The Hill: Top 10 GOP House Seats Most Likely To Flip in a Blue Wave

Republicans are scrambling to minimize their losses in Tuesday’s midterm elections in an effort to deny Democrats the 23 seats they need to recapture a majority in the House.

In recent weeks, Republican groups have redirected millions of dollars to competitive districts where their prospects appear brighter. Meanwhile, President Trump has gone to bat for several vulnerable GOP incumbents.

A handful of GOP lawmakers are fighting uphill battles for survival and appear likely to lose their seats, according to party strategists, with just days left before the vote.

Here are the 10 Republican incumbents seen as most likely to lose their seats.

Keith Rothfus (Pa.-17)

Rothfus, a three-term congressman, is locked in a rare incumbent versus incumbent battle against Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) — and the odds aren’t on his side.

Court-ordered redistricting earlier this year took Rothfus out of a safe Republican district that he had represented for three terms and threw him into a fight against Lamb in a newly redrawn swing district.

Republicans are acutely aware of just how vulnerable Rothfus is. Lamb has repeatedly outraised him this cycle, and, in September, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) began pulling the plug on its ad buys in Pennsylvania’s 17th District.

Meanwhile, what little public polling there has been in the race shows Lamb leading by double digits. Rothfus is the only GOP House incumbent whose race is rated by The Cook Political Report as “likely Democratic.”

Rod Blum (Iowa-01)

Trump won Blum’s district narrowly in 2016. But before that, Iowa’s 1st District went twice for former President Obama, making it a true example of a swing district.

Not only is Blum facing a formidable challenger in Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who has managed to consistently outraise the two-term Republican, but he’s also facing a House Ethics Committee investigation into his reported failure to disclose his role in a company he founded while in office.

Polling in the race has been scarce, but a New York Times/Siena College survey conducted in September gave Finkenauer a whopping 15-point lead.

But the race is also in the sights of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The group dropped $1 million last month on an ad boosting Blum, and an internal memo polling memo dated Oct. 18 showed the GOP incumbent ahead by 4 points.

Barbara Comstock (Va.-10)

Comstock is vying for a third term in a district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 by 20 points, and she’s facing a tough opponent in Democrat Jennifer Wexton.

Wexton has shown herself to be a fundraising powerhouse. Between July 1 and Oct. 17, she raised just short of $3.5 million, while Comstock raked in at a little more than $2 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Just this week, House Majority PAC, a super PAC backing Democratic congressional candidates, canceled their remaining ad reservations in Comstock’s district, signaling that Democrats are confident that they’ll be able to unseat the two-term Republican.

What’s more, a Washington Post/Schar School poll released late last month found that voters in Virginia’s 10th District are more motivated to vote against Comstock than they are to vote for Wexton.

Mike Coffman (Colo.-06)

Strategists on both sides of the aisle point to Coffman as one of the most vulnerable House Republicans, citing Clinton’s nearly 10-point win in his district and a strong challenge from Democrat Jason Crow, who’s considered one of the party’s top recruits.

The NRCC pulled $1 million worth of ad reservations from Colorado’s 6th District last month, signaling waning GOP confidence in Coffman’s reelection prospects.

Coffman’s Denver-area district is among the key targets for Democrats, who are hoping to court moderate suburban voters dissatisfied with Trump in their bid to capture a House majority on Election Day.

A mid-October poll by The New York Times and Siena College gave Crow a solid 9-point lead.

Kevin Yoder (Kan.-03)

Yoder is the only member of Kansas’s all-Republican congressional delegation seeking reelection in a district won by Clinton in 2016.

What’s more, the state’s 3rd District includes Kansas City and its surrounding suburbs, making it a prime target for Democrats this year.

Yoder faces a challenge from Democrat Sharice Davids, who, if elected, would be one of the first Native-American women in Congress.

Recent public polls show Davids with a solid lead in the race. A survey released late last month by Emerson College put her ahead of Yoder by 12 points, and The Cook Political Report has for over a month kept the race in the “Lean Democratic” column.

At the same time, the NRCC has drastically scaled back its financial support for Yoder — a sign that the GOP House campaign arm may be losing confidence in his prospects.

Peter Roskam (Ill.-06)

Roskam may have won reelection by a wide 18-point margin in 2016. But Clinton also claimed victory in his district, fueling Democratic optimism in the six-term Republican’s affluent, Chicagoland district.

The Cook Political Report puts the race between Roskam and Democrat Sean Casten in the “Lean Democratic” column, and strategists say that Roskam’s prospects are shaky.

Democrats are outspending Republicans to boost Casten in the district, and a recent New York Times/Siena College poll put the Democrat ahead by 2 points.

Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is struggling in his bid for a second term and a poor performance on his part could trickle down the ballot, says one GOP strategist.

Jason Lewis (Minn.-02)

Lewis is locked in a rematch against Democrat Angie Craig, whom he narrowly edged out in 2016. But this year is different.

Lewis has come under fire for comments he made on his radio show years ago. In one clip from 2012, surfaced by CNN’s “KFile” in July, the former radio host lamented that it is now unacceptable to call a woman who takes “a series of lovers” a “slut.”

In another clip, Lewis said that women who vote for Democrats based on issues like birth control “have no cognitive function.”

The national political playing field has been more friendly for Democrats, and Craig’s profile has grown in Minnesota’s 2nd District. She’s also trouncing Lewis in fundraising. Between July 1 and Oct. 17, Craig raked in more than $2.5 million compared to Lewis’s roughly $816,000.

There have been few recent public polls in the race, but a New York Times/Siena College poll released in early October put Craig ahead by 12 points. The Cook Political Report currently rates the race as tilting Democratic.

Erik Paulsen (Minn.-03)

Like Roskam, Paulsen won reelection by double digits in 2016 even though Clinton beat out Trump in his district.

But the president’s approval rating in the district is dismal — just 33 percent, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll conducted in September — and Roskam is facing a tough challenge from Democratic first-time candidate Dean Phillips.

Phillips, who has refused to take PAC money, has far outraised Paulsen. Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17 alone, he brought in roughly $1.2 million, according to his most recent FEC filing. By comparison, Paulsen brought in just short of $220,000 in that same period.

The most recent public poll in that race, by SurveyUSA, gave Phillips a 5-point lead over Paulsen. The Cook Political Report currently has the contest in the “Lean Democratic” column.

John Faso (N.Y.-19)

Faso is running for reelection in one of the districts that flipped for Trump in 2016 after going for Obama in 2012, making it the kind of seat Democrats are bullish about winning back this year.

The first-term Republican is facing a challenge from Democrat Antonio Delgado, a former Rhodes Scholar and lawyer who has proven to be an adept fundraiser.

Recent polling looks good for Delgado. A Monmouth University survey out late last month showed the Democrat with a 5-point lead. The Cook Political Report puts the race in the “toss-up” column.

Leonard Lance (N.J.-07)

Clinton notched a narrow win in Lance’s district in 2016 even as Lance won reelection by double digits. But now, he’s facing a challenge from Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former State Department official in the Obama administration, who has cast himself as a moderate.

While Lance has also touted himself as a moderate and voted against his party’s signature tax-cut package last year, Democratic operatives see an opportunity to edge him out, arguing that the district is shifting to the left.

A Monmouth University poll last month showed Lance trailing Malinowski by less than 3 points, signaling that the race remains close. Still, Democrats argue that they have the momentum.


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