Congressional Races to Watch in 2024

While math favors GOP capturing Senate in 2024, court-imposed revisions to congressional maps in several states give Democrats an edge in November House races

With party presidential primaries coalescing into a November 2024 rematch between Republican former President Donald Trump and Democrat President Joe Biden, United States Senate and House races are regaining a priority focus.

Democrats, including three independents who caucus with them, control the U.S. Senate, 51–49. With 23 Democrat incumbents among 34 Senate seats on ballots nationwide, sheer math favors the GOP gaining a Senate majority in 2024.

Retaining Republicans’ slim 219–213 House majority could, however, be more problematic.

Which party controls the House in January 2025 largely depends on how 2024 candidates contend in 68 potentially competitive races across the nation’s 435 congressional districts.

While sheer math favors Republicans in the Senate, court-imposed math handicaps the GOP in 2024 House races.

Since 2022’s midterms, court rulings in Louisiana, Alabama, New York, and potentially Wisconsin in 2024, have or will redraw congressional maps that could imperil reelection odds for as many as nine Republican House incumbents in the coming election cycle.

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Those court-imposed revamps are countered by a North Carolina decision upholding maps benefitting Republicans in up to four of the state’s 14 congressional districts.

Courts have also determined that Republican-drawn maps in Georgia, Florida, and Texas will stand for 2024 elections.

As if on cue after the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary concluded, both parties’ respective Congressional campaign committees, which orchestrate and coordinate House races, unleashed broadsides targeting “vulnerable incumbents” in districts they aim to flip in 2024.

The National Republican Congressional Campaign (NRCC) ripped 28 “extreme” incumbent Democrats for voting against requiring $5 billion in federal electric vehicle charging station infrastructure only to be constructed by American companies using American products and American labor.

“Extreme Democrats like Titus, Lee, and Horsford don’t care if America is taken advantage of by China, so long as Democrats are able to achieve their EV pipe dream,” NRCC spokeswoman Delanie Bomar concludes.

“House Republicans have already promised to blindly follow puppet master Trump in his efforts to strip essential health care programs from a record-breaking 20 million Americans,” the DCCC states in naming incumbent Republicans who will “follow their master” rather than the will of voters.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, departs following a news conference announcing his concession to opponent Mike Lawler at the DCCC in Washington, on Nov. 9, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, departs following a news conference announcing his concession to opponent Mike Lawler at the DCCC in Washington, on Nov. 9, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Collapsible Periscoping

The NRCC in March 2023 issued its 37 district target list of “vulnerable” Democrat-held House seats it could flip in 2024. The 37 Congressional districts span 23 states and include three districts in each California, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

These are the 37 of 213 Democrat-held seats that Republicans believe they can flip in 2024. Among them are the five cross-over districts won by Democrats in 2022 after Mr. Trump beat Mr. Biden in those districts in 2020.

The NRCC in November reported an off-year monthly fundraising record, netting $9 million to help it finish 2023 with $84.171 million in contributions, according to its Dec. 31, 2023 Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filing.

The NRCC reports spending $59.16 million on House GOP campaigns in 2023 and that it enters 2024 with $41.42 million in cash on hand, its FEC filing details.

Nevertheless, Democrats are raising more money than their Republican counterparts for congressional races.

According to the DCCC’s Dec. 31 FEC filing, it raised more than $101.3 million for House candidates, spent $76,343,166 in 2023, and began 2024 with $48.76 million in the bank.

The DCCC posted its 31 ‘Districts In Play’ for 2024 in April. It includes 31 districts across 15 states occupied by what it deems are “vulnerable” Republicans, including seven in California and six freshman GOP lawmakers in New York.

These are the 31 of 219 Republican-held seats that Democrats believe they can flip in 2024. Among them are 18 Republicans who won 2022 elections in cross-over districts that Mr. Biden won in 2020.

Of those 18 crossover Republicans in Democrat-majority districts, 14 were specifically targeted in the DCCC volley over President Trump’s campaign pledge to replace the ACA “with something better.”

The 23 “crossover” House districts—five held by Democrats, 18 by Republicans—are set to be the most consequential of the 68 races that will determine which party controls the 119th Congress.

U.S. House candidate Mary Peltola (D) speaks with reporters at her campaign party at 49th State Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Kerry Tasker/Reuters)
U.S. House candidate Mary Peltola (D) speaks with reporters at her campaign party at 49th State Brewing in Anchorage, Alaska, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Kerry Tasker/Reuters)

Most Vulnerable Democrats

Of the five cross-over districts won by 2022 Democrat congressional candidates despite voters selecting President Trump over Mr. Biden in 2020, Rep. Mary Peltola’s (D-Alaska) at-large, statewide Alaska district is most vulnerable, the NRCC maintains.

Mr. Trump won Alaska by 10.1 percentage points in 2020. Ms. Peltola won the state’s only Congressional seat also by a 10-point margin, easily defeating 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, outperforming her party by 20 percent.

Ms. Peltola faces two well-known, well-financed GOP challengers in 2024: Nick Begich III, who lost to Ms. Peltola in 2202’s ranked-choice elections, and announced he was seeking a rematch in July, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom, who threw her hat into the ring in December.

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) in Maine’s Congressional District 2 (CD 2) in 2022 outperformed the 2020 Democrat ticket by 6.1 percent in the Republican majority district.

He is being challenged by the winner of the GOP primary between Maine House Rep. Michael Soboleski (R-Phillips) and Robert Cross of Dedham.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) in Ohio’s CD 9 out-performed her party by 2.9 percent to win her 21st term in 2022 but faces a November challenge by State Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova), who has been endorsed by House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Mr. Merrin must first survive a GOP primary against 2022 Republican House nominee J.R. Majewski, and former State Rep. Craig Riedel if he’s to take on Ms. Kaptur in November.

In Pennsylvania’s CD 8, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), who out-performed his party also by 2.9 percent in winning a sixth term in 2022 by 2.4 percent, faces one GOP challenger in winning reelection of the northeast Pennsylvania congressional district.

Rob Bresnahan, 33, CEO of Kuharchik Construction, announced he would challenge Mr. Cartwright last spring in CD 8, which The Cook Political Report rates as a 2024 toss-up.

Neither face primary contenders in the race being closely monitored and financed by the NRCC and DCCC.

The fifth most vulnerable Democrat seeking reelection in a crossover district that President Trump won in 2020 is Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.) in southwest Washington’s CD 3.

Ms. Perez edged U.S. special forces veteran and MAGA acolyte Joe Kent by fewer than 2,700 votes in 2022 in what was one of the biggest upsets in thwarting the GOP’s midterms’ red wave.

Mr. Kent is campaigning for a rematch but must first defeat Camas City Council member Leslie Lewallen, a former prosecutor, in the Republican primary before he can take on Ms. Perez in November.

The five crossover incumbents top the NRCC’s target list, which also included Democrats who won contested by single-digits—such as Ms. Titus in Nevada’s CD 1; Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.) in Oregon’s CD 4; Rep. Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.) in Rhode Island’s CD 2;  and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (R-Texas) in Texas’ CD 34.

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is surrounded by journalists as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after his fellow members of Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on Dec. 1, 2023, in Washington. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is surrounded by journalists as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after his fellow members of Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on Dec. 1, 2023, in Washington. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Most Vulnerable Republicans

Eighteen of the 31 Republican incumbents on the Democrats’ 2024 “Districts In Play” list won 2022 elections in crossover districts that Mr. Biden won in 2020, including five who won by more than double-digit percentage points.

According to the DCCC, seven of California’s 12 Republican House reps are vulnerable, as are six in New York, two in Florida, two in Arizona, and are incumbents in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan swing districts.

Most vulnerable: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) who was reelected to a second term by 546 votes in 2022, the nation’s narrowest mid-term Congressional win, but is seeking reelection in Colorado’s CD 4 rather than CD 3 in 2024. That CD 4 seat is currently held by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who is retiring.

Among other GOP-held seats firmly in the DCCC’s sights is New York’s CD 3, a long-blue Democrat district that George Santos won by Mr. Biden by 8.2 percent in 2020 that he won by 16.4 percent in 2022 before being booted from Congress late last year.

His now-vacant CD 6 seat is on the line in a Feb. 13 special election that Democrats believe they can win. Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, and Republican candidate Mazi Melesa Pilip are vying for the vacant seat representing parts of Queens and Nassau County.

CD 3 is one of six cross-over Congressional districts in New York where Democrats believe they can unseat first-term incumbent Republicans who won narrow midterm victories on Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

In addition to the DCCC, New York Democrat candidates’ campaigns in these six districts are receiving a $45 million boost from Congressional Democrat’s House Majority PAC New York Fund.

The House Majority PAC may have New York especially on its mind since Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) defeated House Democrats’ midterm campaign chair Sean Patrick Maloney in their CD 17 election.

Former U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones and Liz Gereghty are among Democrats lining up to challenge Mr. Lawler in a district Mr. Biden won by 10 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed other GOP candidates by nearly 11 percent in 2022.

The other four “vulnerable” New York Republican House incumbents include Rep. Brandon Williams (R-N.Y.) in central New York’s CD 22 that Mr. Biden won by 7.4 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 8.5 percent in 2022.

The others: Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) in CD 19—like CD 17, a Hudson Valley district—that Mr. Biden won by 4.6 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 6.8 percent in 2022; Rep. Anthony Esposito (R-N.Y.) in CD 4, that Mr. Biden won by 14.6 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 18.3 percent in 2022; and Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) in CD 1, that Mr. Biden won by 0.2 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 12 percent in 2022.

In California, Democrats are targeting seven Republican incumbents, including five who won 2022 elections in cross-over districts that Mr. Biden took in 2020 and in which they outperformed other Republican candidates in 2022.

None were closer than Rep. John Duarte’s (R-Calif.) victory over Democrat Assemblyman Adam Gray by 564 votes out of 133,556 ballots cast in CD 13, the second-closest midterm Congressional election in the nation.

In 2024, Mr. Duarte will again face Mr. Gray in a district that Mr. Biden won by nearly 11 percent in 2020 and where, as of early 2023, Democratic voter registration surpassed Republicans 43 percent to 28 percent.

House Democrats also believe they can knock off two GOP incumbents in Arizona—Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.) in CD 6, where Mr. Biden won by 0.1 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 1.5 percent in 2022; and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), which Mr. Biden won by 1.5 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 2.3 percent in 2022.

Other notable GOP incumbents on the DCCC’s 2024 Congressional target list include Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) in Nebraska’s CD 2, which Mr. Biden won by 6.4 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 9.3 percent in 2022, and Rep. Tom Kean (R-N.J.) in New Jersey’s CD 7, which Mr. Biden won by 3.8 percent in 2020 and in which he outperformed the party by 7.5 percent in 2022 but where Republicans now outnumber Democrats by 16,000 voters.

Mr. Kean, the son of a former New Jersey governor, defeated incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) by about 2 percent in a rematch of their equally narrow 2020 race in a suburban district described as among the most median among the nation’s 435 seats.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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