber has run a better supported and better run campaign than Dem Joe Radinovich and the third party vote will hurt Democrats here.

Toss-Up (D+4)
Tilt D
MI-06 (<-from Lean GOP)
Tilt GOP

I’ll back Democrat Danny O’Connor to get over the line and get his revenge against Troy Balderson (OH-12), a good night for Democrats in Minnesota should also carry Dan Feehan (MN-01). I’m also backing upsets in PA-10 and MI-06. George Scott and Matt Longjohn have been surging in their respective districts, these races came on the board late and the GOP hasn’t been able to discredit these candidates thoroughly and back up their incumbents.

Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Tim Walberg (MI-07), and Mike Bost (IL-12) will be tested but probably hold on for the GOP with the third party vote hurting Dems in IL-12.

Lean Dem (D+3)

Two rising star women, Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) will make headlines for Democrats and pull off wins that previously looked like upsets in their districts, suburban areas that are abandoning Trump and the GOP. Sean Casten also has the edge on Peter Roskam in IL-06.

Likely Dem (D+3)

Congresswoman Angie Craig and Haley Stevens, and Congressman Dean Phillips is what we’ll be saying after tonight as all three of these suburban seats are gone for Republicans.

Safe Dem (D+4)
PA-06 (<-from Likely Dem)


Through a mix of redistricting and strong candidates Democrats will net multiple PA seats and have a solid night.

South (AR, TX, GA, SC, FL, NC, VA, WV, KY) 38 seats in play, D+10 net gain

Likely GOP
FL-12 (<-from Safe GOP)
NC-06 (->From Lean GOP)
NC-07 (->From Lean GOP)

All these seats are probably too red to flip but they could move in a wave. Arkansas 2nd has been a disappointment for Democrats, as has the Sarasota based FL-16, they invested money in both but didn’t see them move.

Lean GOP
TX-22 (<-From Likely GOP)
TX-23 (<-from Likely GOP)

The two Texas seats are in play because of diversity, as strong Republican incumbent Will Hurd tries to hold on in TX-23 while Pete Olson is also trying to hold off a spirited challenge from Sri Kulkarni in TX-22. If there is a “Beto Surge” both seats could flip. Similarly a strong showing for Democrats in Georgia and Florida would likely produce upset wins for Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), and Lauren Baer (FL-18). That said quiet Republicans Rob Woodall and Brian Mast probably escape scorn this time.

It’s going to be a terrible night for the VA-GOP but Scott Taylor is still a slight favorite to hold on. Katie Arrington is also looking to hold SC-01 for the GOP, she’s ruffled some feathers and Joe Cunningham has been a good Democratic recruit but this seat will probably stay red.

Richard Ojeda is an inspiring candidate for Democrats but he’ll need a huge margin for Joe Manchin in WV-03 to carry him.

Toss Up (D+7)
Tilt D

VA-07 (->from Toss Up)
Tilt R
GA-06 (<-from Lean GOP)
FL-06 (<-from Lean GOP)
NC-13 (<-from Lean GOP)

Democrats look good in two key marginal TX suburban seats with Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Colin Allred (TX-32) slightly favored at this point.

I’ll back Democrats Kristen Carlson and Debbie Mucarsel Powell for different reasons. A strong showing for Democrats in Florida should knock off Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) in South Florida while Republican Ross Spano has run such a mediocre campaign in FL-15 that Carlson, who has her own ground game problems, will probably pick off just enough independents and soft Republicans in a changing Central FL district to win.

Andy Barr (KY-06), and Ted Budd (NC-13) probably have red enough districts to hold on against Democratic women, in Virginia I’ll back the “blue wave” result of Dave Brat and Denver Riggleman losing to Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Leslie Cockburn (VA-05), with Corey Stewart an easy scapegoat for Republicans.

In another potential special election revenge result, Lucy McBath is on the cusp of riding Stacey Abrams coattails to a narrow win against Karen Handel in GA-06.

Florida 25 is probably a reach seat for Democrats but a strong statewide showing means that Mario Diaz-Balart will be sweating on election night against Mary Barzee Flores.

Lastly I’ll back Linda Coleman in another upset pick against George Holding in NC-02.

Lean Dem (D+2)
FL-27 (<-from Toss Up)

Donna Shalala is a terrible candidate but she’s going to win this Clinton district for Democrats anyway.

Dan McCready should be favored against Tea Partier Mark Harris in NC-09.

Likely Dem (D+1)

Virginia 10 will be an early and easy win for Democrats as Jennifer Wexton will defeat Barbara Comstock.

Northeast (NJ, NY, NH, ME)
12 seats in play, D+7 net gain

Likely GOP
NY-01 (->from Lean GOP)
NY-23 (<-from Safe GOP)
NY-24 (->from Lean GOP)

Lee Zeldin’s NY-01 and John Katko’s NY-24 are two rare areas where the GOP has improved in recent weeks, but Tracy Mitrano’s challenge against Republican Tom Reed in NY-23 is now on the board and an upset would not surprise me.

Lean GOP

If the GOP loses any of these NY seats, especially Peter King (NY-02) or Dan Donovan (NY-11) it’s a sign of a terrible night for the party. The scandal plagued Chris Collins is also on this list (NY-27).

Toss Up (D+1)
Tilt D

Jared Golden has run a solid campaign and is set to shock Republican Bruce Poliquin in Maine.

Lean Dem (D+4)
NY-22 (->From Likely Dem)

I’ve been bullish on New Jersey Dems all cycle, and they should complete a near sweep of the House seats in the state with Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) both taking advantage of GOP and SALT Tax backlash to win.

GOP attacks have fallen somewhat flat on Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) as these should be the Dem gains in NY.

Likely Dem

Watch the margin tonight in New Hampshire if nothing else, this state is typically purple and if Dems run up the score that’s a good sign for the rest of the region.

Safe Dem (D+2)

Two easy gains for Dems in New Jersey as Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) and Mikie Sherill (NJ-11) should see their races called early.


After the 2016 election the House was 241-194 for the GOP, with all toss-ups projected I have the House flipping in a mirror image that favors Democrats, with Democrats at 239 seats, and Republicans at 196 seats, a +44 gain for Democrats which is on the high side of the median expectation compared to other forecasters. A Democratic house majority has over 90% odds at this point as Republicans were caught slumbering in the House this cycle. The result will also show that gerrymandering is an exaggerated problem.

My full House battleground table can be found at the following link, starting at 6 PM eastern you can join myself and other elections analysts breaking down the election results as they come in across the country.

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